“Bless those who persecute you; Bless and do not curse.” -Romans 12:14
What a difficult thing to do. To bless someone who is persecuting you, in our own human eyes and in our flesh that seems like an impossible thing to do, it makes no sense. Why would anyone want to bless the people that are persecuting them? It’s not what we want to do. But instead of acting on our flesh, let’s act in our spirit. We are filled with the holy spirit, and the fruit of that spirit is love. And love does not dishonor others-it is no self seeking, it is not easily angered, it bears all things (1 Corith. 13). So when we are being persecuted, let’s bless them, act on our spirit and declare blessings and not curses. Cursing someone does not help anyone, not them, not you. If we want the blessings to come down, let’s be a blessing.
Proverbs 31:25-26 “25) She is clothed with strength and dignity; she an laugh at the days to come. 26) She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”
It’s no secret that in certain places, during certain times, to certain people, women have been viewed as second class citizens. In fact, it still happens today. There are people who think women need to play a role and stay within the confines of this box, and they fail to see what the worth of a woman could be. This proverb tells us that a woman of nobel character is “worth far more that rubies” (verse 10). Women, it’s important for us to see ourselves in the mirror of God. To recognize that we were made by Him, and with a purpose. We are not here to be limited, we are here to serve and honor God, above all, and excel. When we speak, our words shouldn’t cut anyone down, but encourage. Let’s be the example. Let’s open our mouths with wisdom, and show kindness with the words we say and the way we speak, refraining from vulgarity and gossip-those things are toxic. And let’s never stop seeking God. So that we’ll be filled each day with His love that encompasses all that we should be. To know our worth, and show the world and all women that with our lives dedicated to God, makes us more precious that rubies.
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” -Acts 20:24
The Lord gave Paul a task to do-spread the good news. Jesus called him for this and Paul was obedient. But before this, Paul was one of the people who was persecuting Jesus. Until Jesus appeared to Him and have him instructions, from there, Paul believed and followed. He went from city to city teaching about the grace of God, spreading the good news, doing just what Jesus told him to do. And he was not always well received. The holy spirit warned him that prison and hardships faced him wherever he went (verse 23). That was the only thing he new to expect where ever he went. But not even this stopped him. It was more important to him that he spread the good news, that others learn about the grace of God, than his own life. He was called, he listened, and he obeyed.
It can be so difficult to be obedient. Being obedient means following commands and instructions given to you. In our human nature, let’s be honest, we don’t want to be told what to do, we don’t like it when we’re told what to do. We want to do what we want to do, when we want to do it. This is why we need to seek God more and more, and when He calls us, even MORE. Because first comes the calling-did you listen? And then when you listened-are you obeying? It’s one thing to listen, and it’s another thing to put into action what God spoke to you. All the things that hinder us, the things that burden us, let it go. We can’t move forward and finish the race if we’re hindered and not even running at all. Or if we’re going in the wrong direction. Let’s fix our eyes on the Lord, focus, listen, and go.
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” -Colossians 3:13
Forgiving others is not always an easy thing to do. But as children of God, it’s something that we must do. This scripture doesn’t say “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you should try/if you want to forgive others.” It says “so you must forgive others.” Sometimes it can be easier, sometimes forgiving someone doesn’t take a lot out of you. But other times it can feel like an impossible thing to do. Maybe someone hurt you, offended you, betrayed you so bad that not even the word forgiveness itself walks across your mind. “They don’t deserve forgiveness.” or “If you do this to me, I will never forgive you.” or “That is unforgivable.” These are phrases we hear and even say ourselves. People hurt people. That’s just the honest truth of this world. And it can bring a lot of grief or pain. But let’s never forget that we have a God who is the source of strength, our strong tower, our comfort. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8) And to know Him is to know that we don’t have to live with our pain. He is the one who sets you free. He is the one changes your mourning into dance. He is the one who shows you the greatest love of all. And fills you with the greatest love of all. A love that brings peace and forgiveness.
Think of all the times that we’ve failed God or turned our backs to Him with our actions. And when we fell humbly before Him, he didn’t turn His back on us, He forgave. And even lifted us back up. Why? Because He love us. That’s how great His love is, so great that He forgives us. And don’t we want to be more like Him?
“9) We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10) Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.” -2 Corinthians 6:9,10
In writing to the Corinithians, Paul was telling them about his hardships. And even in his hardships, he doesn’t fail to see what he has. What a tremendous word. It’s easy to SAY that you still have joy even though your heart aches. But you can’t say you have joy and live bitterly. Joy comes from the Lord, and even in heart ache, joy is there.
Paul implored the Corinthians to open their hearts. He called them friends. He did not condemn them. He did all of this with love so that they’d turn from their ways. Someone who live bitterly wouldn’t bother to show this much compassion and care for a people in need. But rather someone who is filled with joy, with God’s love and is compelled to share it.Paul, in his hardships, doesn’t forget the greatness of God. Because His greatness is greater than ANY hardship.