Challenge Yourself to Follow This Scripture in 2018

Passion-Christ-Cavaziel
Jesus forgave those who persecuted and physically abused Him. Could we do the same? (YouTube)

It will be difficult, but what a difference it could make.

By Shawn A. Akers

In Ephesians 5:1-2, the apostle Paul compels us to: “Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God.”

In other words, we are to be as Christlike as possible at all times. People made fun of Jesus. The Pharisees had him put to death, where Roman soldiers whipped him brutally, spat on him, mocked him and crucified him. While on the cross, passersby insulted their savior.

Yet what did Christ do? He loved on them and simply said, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

An eye for eye? Jesus never heard of the phrase. What do you think would happen if we all removed it from our vocabularies?

In Romans 12:14-21, Paul also reminds us to “bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Repay no one evil for evil. … If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men …” and not to avenge ourselves. Jesus says, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

While all of us would like to believe that this is no problem, it is most likely one of the most challenging and difficult passages of Scripture for even the most dedicated follower of Jesus to obey.

While all of us would like to believe that this is no problem, it is most likely one of the most challenging and difficult passages of Scripture for even the most dedicated follower of Jesus to obey.

“Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.” Try telling that to your flesh.

Every day, social media is filled with rage and hatred—and much of it comes from believers. Double-minded believers, you could say. In some cases, you can label me among them, I am sorry to say.

We all want justice in this world. But, because of the world’s fallen nature, we’re simply not going to get it. We might as well resign ourselves to this. I’ve been told that for many years, and it’s taken me that long to realize how wrong I’ve been to seek after something that is virtually unattainable.

As believers, we need to stop searching for not only revenge, but also for vindication. When we seek either of those, we neglect to show the world who we belong to, and it makes it that much more difficult for us to reach them for the kingdom. That job is difficult enough, don’t you think?

So, as this new year begins, take some advice: Don’t get on social media and strike back because you don’t like what someone said. Don’t get upset in the car because someone cut you off. And don’t go off the deep end if someone cheats you in a financial transaction.

If you believe in the infallible Word of God, meditate on these scriptures:

  • “The glory of the Lord shall be your reward. (Isaiah 58:8)
  • “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”
  • “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy, love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek it’s own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13:4-8)
  • “Be at peace among yourselves. … Warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”

Have a wonderful and prosperous New Year, and be patient with your brother. Let the world see Jesus’ love in you all year long!

And, remember to do something to rise up higher in your calling today.

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. 

Shawn A. Akers is content development editor at Charisma Media. He is a published poet and published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

 

 

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