LIVING ON THE HIGH GROUND
charles e whisnant, pastor/teacher/student of the word
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
You may be thinking, “Now wait a minute! Do you mean when somebody, even in the body of Christ, treats me like dirt, I am supposed to say something good about them? That is a lie.” Yeah, it sure is. And God is not telling you to lie about them.
What does it mean to bless somebody, to speak well of somebody?
REVIEW FROM ROMANS 12:9-13 Paul first of all, the general look at this matter of practical Christian living from verse 9 through 21
Main Idea: When someone you know is mean to you, for any reason, it is not a normal reaction to pray for blessings over their life. Even adults struggle with being kind to those who are unkind to us. God asks us to live this way because we are called to live differently than those who don’t believe in Christ. By living in such a dramatically kind and loving way, we are showing the world how God loves them!
2} When someone is rude or mean to you, how do you normally react? What would it look like if you reacted the way this verse is suggesting?
3} How can praying for an enemy change the way you feel about them?
4} If a friend hurts your feelings by saying or doing something that is hurtful or thoughtless, what would the correct response look or sound like?
5} If you have a friend or family member who is mean to you all the time, should you keep being their friend? Why or why not? What do you think this verse is encouraging?
6} How would living this way change your friendships and other relationships?
Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (NASB:
Bless them which persecute you; bless, and curse not. kjv
Greek: eulogeite tous diokontas [humas], eulogeite kai me katarasthe. )
Amplified: Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them (Amplified Bible – Lockman)
NLT: If people persecute you because you are a Christian, don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. (NLT – Tyndale House)
Phillips: … as for those who try to make your life a misery, bless them. Don’t curse, bless. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Be constantly blessing those who are constantly persecuting you; be blessing and stop cursing.
Young’s Literal: Bless those persecuting you; bless, and curse not;
BLESS THOSE WHO (continually) PERSECUTE YOU: eulogeitetous diokontas (humas):
- (Romans 12:21; Job 31:29,30; Matthew 5:44, 48, Luke 6:28; 23:34; Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 4:12,13; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; James 3:10; 1 Peter 2:21-23; 3:9) Matthew 5:44, 48; Luke 6:28, 23:34
SURRENDER ENABLES SPIRIT FILLED SUPERNATURAL OBEDIENCE
Bless (2127) means speak good or well. When eulogeo is used by men toward men it means to speak well of with praise and thanksgiving . Can be from men to God, from men to men, and from God to men. When God blesses men He grants them favor and confers happiness upon them.
1. Pursue hospitality toward the brethren as the wicked pursue them.
2. First, love speaks well of its persecutors.
That is getting right down to where the rubber meets the road, isn’t it? That means you don’t go around badmouthing people who are not nice to you. You don’t run them down or speak harshly about them to others, but you speak well of them. You find something that you can approve, and you say so to others. That is a tough one.
I confess that that is not my natural reaction. When somebody persecutes me, I persecute back! At least I want to. But this is what the Word tells us we don’t need to do and we should not do.
3. It means to even invoke God’s blessing upon them. This is not our NATURAL reaction to those who persecute us, but instead calls for a SUPERNATURAL response, a response which imitates our Lord Jesus facing the ultimate “persecution” on Calvary
(1Cor 11:1, Lk 23:34, cp a Spirit filled Stephen’s response even as the rocks were hitting him!
See Acts 7:55, 59, 60 and compare Acts 6:3, 5, 10!). God’s commandments always include his entanglements – beloved of the Father, we can ONLY obey this command as we yield to and are filled by His Spirit and walk by His Spirit, for ONLY THEN will we be enabled to NOT fulfill the desires of the flesh, which are desires for revenge rather than blessing! (Memorize one of the most important verses in the New Testament — and ask God to enable you to live it out in “shoe leather” Christianity! = Gal 5:16
Now you know, if you didn’t understand Romans 1-11, you can’t understand this.
In Romans 8 we know why we can do this. …Because God is causing all things, even those people who bring us grief, to work together for good to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. You see, you have got to have the first 11 chapters of Romans to even begin to understand chapters 12 through 16.
Everything in chapters 12 through 16 hinges on what we have already studied in Romans. God is in charge. He even uses the persecution. To do what? To drive us to the end of ourselves. Why? Because Romans 8:29 says that we might be conformed into the image of Christ Jesus. So the pain and all the things that we go through in this quarry, in this school, in this workshop down here on this earth are all tools that God is using to chip off and to hone and to make us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. It drives us to the end of ourselves where we learn to decrease and then He is able to increase in our life. That is what life is all about.
So as a believer, when it comes, back off and say,”God, I don’t know what you are doing in this, but thank you that you are in control of it and I am not about to wish evil upon this person. I want them to know the same God I know and trust and walk with day by day.”