Living on Mission as Subjects of the Kingdom of Relentless Love
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” (Matthew 5: 42-48 MSG)
In order to live out the instructions in our passage this week, we need to look at the way our Father operates. The way He operates can be summed up in one word: love.
The love of God is not a passive, come-and-get-it-if-you-feel-like-it kind of love. In fact, it could be described as aggressive. God pursues us – relentlessly! Think of the story Jesus told about the shepherd leaving 99 sheep to seek one that had gotten lost. Think of the father running to meet the prodigal son. Think of Jesus going out of His way to encounter the woman at the well. Think of Jesus coming in flesh and blood to save us all.
This is how WE can love! We can love those who are nice and those who are nasty. We can adopt the unwanted into our family. We can welcome the stranger. We can accept the unclean. We can embrace the wayward and confused. We can do these things because our Father does them. He has empowered us to do this by His Spirit. He has planted this love in our hearts.
Let’s practice Living on Mission and follow His example: living and loving relentlessly as subjects of His Kingdom.