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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Harmonize to Love"

Date published: 10/23/2017
1 Peter 3:9 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (NIV)

   The last three weeks we dissected a judgmental attitude by the harm it does to you and others, how judging others dishonors God, and our need to emulate Jesus. Our final devotion on being judgmental focuses on God’s desire for harmony and our opportunity to be His hands in the world. You can respond to hurt from another by being judgmental, retaliating, gossiping, forgiving, or instead with a blessing. Your sinful nature wants to strike back while God wants you to bless. There are not many things more difficult than blessing an oppressor who deserves retribution. This blessing rather than cursing reaction is so unnatural that it requires the full measure of Christ in you. 

   Imparting blessings to the undeserving allows God to cultivate the Godly traits in 1 Peter 3:8: “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.”(NIV) These traits are easily displayed at church on Sunday morning, but in the middle of an intense, difficult, and challenging event they can quickly crumble into discord, anger, and accusation. Jesus broke the mold of human behavior when He said in Luke 6:27-31, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.  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.” (NIV) Is that about par for most of the intense interactions you and I have with others? Probably not!  God calls you to be long on love and short on anger; long on patience, but short on disgust; resilient to oppression, but overflowing with love. Proverbs 10:12 identifies love as the secret for this lifestyle: “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.” (NIV) Yes, love is the secret, but love will only exude out of a heart that is overflowing with Jesus. Commit now to loving and not hating; but more importantly be certain that you have an abundant diet of getting more of Jesus into your heart. It is only out of the Holy Spirit’s work in you that you can love this way.

2 Peter 1:5-8 “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV) 

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 Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “Transformation: Part 1”  and “Transformation: Part 2.”