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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

Fickle Friends

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." - Romans 12:14-15 NKJV

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Years ago, while I was working as a secretary in a small office, my husband, Joe, and I got engaged. Up until this time, I had a warm and friendly relationship with all of the girls in my office, and it was a very pleasant work environment for me. As soon as my husband presented me with a beautiful diamond engagement ring, and we began to make plans for our wedding, the ladies in my office began to treat me differently. Suddenly, the warmth that we shared between us seemed to evaporate, and our relationship became distant and cold. All of these women were single at the time, and even though I had hoped that they would share my joy, they instead chose to become jealous and offended. I can still remember sitting alone in my car during lunch time, weeping bitter tears because of the pain in my heart.

One of the things that Satan hates most is seeing God's people blessed and making progress. Suppose you get a promotion at work? Chances are that there will be someone who won't like it, and who will become jealous and critical of you because of it. What if you are in ministry, and the Lord opens a new door of opportunity for you, so that you can reach more people with the life-changing message of the Gospel? Brace yourself, because the devil is not going to sit idly by while you become a greater threat to his kingdom. Don't be surprised if he incites people - including some of your closest loved ones - to have a negative reaction. I made up my mind a long time ago that even if every single one of my loved ones deserts me, I am STILL going on with God. If you can't make the same statement with all sincerity, then sooner or later, Satan will put enough pressure on you to make you turn your back on the Lord.

The Bible says: "Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them." (Romans 12:14 AMP) When others hurt us, or turn their backs on us, it can be tempting to respond in an un-Christlike way. But God commands us to bless those who are unkind to us. If we pray and ask the Lord how we can do that, He will most likely tell us to pray for them, and to refrain from speaking unkindly about them. If these people are a constant source of pain and discouragement for us, God may lead us to distance ourselves from them, at least for a time.

The rest of this passage says: "Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others' joy]..." (Romans 12:15 AMP) It is God's will for us to share others' joy when they are blessed somehow. It is offensive to Him when we respond with a jealous or judgmental attitude. Sometimes, when others respond negatively to our good news, we are just reaping the consequences of our own sinful attitudes from the past. If we pray and ask the Lord for His help, He will change our hearts.

David declared, "Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close." (Psalm 27:10 NLT) David had the right attitude. How about you?

Prayer: Lord, when others turn their backs on me because of Your blessings, help me to respond in a Christlike manner, and to be quick to turn to You for comfort and healing. Don't let me be so afraid of rejection that I miss out on the awesome plans You have for my life. Teach me how to get to know You so well - and to be so grounded in my faith in You and Your Word - that I will never waver in my devotion to You. Thank You that as I give You Your rightful place in my life, You will make me steadfast, immovable, and faithful to Your call!

- J. M. Farro

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