“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who are abusive to you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat people the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil people. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:20-38 NASB
Was reading here this morning and went beyond what my yearly Bible reading plan said to include the context. I have been reading Romans 12 every day since we started with the Bible study group we are in and can see what Jesus said in Luke's Gospel sort of repeated.
But what really came to mind is people's perceptions of a Rough Life...or a Lived Life.
We read in Luke that Jesus was teaching to look at what we face from a Godly growth perspective. All isn't as it might appear to be.
We can choose to submit to God’s plans for us or we can do our own thing and reject them.
I also look at what the overall view of this section of Luke's Gospel. What comes to mind is tribulations. Rough times possibly a rough life. I then found myself looking at the depth of the hard hearts of the Jews that daily sought grounds to accuse Jesus. How many of those people died before the Resurrection that were in torment looking across that chasm to see the one whom they had tried to pierce?
A hardened heart can lead to greater troubles in life. It can cause depression because of a lack of God's purpose being fulfilled. Our views on life are not paramount to being the truth about life.
Jesus was teaching in the Beatitudes to think differently. In Romans Paul reiterates this point.
"Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation."
We are going to see personal tribulations or trouble in this life. How we react is what either shows the light of Jesus Christ or it shows our own darkness. Since He id the Light there can be no other to be seen by mankind since He will not give His glory to another.
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Galatians 2:20 NASB
We likely will have times when we will never understand the why behind what is apparently going wrong with our lives. It may be that we are stronger than someone else who isn't able to stand. We may be receiving instruction from the Spirit in something we will need later on in this life. We may be living in disobedience and until we acknowledge that God is right and we are not, this will persist.
Every person who comes to Christ will go through a life perspective change. We know this because the 4 Gospel accounts reveal this was integral to the training the Disciples received from Jesus. Our perspective is not going to be what is God’s because of our sin nature.
"But a natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB
If you aren't saved you're not going to understand the things of God. Spiritual discernment comes with Salvation. Remaining in Christ in our walk through life brings understanding of the way life is and is to be. A reading challenge for you is to go through the 4 Gospel accounts and find all the places where Jesus said something about them not understand it now but they would later.
We may indeed face a rough life for a moment, a season or all of it. We will never face it alone. We may indeed question it. God may grant understanding, He may not. We cannot see the greater picture of the reality of this life. In its simplest terms we who are in Christ all here to locate and lead others to Christ. It's by how we live that others see Christ in us. We reflect the Light of Jesus. We are worker's in His name, in the Harvest regardless of what life looks like from the outside to this dying world.
Our tribulations or troubles could mean another life coming to Christ. Our lives aren't about our comfort or successes or possessions. It's not about fame or fortune here, but what is revealed in Heaven that we did for Jesus.
There indeed is a Great Tribulation coming. The book of Revelation spells out the wrath of God on who remains after the Church is taken out of the picture. Much of society will react in shock and horror at all those who aren't here anymore. They may even realize the truth that only those saved in Christ Jesus were the ones to leave. There's countless billions in Hell living an eternity of regrets concerning not believing God at His Word about sin, death and the cross. About the horrible abuses they did towards Believers in Christ Jesus. About learning that the truth of the Bible was really true. That their fate is now sealed and nothing can change it. Their tribulations will never ever end due to them paying for their own sins for all eternity.
Your life might not be going as you hoped. It may be going as you hoped. If you're a Believer then you have work to be doing in Christ. That should be your first priority. Jesus said to beseech the Lord of the Harvest to send worker's into His Harvest.
A Lived life is one that is indeed persevering and pushing through in a Godly way to reflect the light of Jesus to this world regardless of what life appears to be.
We who are in Christ are worker's in the Harvest whether or not you see it, you are one.
We, as we have repeatedly read in Romans 12, are part of the body of Christ. We are given gifts and as we read in other parables, we are expected to be using them in service to Our Savior. We are not to be hiding them until we see Him.
Are you going through some stuff? Has it appeared that to be the case for some time? First, make sure of your obedience in Christ. Second, continue in your walk with Jesus as best you can. Hold to His promises and His purpose for you. It may not seem like you're accomplishing much but again, we don't see what God sees.