Jesus said, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (John 7:37, 38) He also said, “…Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44)
Peter preached that believers who have been grieved by various trials should rejoice (1 Peter 1:6) and abstain from passions of the flesh like anger and revenge (1Peter 2:11-12). “But… suffer for righteousness’ sake …in your hearts honor Christ as Lord …with gentleness and respect, have a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:14-17) Paul wrote, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” (Romans 12:14)
Most people live with an imaginary entitlement to self-expression, which is outside the Christian calling. Living as a child of God requires a believer to fully accept Him as Father, learn His Word, and live it. This means yielding one’s life to be in fellowship with Him.
Christ called believers to observe the standard rule of Christian mercy, the very opposite of retaliation. A natural man is like a rock, hard and standing alone; when struck, he brings forth bitter water. But when a child of God is struck, he brings forth sweet water, as a fountain of living water. Resting in Christ, one learns how to overcome hurt and resentment of others’ words, anger, insult, and aggravation.
Before a person can be a blessing to anyone, he or she must be set free from selfishness. A child of God is to be the same as Christ, who lived patiently in tribulations – not in milk toast pacifism, but with an internal strength of the Holy Spirit. When he prayed for God to bless His persecutors, Jesus did not mean for the Lord to bless their evil ways, but to deal with their foolishness by the judgment of the Holy Spirit and to manifest His mercy and grace, so that they might see their sin, repent, trust Him for salvation, learn His promises, and live in love.
Choate Baptist Church welcomes you to join them for Sunday School at 9:45 a.m., Sunday Morning Worship at 11 a.m., and Sunday Evening Worship at 7 p.m. They also meet for prayer on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Brother Odom’s message can be heard on KAML 990 AM and KCAF 92.1 FM each Sunday morning at 8:30.