"PUT UP THY SWORD!"
Meditation Moments 44:
In a letter I received this past week, the woman writes this way: "I have been so harassed by a certain person, and I get so resentful and I want to hit back so badly, because they're so unjust to me, and I only get victory intermittently.
"Satan defeats me over and over, and it's so hard to take it, and I can't let go of such traits of irritability and resentfulness and the wanting to hit back. I might as well be frank and tell you that this person I'm at swords point with just burns me up! They hurt me and disappoint me and I resent it, and I get so resentful that I just feel like I want to get even with them. I want to show them up in some way.
"I'd love to have a spirit of love for them and to be impervious to all these hurtful things, which in the natural are so annoying and keep me out of the victory, and cause my prayers to be so ineffectual. So I'm writing to you there, that you'll please pray. I do want the victory and to have a true spirit of prayer."
"You know, that's a very hopeful case, the woman that's written this letter, and do you know why? Because she realizes her condition and she knows she has a wrong spirit against this person, just as wrong and hateful as the spirit in which they have done these things to her.
I wonder in your own life if there is someone that's unjustly hurting you, even wronging you, and there's not any real cause for it? Does it seem that at times it's impossible to overcome because your personalities seem to clash, and it just grates on you and irritates you?
If so, what are you going to do about it according to God's Word?" I want to tell you something that happened to me. Sometime ago I was compelled to live with someone, they were working in our home at that time. Someone that was so crude and so rude and they had such a temper, and they would flare up at the least little thing.
They didn't like to be told to do things, and it was a constant trial, and was such a bitter trial! And a number of times I just wanted to dismiss them and tell them what I thought about them: I did have that spirit!
But at last I began to draw close to the Lord in the matter, and to throw the whole burden upon Him. I realized that my identification with Christ made it possible for me to be rid of such a spirit, because He says that it's "Christ in you, the hope of glory!" He says that Christ liveth in me!
And if Christ lives in me, then he could overcome such a spirit, and I wouldn't want to talk back, I wouldn't get so hurt over this thing! Well, at last I came utterly to the end of myself, and threw myself on the Lord, and I said,
"Lord, it just isn't in me to get complete victory and to love this one as I should, the old nature rises up, but Lord, Your nature and Your love and Your Spirit can overcome." -- And I committed the whole thing into His hands so definitely, so utterly, that do you know, there was the greatest change in that person?
Then one night I was thanking the Lord for changing them, because it was such a wonderful answer to prayer, it was really a miracle! And I was thanking the Lord, and the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart -- and I thought it was just a little sense of humor on the part of the Lord.
He said, "Well, I changed you a little bit too, not only changed them!" And that's exactly what will happen. So what are you going to do about these according to God's Word? Well, here are some Scriptures. God's Word says, "Recompense to no man evil for evil," Romans 12:17. And, "Who when he was reviled, (speaking of Jesus) reviled not again." 1 Peter 2:23.
"See that none render evil for evil unto any man," that's in Thessalonians, "See that none render evil for evil unto any man," and, "be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil wit good." -- Oh, those are precious admonitions from God's Word!
Overcome evil with good? How? -- By showing that you love them. Do them some special favor, take the initiative and go out of your way to tell them of some good thing about them! Maybe his heart is hungering for love, or maybe that woman is wanting someone to talk to her and love her. There's surely some trait that you can admire?
I had a friend that used to pray for one who was an enemy, and he wouldn't say the Lord's Prayer just the way it went, but he said, "forgive me my transgressions as I forgive So-&-so," and he mentioned the name of the person. Now in the natural you would revile again, it would be tit for tat and hatred for hatred, spite for spite.
But the Christian life is not to be lived in the natural, You've been born again and old things are passed away, and all things are become new, so says the Word of God. And you're a new creature in Christ Jesus. And if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.
Well, what is the spirit of Christ? -- When he was reviled, he reviled not again! His very words on the Cross: Father, forgive them, they know not what they do," speaks of this Spirit. Note that He turned to Peter, who had cut off the ear of the high priest's servant.
He said, "Put up thy sword." And then He put the ear back and healed that ear. I'm sure you have read that story. Say this often to yourself when you have that feeling of resentment, of hitting back: "Put up thy sword, put up thy sword!"
So God's way of getting the victory is always to overcome evil with good. This was the message of the Cross, and this is the way of the Cross, this is the only way evil can be defeated, this alone will reconcile you to that jarring personality, that one so unjust in their treatment, who taunts you.
This will bring you into fellowship with Him and it will win in the end the love of the very one that you can't get along with! This was God's way! He gave His Son for the sins of the World, but they beat Him and broke His body and pierced Him through.
But God took the very blood that they shed and flung it like a scarlet banner across the World and on it He wrote, "I love you. I have loved you with an everlasting Love." Amen. He's still on the Throne and prayer changes things.
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