Bearing witness to those who hate God – Why we love those who hate us

In her book The Helper (referring to the Holy Spirit), Catherine Marshall says that Jesus’ top priority for you and me as His followers is to witness to the world.  The problem for us is that the world is currently under the dominion of the enemy of God.  Just as God allows us free will to obey or not obey & to follow or not to follow Him, He has also given the enemy powers to disrupt.  While Jesus won the victory over death through His sacrifice on the cross, He has not yet disposed of the enemy.  Scripture tells us that day is certainly coming, but is not yet here.  It seems counter-productive for God to allow a power out there to fight against us.  However, I cannot expect to completely understand the ways of the Creator of the universe.  He has knowledge and information that I do not have.  It is what it is and He has assigned us the task, as His followers, of proclaiming His Name and offering the world His forgiveness and victory over death through His shed blood and His resurrection.  And we proclaim Him to a world full of people who already belong to the enemy.  The enemy is not pleased with our intrusion into his territory.

But God did not leave us helpless.  He sends Himself in the form of the Holy Spirit to take up residence within His people.  And when we receive Him, greater is the One who is within me (and you) than the enemy that is within the world.  But we must go into the world with our eyes wide open.  (“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. But beware of them…” ~ Matthew 10:16)

It is not easy.  The opponent does not just roll over.  He fights.  And I can personally attest that he fights dirty.  He will cause them to speak falsely about you.  He will have them stir up strife, even within the church. He will whispers lies to you causing you to doubt God’s love for you or your value to God.  But God says we need not fear them for they cannot defeat us.  Might the enemy overwhelm us at times?  Absolutely.  But defeat us?  No way.

The enemy’s days are numbered, as are the days of his helpers.  And here is the twist (there’s always a twist): our job is to try to bear witness to the enemy’s helpers in this world!!!!  I pray nearly every day for the people who hate me most.  How awesome is it when God takes His (and our) biggest adversaries and makes them witnesses for Himself?  That is why we do not respond with hate when we are hated.  That is why we respond with love.  Our goal is not to drive away the enemy’s representatives, but see them converted.  To see them moved from the dark to the light.

But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
 ~ Matthew 5:44

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