The Stronghearted – part 2

IN MY LAST POST, we explored what it means to have a strong heart.

Now, I imagine what God might want from the stronghearted.

The process of strengthening your heart is lifelong. It’s a constant work out. Jesus is your personal trainer.

As you get stronger, you not only take the pain you see, but you give life and love in return. This goes against the grain. The natural instinct is to avoid pain. Still, even animals will risk their lives for the pack or offspring.

Now the hard part.

We know the Lord told us to love our enemies. All animals, and most men, will never do this. Only a miracle can make this happen, so pray for it.

But what about those you simply would rather avoid? Can we even love them?The annoying neighbor. The unbearable church member. The homeless person who looks and smells terrible. What about those who take advantage of your goodness?

And the person who blasphemes against God? The outspoken atheist, the pagan, the vulgar, the corrupt?

How does the strongheart react to these people?

The culture wars get noisier every day. Half truths and insincerity grow like thick weeds. We love it when they smack down those who disagree with us, especially in terms of faith and morals.

And thus, we become the weak-hearted pharisee. Instead of God’s laws guiding us, we use them as a form of control.

I don’t care if the other is a raging pro-abortion activist. I don’t care if it’s a family member that brings misery to us. I don’t care if it’s a person flaunting their life of sin in the most offensive way.

The strong heart loves them. All.

Now don’t get me wrong. These people can bother me intensely. I do not like them.

But the Lord commands me to love them. So I must try.

No. Wait. That’s not it.

I can’t try as I know I will fail. I can only ask God to allow me this grace. On my own, it’s fake.

Satan wants me to hoist a self-serving flag of justice while condemnation consumes my heart. Yes, we must defend and protect what is right. But check your heart. Is it weak? How pure are your motives? Is the stain of death there?

Whose soul is not worth saving? Did God give me the authority to decide?

This isn’t about immigration, walls or trade wars. This is about the battle that rages in the human heart. Deep down, we want to decide who should be saved. Please, check your Christian appearances at the door.  In the presence of God we are all naked and ashamed. We have all sinned and judged wrong.

I have no right. You have no right. You can stand up for a cause and fight bravely — but be careful as it may cost you your soul.

This is not some sappy, fake, progressive, globalist call to equality and open borders for all. I’m well aware that radical extremists in the Middle East would be happy to rape your woman and cut off your head.

This is not a political statement. This is a spiritual war cry. I could care less about presidents and governments. Yes, I read the news. I am aware. I act.

But I follow only ONE MAN.

I seek the radical love of a Savior hung on a cross. Not for my virtues — but for my miseries.

Divine love has no favorites. It’s a gift offered to everyone. Do I withhold the gift? Do I say, “Of course, if they accept Jesus, then I’ll like them just fine.”

There is so much of this in Christian circles these days. It’s sickening and sad.

Jesus did not wait for me to accept him. He bled and died first. He loved first.

The stronghearted loves first. Then waits for God’s grace to act. And HIS harvest is abundant.

To many times we want it the other way. I’ll love you later. But agree with what I say and believe first.  I desire good conduct, not a change of heart. This is the way of the world.

The way of God is Christ. Seek his way. Even if a million never listen.

It’s not a fight about issues that counts. It the battle over souls.

Even if you pray for and lovingly serve a multitude… and they all perish from their sin…

Love them all. Only the strong heart can do this.

Look deep. Deep into your heart. What do you see?

When someone disagrees with or hurts you — think of the politician or a person who drives you crazy.

Do you love them?

You might say, “Well, I’m not Jesus. I can’t.”

But as a Christian, you can and you must. You are part of the Body of Christ.

We wonder why people are not attracted to the Christian faith these days. It’s because we  make the same mistake that the killers of Christ made. We present a list of rules to follow and doctrines to believe in instead of believing in and showing the SON OF MAN.

Stop being fake. Stop presenting the Gospel in this lifeless way.

The life of the Son of God was given for me. Did I deserve it?

Go. Give your life. For the sinner. Like Christ did.

Many will respond with hate and tempt you to hate back. Instead, love them even more intensely. Impossible? Only if you try alone. So go to church. Be in Communion with the Body. Dedicate time to prayer and the Word.

Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange was happening. Rejoice as you share Christ’s sufferings. 

(from 1 Peter 4)

Seek the presence of the Lord.

Then your love becomes a divine, indestructible force. The Spirit of God works in you. And souls will be saved.

Be stronghearted. Do this and glorify God.

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…

For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 

You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

(from Matthew 5)

READ PART 3 OF THE STRONGHEARTED SERIES

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