“…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;…” Mt. 5:44 KJV
What if the very person God wants you to love and help and share the Gospel with and give to and bless and serve and reach out to and speak to with kindness and listen to in humility and hug with heartfelt sincerity or anything at all for Christ’s name’s sake is the very person you want to have absolutely nothing to do with ever again or at the very least for the time being right now? I can imagine the Spirit of God is already moving on your heart, isn’t He? Bringing someone to mind. Or some people.
How often do we cry, “God, use me!” Or, “I want to serve you Lord! Give me something to do for you!” Or, “I want to know my purpose, Lord!” How much do we desire to love and serve God – until. Until we realize the very thing He wants us to do is to interact in some loving, merciful, forgiving, compassionate, understanding, humble, blessed, peaceful, sensitive, gentle, patient, long-suffering, respectful, steadfast, persevering, not giving up, tender, bold, courageous, truthful, Truth-bearing, hope-giving, encouraging, etc. way with someone we would give almost everything to stay away from. It is then, isn’t it, that we face a decision. Oh, how pretty words are on paper. How wonderful it is to read the Bible. And hear nice sermons preached. And call oneself a Christian. And go to Bible study. Bake brownies for the church picnic. Give sandwiches to the homeless. Well, you know. The stuff that doesn’t seem to come with such a high cost – to our flesh.
But then we face this decision. Will we die to ourselves? Deny ourselves? Repent of the hurt, pride, bitterness, judgement, fear, worry, anger, condemnation, etc., in our hearts, choose NOT to walk away from that person or people, and LIVE FOR CHRIST? And LOVE with His love the person He wants us to go to? Will we do this for Jesus? For God? Or deny Him? And grieve His Holy Spirit? And disobey Him.
The sign of a true Christ follower isn’t attending church every time the doors open, being a church elder, wearing a cross, saying you believe in Jesus, etc. A genuine Christ follower is willing to do what Jesus did. To DIE. For God. For those hurting us. To die to ourselves. To die so we can love. To die so the Holy Spirit can pour His love into and through us. Including to those we want to leave behind. Look to the cross my friend. This is how we are to live. To kill our lusts and sins and be filled with the Spirit of Christ so He can live His amazing love through us. Will you die for Him? To live for Him? Don’t turn away from that person God is telling you to stick around for. Die to yourself and live for God.