Matthew 5:43-45 NIV ““You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Jesus prayed to His Father for those who had crucified Him, while He hung on the cross, amid the pain, amid the agony. That’s hard to grasp isn’t it? Not the concept about praying for your enemies but that amid the agony of the cross, while He was going through all that He had prayed about the previous evening and early morning, in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46) , He had the determination to teach us His Father’s will. That’s what I find so amazing, nothing, not even the pain of crucification, could stop Jesus from doing what He had come to do. That’s where Jesus and I differ, why He is the Son of God and I am not. Why He is the Shepherd and I am a sheep.
And that’s what Jesus was all about, teaching and showing us His Father’s will. “Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” John 5:19 NIV. The words that Jesus spoke, the miracles that He performed, the truths that He taught, everything came from His Father. Jesus even said that whoever has seen Him had seen the Father (John 14:9 NIV).
When Jesus was in Gethsemane praying and He had corrected His disciples for falling asleep, Jesus said the following: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
That’s where you and I come in, the flesh is weak part, the falling into temptation part. I have a hard time maintaining my composure when someone deliberately demeans me. The desire to immediately respond in retaliation almost comes without thinking and my mindset is usually far from considering God’s will in the matter. And the reason for that of course is because my perspective is focused on me, as it usually is, not on God’s will, not on God’s benevolence to all. And if you introduce pain into the equation, well …. I probably don’t have to tell you where my perspective is focused.
So that covers me learning about me, and me learning and acknowledging the need to have Christ live in me. I have no problem understanding that I have a need for Jesus to live in me through the Spirit of Christ as God’s Word indicates in numerous Scripture verses such as Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:2 and Romans 8:9 to name but a few. But how does the practical application of that work out?
Notice that Jesus told the disciples to “watch and pray“. Well Jesus was with the disciples then, so they could in deed watch, but that isn’t the case anymore, so for us that should probably read “read and pray”. We can in fact watch what Jesus did and hear what Jesus said by reading the Word of God and we are definitely not restricted in praying.
There is a direct correlation with having God’s Holy Spirit within us, assist us in following the will of God, being aware of the will of God, tied or linked to the amount of time we spend in God’s Word and praying. The short story is that there is no getting around this, it is a requirement, you can’t be aware of God’s Spirit working within you without spending time in His Word and spending time in prayer. And, the more that we become aware of the weakness of our flesh, which shouldn’t be a spoiler alert to any of us, the more we need to pursue the spiritual guidance that Jesus gave us, to watch/read and pray.
You don’t see them much any more but there was a car bumper sticker that I used to see and love. It said, “Feel distant from God? Who moved?”
James 4:8 KJV reads: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!