Verse of the Day for February 8, 2016 comes from Matthew 5:43-45 (KJV):
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
This passage of scripture is taken from the “Sermon on the Mount,” which some scholars maintain is really the “Sermon on the Plain.” Part of that celebrated sermon includes exhortations as to how the followers of Jesus Christ should behave. The first part of Matthew 5 includes the “Beatitudes” which form a series of eight declarations that begin with the word “blessed.” Translated from the Greek word, makarios, “blessed” refers to a state of spiritual well-being and prosperity, expressing deep joy and fulfillment of the soul. The word has been translated, happy, fortunate, favored.
The following excerpt from a scripture memory song speaks of the introductory passage from Matthew 5 in this way:
The Beatitudes Are the “Be Attitudes”
The Beatitudes are the “Be Attitudes.”
They help us to see. They help us to be
All that God wants us to be.
We will be blessed and be a blessing in return
When we learn to follow the “Be Attitudes.”
Following this specific introduction, Jesus continues to instruct followers as to how they should behave, contrasting what has been previously considered as acceptable behavior with a new approach, a new attitude, that the Savior offers.
Instead of only loving those who are close to you, followers are to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” As the children of God, believers are to conduct themselves in the same way that their Father does. Since God is no respecter of persons, and He “makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust,” followers should live their lives in the same manner.
A previous blog entry based on Ephesians 5:1 encouraged believers to be “followers of God” or imitators of their father and to walk in love as dear children. Indeed, to walk in love is the more excellent way. The following is an excerpt from that entry:
The Amplified Bible puts it this way:
Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; 2 and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.
As believers we are to be imitators or mimics of God, our Father. In a similar manner to a young boy who wants to walk in his father’s shoes and wear his father’s hat, we are to be followers of God. Our lives are to be filled to overflowing with love. Our lives should be a reflection of the saying, “Like father, like son.”
We can thus, follow Christ’s example, as we offer our lives as sacrificial expression of our devotion to God.
Here is a poetic expression that also reminds us of how we should conduct our lives:
Walk in Love: Our Best Defense
Don’t bite the bait,
Don’t take offense.
Walk in the love of Jesus Christ.
It’s your best defense.
Scripture Memory Song
Always attacking, the Accuser stalks his prey,
Relentless in maligning Saints, both night and day.
Fiery darts of wicked words hurled in endless assaults
Reflect his evil deeds to magnify our faults.
He sets the traps, lures of the Spirit of Offense.
To counteract, we walk in love, our best defense.
He tries to trip us up, to be a stumbling block,
But we are ever vigilant around the clock.
Although we strive to reach the highest good,
Our motives are questioned; we are misunderstood.
Despite life’s challenges, we seek to rise above.
Though deeply wounded when betrayed, we still walk in love.
The thief comes to offend, falsely accuse and betray,
But we conquer through Christ, each time we trust and obey.
We close with this musical reminder urging us to “Love Your Enemies”: