Turn The Tables On Satan
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you..." Matthew 5:44 Love them? Bless them? Pray for them? Don't you understand what he/she did to me? ...Oh yes, he understands. This is the high call of God to live in a righteousness not possible to the fallen human nature. The Lord is asking what seems impossible. Don't think he doesn't know how deeply hurts can overcome us. He knows. But he wants to show you your inability to do, or even to be, what he requires. He wants to show you just how fallen your human nature is. The hurts from friends or family will show you your true condition as it manifests in your anger, your self-justification, your desire for revenge, your pride, all of which are normal reactions in the fallen nature. If you truly want to follow Jesus, you have to start here, acknowledging your fallen state and your inability to live as he is prescribing in this passage. If we know that what he asks is impossible, then we understand that the only way to do it is to go to him, confess our inability, our anger, our self-pity, our self-justification, our pride, our desire for revenge, and ASK for the grace, the enabling, the ability, to forgive from the heart. You CANNOT do it in your own strength, but with his enabling you can do anything he desires of you. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13 There is another facet to this as well. In my life, this is one way the Lord makes me aware of someone who needs prayer. Just as he says that the right response to a hurt is to pray for that person, I recognize a hurt or an insult as his signal to pray for a person who perhaps desperately needs prayer. To be able to do it with a pure heart, first we need to understand that our battle is not with flesh and blood. We're not fighting people, we're coming against Satan who causes the trouble, using people against us. "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 What does that mean? It means that behind all evil is the demonic realm headed by Satan. In his hatred for us, he causes people to reject us, to hurt us, to spitefully use us. If you are born again, you are an enemy to Satan and he absolutely will turn people against you. But once you understand that, THEN you can separate the human source from the demonic source and understand the plot when he causes someone to hurt you. It's Satan, not the person he uses. THEREFORE, we can overcome as we choose the way Jesus has showed us to react. THEREFORE we can pray for someone who desperately needs prayer, as we put the blame on Satan who caused someone to hurt us. Pray for those who "spitefully use you." Pray for them. This is how we turn the tables on Satan, we take what he does against us and we turn it to good. Be aware that if a person is hateful to you, it's not just you - he's most likely hateful to others. This person needs prayer and by obeying the words of Jesus, you may be the only person on the earth praying for that hateful one. Oh HOW that person needs prayer! Use this opportunity, this signal, don't react in the fallen nature, take it as God's alert to you that this person needs prayer and pray for him/her with all your heart. Consider fasting for him/her. You will be amazed at how this changes things! Obedience always brings blessing. You'll be spared the hatred Satan intended for you, and you will be filled with the love of God and the peace which Jesus intends for you. What a victory!