Final moments: love and pray
We’ve entered times of unrelenting hostility and hardship, that will wax ever worse. Believers will face an evil onslaught in response to standing for Christ. Our Father calls us to supernatural responses that set us apart as lights in the dark world around us. He commands us as He always has to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors.
Love your enemies
Perhaps the most powerful reflection of a godly heart attitude is loving your enemies. Love is the supreme Christian virtue, and loving an enemy its highest attainment producing the most powerful testimony. God calls us to His highest standard, to love our enemies as he does, and doing this sets us apart.
This demand can seem impossible. But for a born-again child of God, the supernatural power of Christ is available by grace to perform it. It’s a supernatural act.
Ask God to teach you to love those who curse, hate or want to silence or harm you. Overcome evil with good. Return forgiveness and love for mistreatment. Some enemies may turn into friends or even brothers in Christ.
There’s no justification for hate or a retaliatory spirit. It’s wrong to do evil, regardless of another person’s conduct. How you treat an enemy reflects your character.
Don’t wish evil on them or rejoice in their hardship. Meet their need. Help them if you can. David fasted and prayed for his enemies in their calamities.
God loves his enemies, but if they don’t repent, he judges them. They end up in hell for eternity. Pray for them to repent, believe and receive salvation.
Pray for your persecutors
Perhaps the most severe and painful abuse is persecution for faith in Christ. It strikes at a deep and vulnerable point. Yet persecution comes. And in the coming days may we may face an onslaught.
Remember Jesus’ words: “…The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you…” (Jn. 15:20)
No greater example exists of persecution for righteousness sake than the Son of God. Evil people abused Him, especially during the closing years of his earthly life. Finally, he was mocked and humiliated and brutally abused emotionally and physical, culminating with nailing him to a cross. Yet, He looked down from that cross at the guilty ones and in supreme love petitioned on their behalf, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Lk. 23:34)
And that powerful gospel preacher in the early church, Stephen. Driven outside the city by an enraged mob and stoned to death for his bold testimony about Jesus. In his final moments, “…he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” (Acts 7:60) And then he died.
These are sobering and humbling demands. But within our grasp because the same loving Father who commands it provides the supernatural power to get it done. And in the doing, we are blessed and our Heavenly Father glorified.