Devotional Word for Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Friendship is a precious value in these difficult days in which we live. In the past, when our nation was faced with common enemies, whether in times of war, as in the I & II World wars, or in times of financial crisis, as in the Great Depression; this great nation rose up united to face its adversaries, and as history records, we overcame and defeated them.
The common threads inspiring the people of this nation back then to sacrifice time, talents, resources, and even life and limb were mutual love and faith in God; a shared morality based on God’s Word; and a collective respect for all mankind created in God’s image to live in freedom.
What makes these present days so difficult is the fact that we are no longer a united people; we do not have common love, or faith, or morality or respect for mankind to live in freedom. We are a divided nation; divided from the highest ranks of our executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, to the farthest reaches of our institutions of health and education, to the deepest levels of our community obligations; we are a fractured nation!
Jesus said in Matthew 12:25, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.”
But, as the people of God, we must remember that our citizenship is not of this world. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20. We live in the world, but we are not of this world. We are called to be a counterculture for Christ, “as children of Light” amid a broken-down dark world. Ephesians 5:8-10
As people are stumbling in fear, despair, and confusion, we as the people of God, need to apply the healing balm of God’s love and truth of the Gospel to hurting, worried, and misguided people we make contact with. We need to befriend them with acts of kindness. We need to intercede for them in prayer. We need to be neighborly by helping them in time of need. We need to be friendly, respectful, and “at peace with all men”. Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14
Proverbs 3:27-30 gives us some practical suggestions on how to be friendly in Christ’s name. “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it” when you have it with you. Do not devise harm against your neighbor, while he lives in security beside you. Do not contend with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm.”
Jesus, in His Sermon of the Mount, defines what it means for us to love our neighbor. We read in Matthew 5:43-48, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
In Romans 12:20-21 we read, “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
May we, by God’s grace, live counterculturally, by loving our neighbors as ourselves and so prove to be Christ’s disciples and ambassadors in this world.