Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Being an Exception and Not the Norm?

"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, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Matthew 5:43-47

Jesus has been giving his disciples instructions as to how to carry themselves in a manner that reflected him.  He reminds them of a familiar teaching.  Everyone is aware, he says, of love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  He may have noticed that his disciples were influenced by those around them and had a tendency to gravitate to the word on the street.  He challenges them to consider a higher response to those around us who are our enemies. 

Many Christians tend to listen to the world about matters related to relationships.  These may form a world-based opinion on things that need a spiritual perspective to properly handle.  Jesus lets the disciples know that He knows what they have heard doesn't work like the world thinks it will work and He doesn't want his followers to act that way.  He notices that what they hear and what they hang around can cause them to be on the same level as others.  Loving your neighbors and hating your enemies is the worldly norm, but we are to be an exception.  Peter wrote that we are to be a “peculiar people”, not clones of the world system.  We have been called to be world changers, not world followers.  We are chosen to be above average and not the norm.

Too many of us are living the average kind of life.  Average means wedged somewhere in the middle of the pack; not as well as some, but maybe a little better than others.  Not the best, but not the worst either; nothing really great, but nothing all that bad. 

A writer named John Schiller said; "The average estimate themselves by what they do, the above average estimate themselves by what they are."  

Andrew Carnegie said, “The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work.  The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%.” 

One thing about being average is it doesn't take much of anything to be positioned in the middle of the pack.  After all a minimal effort will do the trick, but average doesn't take you places.
Jesus says to his disciples, I know what you have heard but I don't want you to be average or the norm.  I want you to love your enemies, bless them that curse you and do good to them that hate you and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.  He is letting us know that we should not do to others what they did to us.  Our job is to p-r-a-y for them and not p-r-e-y upon them.  Remember Jesus said you shall know they are my disciples if they have love one to another!  Wow!  Now that's living life in the above average category and not the norm!   Let's stand out! We can do it with the help of God!!!

Scripture to Claim:
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Ephesians 5:6-10

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