Friday, April 24th

Friday, April 24th

But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Luke 6:27-28

If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! .... You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. Luke 6:32, 36

‬Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil. 1 Peter 3:8-12

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them .... Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone .... Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good." Romans 12:14, 17-18, 21

There was a slogan from back in the early 1970's that went like this: "A mind is a terrrible thing to waste." For today's devotional we are going to alter it a bit: "A will is a terrrible thing to waste." Saying, "I want to be all I need to be" comes easy as does saying, "I want to get it right in my relationships." I must ask myself, "Am I really, truly "willing?" What we are really, truly willing to do and what we are really, truly not willing to do are often very different from what we profess. If the actual state of our "willingness" were suddenly analyzed and revealed to us we would be amazed. We really do waste our "will" in many ways throughout the course of our lives.

This series is about hope and not despair, but sometimes we have to go through the pain of getting down to the crux of a matter before we can have any hope of getting on the path of victory. There is not a single struggle in the Christian life that is not simply a matter of the "will." Making the decision to be willing to do something or not do something is important, but it is not the starting point for us a Christians. The starting point and key to not "wasting our wills" so to speak, is surrendering our wills to God and his will.

If you have surrendered your will to God, then being "willing" to be all you need to be will follow. And then of course you will become one who is "willing" to get it right in your relationships. Yesterday we talked about the impasses that come in our relationships with others. What a great place to test whether your will has been surrendered to God. The one who has surrendered their will to God is one who makes yielding the top priority in all relationships. So, if this is true of you, then you will also have a commitment to lay down your life for others no matter what and that's exactly what you will seek to do in those moments of impasse.

Their is another thing we need to consider today. We are so prone to making what we are willing to do in a relationship conditioned on what the other person is willing to do. In our passages above we are given the worst case scenario and that is our relationships with our enemies. Read down through the passages above again and note the "unconditional" flavor of what we are called to in these relationship.  If "conditions" are not in the picture of what we need to be in these relationships, then "conditions" for being what we need to be must not be in the picture for any of our relationships.

Lord, help me to come to you in surrender. Show me how to give my "will" to you in a way that has lasting impact on my becoming all you desire me be, particularly in the relationships of my life. Deliver me from feeling overwhelmed and instead fill me with a sense of relief that my will is yours and no longer mine to manage and fuss over. Help me enter your rest and your peace. Amen!

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