This is a devotional from my next book FACING STORMS: A DEVOTIONAL FOR THOUGHT AND MEDITATION
We have a great commission in life. We are called to make disciples of all the nations, including our own country. So, the rude co-worker and obnoxious neighbor is part of our assignment. God loves His entire creation and wants every person to accept Him as his or her Lord and Savior. This is every Christian’s most important calling and mission in life.
“It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor.” ~ Martin Luther
No, this appointment is not an easy one, but neither is loving a people who falls so short of God’s morality. Thankfully, God refuses to give up on us and throw in the towel. He perseveres in demonstrating His love daily and in every moment. He longs for our fellowship and makes Himself available at all times. He creates incredible sunsets for our enjoyment and gives pleasure in so many different ways. His heart and passion belongs to us so, to model Him, our passion should be for the lost…. Be they ever so challenging.
People who rub us the wrong way are the means God uses to sand off our rough edges. They are placed in our life for OUR benefit. For by having them near us, we soon see our shortcomings and identify the weak areas in our character and spiritual walk.
Are you an impatient person? Ask for patience and God will surely send someone your way that challenges your temperance. Only by God’s blessed grace will you see a righteous gift of compassion birthed in your heart. Your self-control and forbearance will astound you. The sincere love and affection you are meant to feel for this person will deepen over time. So profound will it become, if you practice it daily, you will find yourself perplexed at how you ever saw them as a thorn or irritant in your side.
Will you choose kindness over selfish actions of rudeness? Will you overlook an offense and remember the many times God has forgiven you? Through simple acts of love, you can change a stony heart into a softer one, a heart the Creator can easily fashion and mold into something new.
Discernment will be given for the sake of intercession. Do not gawk at their sin or find pleasure in fault-finding. The Spirit will guide you as you pray and witness to them. Once hard to love (only because their wounds had made them fearful and prickly) they will drop their thorns and rest in your company. Reckless words will cause much damage but wise words of encouragement bring much fruit. By establishing trust, they will share another side with you, one only a precious few have witnessed. It will be an honor to behold.
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go thereforeand make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”Acts 1:8 (NKJV)
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:15 (NKJV)
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”Luke 19:10 (NKJV)
“Yet if we would know God and for other’s sake tell what we know we must try to speak of his love. All Christians have tried but none has ever done it very well. I can no more do justice to that awesome and wonder-filled theme than a child can grasp a star. Still by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. So as I stretch my heart toward the high shining love of God someone who has not before known about it may be encouraged to look up and have hope.” ~ A.W. Tozer
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ~ C.S. Lewis