Tests of Your Faith
One of the great things about God is that you can’t hide anything from him. In our modern world of technology, everyone fears that “someone” is watching. The funny thing is, not only are “they” watching, but God watches, and he doesn’t miss anything.
People have a tendency, especially on social media, to only show the “good” things about themselves, or perhaps, elaborate a tad more than is realistic to give the appearance of being better than they actually are. You can’t hide anything from God, and he knows that. He knows that we will all fail miserably in living up to his expectations, and what is so great about him, is that he not only gave us a way out (or into his eternal kingdom) through the sacrifice of His Son, he allowed us to retain free will, and choose how we will spend eternity.
Throughout our lives we are tested in ways that we can see and acknowledge as being tests, and in other ways, when we are not aware that we are being tested. One great way for you to acknowledge if you are fervently trying to walk the path of righteousness, is how you respond to certain conditions that you will face in life.
As an example, Luke 6:27-36 addresses the concept of loving your enemies. First the definition of “enemy” in this context can take many forms (i.e. those who are generally not for you, compared to those who intentionally intend to, or have, committed you harm etc.), but the really important thing in these verses is the concept of love. Love is a central theme in the Word, and there are many forms of love, some described quite succinctly by not only Jesus, but Paul. Here however in Luke (some believe that Luke here is the physician, and companion of Paul), the author is using a most precious form of love, and that is called “agape” love.
Agape love is the purest form of love, or how God loves his children. Another way to look at it might be, with agape love you do not care what someone looks like, who their friends are, what they have done, how they have treated you, how they have belittled or stolen from you, or lied about you, or if they have hurt you or your friends or anything like that. Essentially agape love is pure love and concern for the well-being of someone, regardless of their appearance, and whether or not that love is reciprocated.
Can we love like that? Sure, many of us can say that we do, or have, but can we follow through with that love? A good test is brought out by Luke, let’s examine a few different translations:
Luke 6:28-30 NIV
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
This translation does not bring out the full context behind the thought. Bless those (pray for and assist) those that have intentionally committed you harm. If someone takes [something] from you, let them have it, don’t demand that they return it, and give them more than they take… To help a bit more let’s examine another translation.
Luke 6:28-30 MSG
When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff.
I’m not a huge fan of the Message translation, normally I will read the NIV for general reading, and the NRSV for study, however sometimes the slang of the MSG can help highlight a few concepts. This translation says if someone is or has done you harm, pray for them (respond with the energies of, implies an intensity or fervent nature of the prayer) basically while they are doing you harm. Let them slap you, let them steal, let them gossip, in other words, while they sin not just against God, but against you, pray for their soul while they are doing it.
Think of that type of love. Let’s say someone takes someone, or something from you that causes you enormous pain and suffering. Here Luke is saying “No tit-for-tat,” or perhaps more clearly, do not demand, seek, or even think about retribution in any shape or form. Simply love them and know that the act they are committing against you, will be paid for by God, in a way that he deems appropriate. Pray for them because our God is a vengeful God, against those that have harmed his children. You know their actions will result in their suffering, so instead of taking action yourself, pray that God will open their hardened hearts and heal their souls, so that they too, can become children of His Kingdom.
That is a very difficult thing to do. Imagine someone taking your child, and then sometime later, you have the very person who committed the crime in the cross-hairs of your rifle a few hundred meters away, and no one knows you are there, do you pull the trigger? Of course not! Why? God knows you are there, and more importantly, so do you. Our purpose should not be just to strive to be better people because we believe in Christ. We should want, we should desire, we should strive to be better, because we are children of the most High God!
Agape love. The purest, truest, most beautiful form of love. Loving someone no matter what they have done, are doing, or will do to you. Loving someone purely, without jealousy or even a whisper of avarice. Loving someone because you know that no matter who they are, what they look like, or what they have done, at their center, their very core is their soul. The breath of God. Nothing is more beautiful.
Pass the tests that come your way in life. Strive to do so, because you are beautiful, you are loved, and you were created out of that love by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God who spoke worlds into existence, flung stars into space at a whim, and loves us enough to look past our faults, and see that within our core is the ability to love Him, as he loves us.
If you want to be saved, open your heart to Jesus and pray the following:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Many people will share memes of various things, but not posts such as these. Please remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”