Jesus Did It!
THE WISDOM OF "BLESSING" THOSE
By: Norm Rasmussen
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Do you want God's maximized blessings upon your life? Of course you do, just as I do! The purpose of this writing is to help you position yourself to receive MAXIMIZED BLESSINGS from God the rest of your time here on earth.
There are a number of things God exhorts (commands) Christians to do in the New Testament that make no 'logical sense', and 'blessing your enemies' would seem to me to be right near the top of that list, along with 'forgiving your enemies.' Let's see if the Holy Spirit will be bless us with some understanding as to WHY God asks us to do something that seems absolutely CRAZY to our way of dealing with those who have hurt us.
To me (though it surely wasn't this way for me for a very long time!), everything the New Testament tells us to do is GOOD for us. If God truly is a 'good God', which He IS, and God wants nothing but the BEST for His children, which He DOES, then it should only make logical sense that everything God tells us to DO in His Word is ultimately GOOD for us ' correct? Because if a person doesn't start OUT with this premise, then everything that is about to follow will just be wasted words -- bearing no blessing in their life.
Here is something else we would do well to keep in mind as we trust the Holy Spirit for wisdom and understanding into this topic of 'blessing' our enemies. God has decreed throughout the Old and New Testament that to get, we almost always first need to give. Simply stated, if we want God to bless US, we need to be about blessing others. HOWEVER ' we need to be very wise in how we go about doing that, and for WHAT REASONS.
Let's first look at a few scriptures about blessing our enemies before going further on what God is getting at by exhorting us to bless our enemies:
'You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,' (Matthew 5:43-44)
'That you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?' (Matthew 5:45-46).
There it is! There is the very reason to get a handle on blessing your enemies ' to receive a REWARD from God! Obedience to God brings REWARDS ' BLESSINGS ' from God. When we refuse to obey God's WISDOM ' we hinder God from showering us with maximized blessing.
Afterall ' this IS what it is also all about. Seeing the WISDOM of God. Everything God tells you and I to do in the New Testament is God's WISDOM.
Before saying more, let us not get caught in the trap of assuming what God's blessings should be for us, or when we even receive them. Experience teaches that God's greatest blessings will not be realized in this life, but they are reserved for eternity for us.
We will provide a few more scriptures on blessing our enemies further on, but now let's tackle the more difficult task of seeking to understand WHY 'blessing your enemies' is God's WISDOM for us.
Ephesians 6:10-18 clearly tells Christians they are in a constant battle with evil spirits operating in the spirit realm. These evil spirits ever seek to rob Christians of their peace, joy, and confidence (faith) in their relationship with God. But these evil spirits do even more than that. They seek to do Satan's bidding in those in leadership around the globe. Satan ever seeks to put people in power over the masses who he can exert his will through. In so doing, it postures him to be able to subdue Christian (Godly) influence. Secondly, it helps his overall cause of trying to maintain his control over the entire planet, which is to be fully played out in the last of the last days.
Not IF, but BECAUSE ' Satan is ever diligent in seeking to rob Christians of their peace, joy and confidence in their relationship with God, which then hinders their usefulness to God to help expand HIS Kingdom in the lives of others, God has given Christians WEAPONS to employ against demonic spirits.
The weapons of warfareGod has given Christians to battle demonic spirits assigned to them are summarized (or highlighted) in Ephesians 6:10-18, but it takes a great deal of diligence on our part to understand FULLY what God is talking about by His summarized listings of those weapons.
To come to a FULL understanding of what all those weapons are and HOW to wisely use them against evil forces, we have to read everything ELSE in the New Testament scriptures and know when and how to let those passages of scripture help us understand fully Ephesians 6:10-18.
Hence, 'blessing your enemies' is not a mere spiritual slingshot or b-b gun weapon against demonic spirits. It is the equivalent of another NUCLEAR WARHEAD spiritual weapon! Please let that sink in deeply, dear reader. God doesn't give Christians weapons to be locked away in some dark closet to collect dust. He gives us weapons to USE as is needed for every occasion as the enemy is about to launch another attack against them, or has outright already launched that attack.
When the Holy Spirit through God the Word tells us in Matthew 6:14-15:
'For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Forgiving our enemies ' forgiving those who have painfully hurt us ' is a WEAPON. It is a NUCLEAR WARHEAD equivalent weapon of many spiritual megatons!
And here I hear the Holy Spirit saying loudly is WISDOM: Do you want to know to WHAT DEGREE you have forgiven your enemies? What is your willingness to BLESS them? Most likely, if you aren't willing to pray that God will bless them ' you may need to allow God to do some MORE spiritual surgery on you. Maximized blessing from God STARTS with forgiving our enemies. Maximized blessing from God CONTINUES when we next chose to bless those very same enemies.
Romans 12:14 reinforces the wisdom of blessing our enemies:
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Romans 12:19-21 gives important direction and insights even more:
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; If he thirsts, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."
And HERE is some key insight into this whole matter in verse 21 of Romans 12: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Now then ' what does 'blessing our enemies' fully entail? Does it mean that we are to become total pacifists and not defend ourselves and our loved ones if we have that responsibility? Does it mean we're to let our enemies make us door mats to wipe their evil, filthy, dirty feet on? NO! That is NOT what God is talking about at all! It is ATTITUDE that God is addressing. Our attitude about how we respond to evil will ultimately restrain us from opening legal doors in the spirit realm for demonic powers to sift us like wheat ' or restrain them from unduly raking us through their evil, tormenting coals.
Blessing our enemies FIRST is executed by praying that God will save our enemy from eternal hell-fire damnation. God's will is that all people be saved, though we also know that out of the masses of humanity, only a small number will respond in making Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior. But that's not our problem. That is God's doing and their doing with God. Our part is that we can pray for their eternal salvation. We have no real clue as to how important our praying for their salvation truly MIGHT BE either!
Secondly, blessing our enemies is the Holy Spirit's RESTRAINT for our continuing to give place to evil, and it is God's wisdom in action. If a person is willing to make your life a living hell, chances are excellent they are fully capable of making a lot of other people's lives a living hell as well, should circumstances dictate such. YOUR and MY prayer that God would hinder that person from being a puppet for demon spirits to use to make others miserable may be the ONLY means by which God dispatches His angels to battle against the evil spirits controlling that person -- have you considered that possibility?
Thirdly, we are to let God be the ultimate judge. In so doing, that fully frees God to execute judgment as He determines regarding our enemy. If you and I do not pray for our enemy who is making us miserable with the attitude of blessing rather than cursing ' could it be that God will NOT execute His judgment (prior to the Judgment Day anyway) against that person for making our lives miserable?
This third area of 'judging our enemies' is probably the most crucial to understand when it comes to waging effective spiritual warfare against our enemies. With judging our enemy comes the danger of releasing our anger against our enemy. God has MUCH to say about our anger. God clearly tells us in scripture that when we allow our anger to control US ' instead of US controlling our anger ' we give evil spirits the LEGAL RIGHT to attack us. (Rather than address the serious dangers of allowing our anger to dictate our ACTIONS, I would encourage the reader to go to this link:http://www.precious-testimonies.com/MEncouragerArchives/AngerBeware.htm ).
In every situation we have facing us where it involves being hurt by someone else ' here is what the WISE person will do. They will take this individual and/or situation to the Lord in prayer, and ask and trust God to reveal to them exactly HOW they are to bless their enemy. There are no 'blanket formulas' in blessing our enemies, hence the crucial importance of DILIGENTLY inquiring of God SPECIFICALLY HOW we should go about blessing the one or one's who happens to be our enemy in any and every situation.
God will bless us simply because we are willing to bless our enemy. But MAXIMIZED blessing will be ensured when we inquire of the Lord as to just HOW we are to bless our enemy, and then obey His direction. You might be STUNNED in what God tells you to do when you inquire of Him as to HOW He would have you bless your enemy! But again ' if you want to posture yourself to receive MAXIMIZED blessings from God ' obedience to what He tells us to DO must be followed.
Showing our willingness to bless our enemy is not about 'fairness.' It is not about 'they don't DESERVE my blessing or anyone else's blessing!' It is about WISDOM. Either we use the weapons God has given us to battle evil spirits trying to find ways to rob us of peace and joy and faith in God ' or we remain stubborn and refuse to use them. The wise Christian chooses to use them.
The easiest way for Satan to launch an attack upon your life is when we disobey God. When we refuse to forgive our enemy ' expect Satan's judgment to descend upon you like ugly on an ape. When we refuse to THEN bless that enemy we just forgave ' it is very possible you were just playing mind-games with yourself, and you haven't really truly forgiven that enemy afterall.
Forgiving AND blessing our enemy does not mean we are expected to magically 'like' that individual, and neither does it mean we are necessarily refusing to see earthly justice executed against that person. If a person clearly breaks the law, God expects that person to suffer the consequences. Forgiving such a person and asking God to 'bless' that person does NOT assume that person shouldn't have to pay for a crime/s they have committed. And if that person is doing you or another loved one bodily harm, this cannot simply be forgiven and blessed. It is an act that needs to be stopped, most likely by the local authorities. Common sense IS something God gave us to use.
Keep in mind: God had the Jewish armies' annihilate certain of their enemies ' ruthlessly. But the commander/s of the army never did so without God's EXPRESS orders to do so. If they did (which happened), there were always consequences to suffer to one degree or another. Nothing has changed about God from those times until now. God STILL wants us inquiring of His will in any and every given situation, especially when it comes to dealing with our enemies. God blesses our OBEDIENCE to Him ' not because we are Christians who assume He must bless us just 'because' we are destined for heaven.
Forgiving and blessing our enemies is about the ATTITUDE of one's deepest most being. At the very core of your being and my being is SELFISHNESS. Selfishness only knows one thing. It wants its way! Unrestrained selfishness does not care what God thinks about a given matter as long as selfishness gets what it craves. Two of the most powerful weapons God has given His people are the two weapons of FORGIVENESS and BLESSING. They are 'restraining mechanisms' in one sense, in that they restrain selfishness from getting its way. Because selfishness unrestrained gives Satan more and more legal ground to sift you and I like wheat ' to rob us of our peace and joy and faith (confidence) primarily in our prayer lives.
Forgiveness and blessing will not keep Satan and demons who serve him from suffering in the lake of fire for eternity, once God executes sentence upon them. Neither will forgiveness and blessing on the Judgment Day keep people from also being thrown into the lake of fire along with Satan and the demons. I only mention this because we need to stay wisely in balance when dealing with forgiveness and blessing. When Christians understand that forgiveness and blessing are primarily weapons for THEIR benefit ' they will embrace both those precious weapons, and be quick to use them when the Holy Spirit says it's time to use them, and how to use.
If this message is essentially new to you as a Christian, I would strongly encourage you to take some quality time and go to God in prayer and ask Him to reveal to you every person and every situation where you neglected to bless that person and/or situation, and ask God how you might NOW be able to pray a blessing on behalf of that person or situation. Afterall ' you DO want God's maximized favor and blessing to rest over your life, right?
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. - 1 Peter 3:8-9
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