To Follow Jesus
My (Shayne McCusker) notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
March/April 2014 Issue – ‘The Great Legacy’
Today’s text for reading and meditation is:
Luke 6:27-36 (NIV): ‘But to you who are listening I say: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill-treat 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. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.’
Selwyn says a few interesting things in today’s study.
Here is a sample: ” … Jesus shows that God’s holiness is not merely a standard that condemns sinners but an outgoing force that changes sinners. For Jesus, to be holy does not mean to withdraw self-righteously from the contagion of sinners but to reach out and embrace sinners with a cleansing wave of healing compassion.
Consider this as you go out into the day: the command to be holy is best fulfilled by being merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful.”
In Philippians 1:3-6 (NIV), we find these great words, written by Paul: ‘I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that God who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’
It’s important for us to strive to be merciful, compassionate and loving; yet, it’s God working in us, who provides the direction and power for us to be like Jesus in the way that we witness to other people. The above verses, from Philippians, tell us that God has started our transformation – through our new birth, and it is He who continues His work of developing our new character – that will, on that final day, be completed.
We will appear, without blemish on that day. Set free and washed clean by His blood so that we can approach Him and hear His Word – and, all this is possible because He choose each one of us, to be a citizen of His holy ‘nation’.
The challenge for us is to fully comprehend that we have no excuse not to show mercy and forgiveness; we cannot say that it’s too hard for us to act lovingly towards our enemies. Because it is His Spirit within us, who powerfully works with our frail heart, that makes it possible to live a holy life. And nothing, in a spiritual sense, is impossible for God – so why is it, that we often act as if it is impossible to faithfully follow Jesus?
What’s your answer to this question?