1 Timothy 2:1-6 (NLT) 1. I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.
Jesus willingly gave His life for each of us. He gave it for those who cursed and persecuted Him as well as for those who followed Him. He did it because of His great love for humanity of all religions and nationalities. It is His desire that everyone be saved. Will everyone accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord? No, but that does not change what Jesus did for us. Once any person accepts Jesus as their Savior and Lord, should they decide to do that, the Holy Spirit indwells that person. As we progress in following the example of Jesus there is a change in our hearts’ desires and our actions. We are to attempt to live at peace with everyone around us, even with those who curse and persecute us. Is this possible? Yes, or Jesus would not have asked us to do it. When we are mistreated for the sake of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, our response is to love and pray for those that commit the acts. Praying for our persecutors pleases God because we are following the example that Jesus set for us. How they respond to that love and our prayers for them is not in our control. It is ultimately between them and God. If revenge of any sort is necessary, God says that is His responsibility, not ours. So pray for everyone, family, friends, neighbors, cults, religious people, anyone in authority over you in any situation. You can be assured that your flesh is not going to want to pray for some of these people, but God’s Holy Spirit will draw you, teach you, and even do the praying for you if you choose to be obedient.
2 Timothy 2:22-25 (NLT) 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.
We should always avoid any action that makes us appear to agree with sinful deeds. Rather, we should seek the guidance of God’s Spirit and live a life that shows love to our fellow man. We should not neglect to have regular companionship and worship with our fellow Christians. This will strengthen us and help us to follow after Jesus. We should never allow ourselves to be lured into arguments over doctrines and beliefs that go beyond what God requires for salvation. We need to show the love of Christ by showing patience in difficult situations. Don’t be the one to blow your horn in traffic or complain in the grocery line. Use those times to whisper prayers and praises to our Lord and Savior. Then you will find that God blesses those times and you are able to teach others by your actions and your words. Be humble, remembering that you used to live the same kind of lifestyle when you were held captive by satan. Lead a lifestyle that causes others to want to have the freedom and the attitude that you have.
1 Peter 3:13-17 (NLT) 13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!
We are all guilty! We have felt that gentle nudge from God’s Spirit and said nothing, we have heard that soft quiet voice and still we did nothing! The King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe has issued the command to go and spread the gospel to all of us. (Ref. Matt 28:19, 20) And in individual situations, He has asked us to speak out and invite others into His Kingdom. Why don’t we speak out? Are we afraid that our friends and acquaintances will mock us, make fun of us, reject us? Always remember this, they did the same to Jesus and we are not greater than our Creator. But the most important thing to remember is that it isn’t us they are rejecting, it is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We are going to suffer in this world, and as Peter tells us, it is better to suffer for doing good, than for doing evil. Matthew 5:11-12 NLT “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
The English language is very limited when it comes to expressing the different types of love that exist. We “love” everything, homes, cars, sports, etc. We also “love” our spouses, our families, our friends, and, yes, we even love people we don’t know. Yet, the depth of feeling and emotions is different for each of these categories. So, how do we know which level of love we are expressing for each category. Well, I use the term “love” for everything, but spousal love, then I use the term “in love”. To me, that means that I have made a choice to treat this person differently than any other person in the world. A spouse should not have to compete with anyone else for that kind of love. To accomplish this depth of emotion and attachment to a person requires that I get to know that person better than I know any other person. The only way to get to know this person on that level is to spend time with them, learning about their likes and dislikes, their boundaries, everything about them. I am not talking about time with that person and a roomful of other people. I am talking about one-on-one, face to face time with no distractions. I am talking about using all my ability to focus on this person and no one else. That is the only way you will ever really get to know another person and that is the only way you will ever get to know Jesus. Spend some time with Him, just you and Him, no distractions. Will you make a commitment to not just “love” Jesus, but learn to be “in love” with Him?