“If we want to know what God is like, just follow Jesus through the Gospels.”*
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.
Living the Jesus Way means focusing beyond this life to what Jesus is accomplishing both in our lives and in the world. His way is caught as much as it is taught. When we experience someone living the Jesus Way, the Spirit says, “See? That’s how I want you to live.” He then sets us on an upward path, one that we walk with Him.
What is the Jesus Way? It is a way of living that demonstrates the love that the Heavenly Father has for us, and is explained in this passage,
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Jesus goes on to explain the reasoning behind the Jesus Way,
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High [fellow exhibitors of His love], because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful [Romans 11:32, Ephesians 2:4]. Luke 6:27-36
Jesus contrasts the love the world has with the love that God demonstrates to us. The love of the world is nothing special. Even a murderer can love his best friend. What’s special about that? But, as followers of Jesus, we are called to demonstrate the amazing, unprecedented, unexpected, over-the-top kind of love that Jesus has lavished upon us.
Why? For two reasons: First, we are called to love so that even the most evil person can experience the undeserved kindness and mercy of God [through us]. Secondly, we love because loving others teaches you and I how to die to ourselves and become more like Jesus every day.
See, the command that Jesus gives us to love our enemies is intended not only to change the hearts of sinners, but to change our own hearts as well.
We cannot love like Jesus loves on our own. The only way we can follow Jesus and obey His command to love those who are trying to harm us is if we take up our cross daily, die to ourselves, throw ourselves completely at His feet, and beg to be filled with His love for our enemies. It just won’t work any other way.
As Jesus reminds us, “Apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).**
Responding in love rather than reacting in fear, anger, outrage, sarcasm, disdain, or any other negative emotion is the Jesus Way.
Abba, please help us to see with Your eyes and to hear with Your ears. Give us Your heart so that we might share Your love with people who need it, even our enemies–especially our enemies! Amen.
**Keith Giles, “Jesus Untangled,” pages 100-101