Jesus knew where He had come from and where He was going. This freed Him to be willing to stoop, to serve, and to even lay down His life. He knew perfectly well that He would be sitting beside His Father in heaven in a short while. John explains this in chapter 13, which describes the Last Supper, to assure us that although Jesus suffered greatly, He knew great glory awaited Him.
But can’t we also say the same thing?
We cannot lose!
The incredible truth of our secure destiny with God should liberate us to be utterly fearless in our willingness to love even our enemies – and even at our own cost.
There are some twisted people who are so committed to their religion that they will kill for it. But we are led by a matchless Messiah who never harmed a soul and was even willing to die for his enemies – the very opposite. As we follow Jesus, are we willing to follow in his footsteps of self-sacrificial love? Martyrs for Jesus don’t kill, but offer life, even to their murderers. As Jim Elliot bravely and correctly said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
We are destined for a glorious eternity with our loving Father God. Our enemies, on the other hand, are perishing, and we are commanded to love them and to pray for them.
We should not underestimate the power of prayer.
It is no small, weak or feeble thing to come before God’s throne and intercede for our enemies. It is right in line with God’s will and God is more powerful to act and to save than we could ever imagine. We simply have no idea how many God will save in direct response to our prayers.
Here is what Romans 12:9-21 lays out as the way we are to conduct ourselves. Remember, these instructions were given to the first generation of disciples who were regularly beaten, imprisoned and murdered for their faith.
How to overcome evil according to Romans 12:
- Let love be genuine.
- Abhor what is evil.
- Hold fast to what is good.
- Love one another with brotherly affection.
- Outdo one another in showing honor.
- Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
- Rejoice in hope.
- Be patient in tribulation.
- Be constant in prayer.
- Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
- Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
- Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
- Live in harmony with one another.
- Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.
- Never be wise in your own sight.
- Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
- If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
- Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
- To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.