This morning’s YouVersion Bible app “Verse of the Day” is:
But love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; for your reward will be great (rich, abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High; because He Himself is kind and gracious and good to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Luke 6:35 AMP
And the second word of this verse in most English translations is “love” (ἀγαπᾶτε in the Greek that sounds like “agapao”) — which is a verb, in the present active imperative, second person plural tense. It is an instruction given by Jesus to a multitude of disciples that is also given to us.
In fact, He even explains later that all of the law and all of the words of the prophets are built upon this — “love”.
And I especially like how the Amplified version expands this out in their translation in perfect “ELI5” form (“ELI5” = “Explain like I’m 5”). With the bracketed note “[that is, unselfishly seek the best or highest good for]” that they point towards “your enemies” in the gospel way that is shocking and offensive to our ego and carnal sensibilities.
You want to hear from God? He instructs you, commands you to seek the best and highest good — not for yourself, not for those who love you, not for those who are good in your eyes, but for your enemies.
Yep, this is where the rubber meets the road, where true saving faith is revealed, where most of us must count the true cost of Discipleship. And we must truly decide whether we will lay down those heavy burdens of offense, of unforgiveness, of grudges, of longing for revenge, of accusing others, or judging others — to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. It isn’t whether we will go to church, or graduate seminary, or preach publicly, or cross streets and oceans to win religious converts, or post scripture and encouragement online. It is whether we will seek the best for them — not just hope or wish or want for these enemies the best things — but to be active in seeking it on their behalf.
Can we admit that in our flesh, that is quite unnatural?
Can we lay down our religious coverings, and instead bear naked and fully exposed the desires of our hearts — and honestly admit that “enemy” that we have been clinging to so strongly that we cannot grasp a firm hold upon the grace available to us because of the cross?
Yes, this gospel is about surrendering our own demands so that through faith in God’s plan and purpose, we can trust that love and forgiveness is the cure that we need for the disease that was killing us. Yes, it sets us free from “enemies” holding our hearts captive in unforgiveness — to us soaring and seeking the best for those same people who are beloved by God.
Are our eyes open to see that those we once deemed “enemies” are now “beloved”?
If this is a heavy burden, realize that if we measure them by what they have done, we will be measured by what we have done, and that is a long spiral down into the pit of hell. It will crush our opportunities today by taking our hearts and minds captive to a cell and shackles that only imprisons and hurts us, not them.
To know what we should do and not do it is sin, and the wages of sin is death. He says we should seek the best and highest good for them.
We will go out today to live amongst the world, but we mustn’t be content with living as they do, “Christian”. Let’s not take the name of the Lord in vain by claiming the name like a cheap costume at Halloween, but leaving the one call that would truly let the world see God in us and would truly give Him glory. Amen.