Father, thank You for Jesus and the life I have in Him!
“Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energy of prayer for that person … If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life … Live generously. Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you: then grab the initiative and do it for THEM!” (v 27 – 31 MSG)
Some days, Lord, this kind of gracious interactive living can be intensely challenging and seems mostly impossible. Actually, when I approach someone in the natural, just as me, in my own strength, I don’t get to see Your process work. It’s only by allowing YOUR grace and strength to work through me that I can truly let my enemies bring out the best in me.
When someone gives me a hard time, my first reaction can be one of frustration or even verbally lashing back. Yet, You call me to take the energy that would normally go into those reactions and invest it in praying for the person who’s giving me a hard time. Remind me of this, Holy Spirit. Recall these words and, Father, help me to carry them out.
Help me to “live generously” as Jesus did. Train my thinking to first consider each circumstance with “What would I want this person to do for/to me?” Then, give me the initiative and strength and wisdom as I do it FOR THEM.
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults — unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.” (v 37 MSG)
How easy it is, Lord, to slip into a complaining mode with the people I see regularly — folks with whom I have a bird’s-eye-view into their strengths, weaknesses, habits, and idiosyncrasies. The ones who have the most opportunity to either be a blessing or to get on my one last nerve … But then, that means I fall into that same category for them. Is the way I treat them the same way that I hope they treat me?
Father, I need YOUR help to be different with EVERY new day in this setting. Help me not to look for, notice and pick at the failures of the people around me. Rather, help me to affirm them as Your children or Your creation. Help me not to “criticize the faults,” and cause them to feel lower than dirt. Instead, cause words of encouragement to come out of my mouth, with a genuine interest in seeing each one succeed. Make me keenly aware of those who are down, and hold my tongue from adding to that lowness by being hard-shelled toward them. Teach me, rewire me, equip me, move me to “be easy on people.” It’s only You who can transform me in this area — please do it, Lord!
“… These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.
“If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use My words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.” (v 47-49 MSG)
Keep me grounded on the foundation of Your Word. And help me to work Your Word into EVERY aspect of my life, so that NOTHING can shake me, as You keep on making me just like Jesus. Amen.