Love Your Enemies – Part 1
Enemies & The Definition of Love
Matthew 5:43 — “you have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”
For the next few weeks our devotionals will be focused on loving our enemies. Whether we want to admit it or not, loving our enemies is incredibly difficult – no matter where we are at in our relationship with Christ. Therefore, I want to focus on a few different topics to better understand this specific call to love. This week we will be looking at the Biblical meaning of love.
Unfortunately, the culture we live in often taints our idea of love. Most commonly it is equated to a feeling of affection, desire, or intimacy. However, this is not necessarily how the Bible defines love. Let’s really look at a well know section of scripture to better understand how God wants us to love those around us. As you read the following verses, I challenge you to see them in a way you have never before.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says: “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Take a moment to think about these two questions based on the above scripture.
1. What is love?
2. What is love NOT?
Has your idea of love been lining up with this Biblical definition? I think that often times we [falsely] believe “loving our enemies” means that we need to: 1. feel desire and affection toward our enemy, 2. allow our enemy to walk all over us, and 3. completely ignore or hide our true emotions.
However, I want to challenge you to remove theses ideas from your mind. We see that God wants us to be patient, kind, truthful, enduring, and hopeful when it comes to loving others. He wants our love to be empty of jealousy, arrogance, unforgiveness, and self-focus.
Nowhere does the Biblical definition of love call us to mere feelings, passivity, or insincerity.
Meditate on what it really means to LOVE this week.