I recently heard a powerful and encouraging teaching about how we can make a real difference in peopleís lives, even when they are living in blatant rebellion against God. Sometimes, the Lord instructs us to love these people from a distance. But other times, these rebellious people will be our own loved ones who God expects us to remain in close relationship with. They may be our spouses, our children, our parents, or our siblings. And even though their ungodly behavior may deeply hurt us, the Lord expects us to follow His lead in impacting their lives for good.
First, we must keep the lines of communication open. Have you ever given anyone the silent treatment? I used to be so good at employing this subtle form of revenge that I elevated it to an art form. That was until the Lord led me to a verse in Scripture that pierced my soul with conviction, and changed my heart and life. Jesus said, "So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these]." (Luke 6:36 AMP) The word, "responsive," was the one that struck me the hardest. No more building walls between me and those who hurt me, or who didnít meet my unreasonable expectations. I was commanded by the Master Himself to demonstrate the God-kind of love to others in my character, conduct, and conversation. By doing this, we leave the door open for the Lord to use us as His instruments to influence those around us who need a touch from God.
Second, we must continue praying and interceding for these difficult people, even when it seems that our prayers are going unanswered. No more getting discouraged when weíre not getting the results from our prayers that we expect. No more quitting and giving up just because God isnít working fast enough to suit us. No more throwing our hands up in exasperation because we feel like our time and energy are too important to waste on people who might never see the light. Romans 12:12 (MSG) says, "Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder." From now on, when you and I even THINK about letting up on our petitions before the throne, we will declare out loud, "I have only begun to fight!" And we will cling to Godís holy promise which says, "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." (James 5:16 NLT)
Third, we must remind ourselves that the battle is the Lordís, and that our part is to pray and stand firm in our faith. As a mere youth, David defeated a giant because he had gotten the revelation that it wasnít his might that would give him victory, but the Lordís. He boldly declared to Goliath and his troops: "All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give all of you into our hands." (1 Samuel 17:47 NIV) Because David relied on Godís power to defeat the enemy, he emerged victorious. And you and I will gain the victory over the forces of evil coming against our loved ones, when we fight the battle in prayer, relying on Godís Spirit to empower and direct us. Is there a rebel in YOUR life right now who could benefit from your heeding this message and putting it into practice?
Prayer: Lord, Iím so grateful that You have equipped me to make a difference in the lives of those who are resisting Your will for them. Fill me with a holy determination to persist in prayer for these people, and to love them with Your kind of love. Guard me from discouragement and doubt, and remind me that the battle belongs to You. Thank You for all of the hearts that will be eternally transformed as I put Your life-changing principles to work!
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