What if the purpose of opposition is to empower you to love well?
– Key scriptures in this episode:
📙 Ephesians 6:10-12
📙 John 16:33
📙 Matthew 5:43-45
📙 Romans 8:28
📙 Romans 8:37
Today, we are going to take a “Posture of Peace” by canceling offense.
Posture is a short, audible fist bump to remind you God is with you in everything. Together, we’re going to be emboldened to take a daily Posture of perfect peace.
In Ephesians 6:10-12, it says: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” So, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the common things that tend to steal our peace over and over again. And I call them peace stealers. Now, let me just say this. No one and no thing, can actually steal your peace. Because as we’ve talked about before, peace is not a calming feeling or a calming environment or even a calming circumstance, that’s worldly peace. But kingdom peace, is a calming presence, His name is Jesus. Jesus is your Prince of Peace. And for those who believe in Jesus, the Bible says: “He now lives in you, and you live in Him.” God said, He will never leave you nor forsake you, so you always have peace, you always have the presence of peace in your life, your Prince of Peace cannot be stolen away from you. But, your awareness of His presence in your life can be stolen. And it’s often stolen by the same things, kind of over and over again. So, many people walk around unaware of their peace, they live searching for something external to bring within themselves, to calm themselves, when really kingdom peace is internal and it comes to the surface and it affects the external. One common peace dealer, is offense.
Now years ago, I decided to radically embrace a truth that let me tell you gets tested a lot in this life. And the truth is this. I only have one real enemy and his name is satan, meaning people are not my enemy. Now, you may be thinking, that’s really sweet, that’s a sweet thought to have, but I’m not sure it’s true because like it or not, people act like enemies, and you’re right. You know, people do act like enemies, people may not like me, they may oppose me, they may disagree with me, they may even actively seek to harm me. But I have discovered something, a powerful truth. How I choose to perceive and engage with that kind of opposition from other people, actually reflects what I believe about God, and what I believe about myself. What does perfect peace look like in the midst of opposition? It’s not passive.
I believe peace is most needed and therefore fully activated in the midst of opposition. Remember Jesus said in John 16:33, He said: “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” There is nothing passive about overcoming. Jesus also said in Matthew 5:43-45, and I’m going to read The Passion Translation of this verse, He said: “Your ancestors have also been taught, love your neighbors and hate the one who hates you. However, I say to you, love your enemies, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them. For that will reveal your identity as children of your Heavenly Father. He is kind to all by bringing the sunrise to warm and the rainfall to refresh, whether a person does what is good or evil.” Now, religion wants to make this some kind of standard, which we measure ourselves and condemn ourselves, right? Like we either do it right or we do it wrong, we fail, we pass, but we’re not religious people, we are kingdom people so we see accurately, we see through the lens of Romans 8:28, where it says: “We know for those who love God, all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.” And we know the truth of Romans 8:37, that says: “Through Him, in all things, we are more than conquerors.”
So, that’s the truth in which we live so we can view a command that Jesus made in Matthew 5, with a kingdom lens, kingdom eyes, with a healed heart and a renewed mind. And we know, this is not a standard to achieve, this is an identity to receive, this is who we are. We can walk in radical love, so radical that we can love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, bless those that hate us. What if the purpose of opposition, the opposition we receive from other people here on earth, is to empower us to love well? what if the purpose of trouble, is to empower us with a greater awareness of peace and His power? Now, this doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with toxic people, it doesn’t mean you become a doormat or a punching bag, no. Remember, you’re an overcomer, you are more than a conqueror, you are a person of the kingdom of God. This is about being empowered and equipped to stay above the chaos of an offensive world and live in peace no matter how others may choose to live.
What if all the energy spent in offense towards other people, was turned towards our real enemy, satan? I think we’d empty his hands, so fast. We would strip him of the lies and accusation he tries to wield against us every day. Instead of canceling each other, we would cancel his plans. Our minds and our hearts would be free. We’d have the space to develop real solutions to the problems that we face in this world. I think that’s what would happen. And you know what, I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s better practiced than ignored. Just because it’s hard, doesn’t make it impossible. And even if it’s impossible to the world, which I believe it is because they lack the empowerment of Jesus, nothing is impossible with God. You are called to live differently, made in the image of God, empowered by Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, nothing is too difficult for Him, and therefore nothing is too difficult for you, because you now live in Him. So today, let’s be empowered to love well. Let’s turn our comments and our thoughts and our actions about other people that are born out of offense. Let’s turn those into prayers that align with our identity in Christ, and God’s purpose for all people.