Cheek to Cheek

Recently, I have been struggling with anger. Towards who, is not the important question here. The important question is what does God tell us to do? How do we react to it? How do we handle it? Our flesh and our spiritual man are two different identities in this equation. Which one do you follow? I don’t have all the answers yet. While I wish God would give me one swift answer – He hasn’t. And He won’t. He wants me to learn it for myself so I can apply it later in life and pass it along to others. If you think what we go through is only for us you are highly mistaken. Many times what we go through (minus free will) is for others… so we can know how to help that person. Imagine if we followed the script (the Bible) line by line and actually did what we were told to do – the influence we would have on others? Imagine the “brownie points” we would have with the Lord?! It doesn’t matter what the subject – finances, loving someone, encouragement, praying, stepping out, sharing our testimony… it all required obedience and He sees everything we choose to do or not do.

This week, I was reminded by the Lord of a few things. Last Friday in my prayer time He said, “Your blessings will continue to come as long as you are obedient.” Sunday morning’s service was all about finances. I knew that meant we were on the right path – but to keep going. Then He spoke to me early this week, “I will not take you out of here until you change your attitude. I have incurred this problem. You have to pass the test. I am watching.” As you can imagine the 2×4 was about as big as it could get. My own attitude had created a situation I wasn’t happy with at all… but for the Lord to tell me it is my own fault? Goodness, that took about a day to adjust to. So I dive into more prayer trying to fully understand His word. Yes, “attitude” is referencing my immediate tone with this situation but it also runs deeper. What I am beginning to discover is this: there is always a deeper reason for our actions besides what is on the surface. Not to sound like a psychologist – but it’s the truth. When I started to think about why I would have an attitude in this situation I realized I had deeper issues than I wanted to acknowledge. Now my flesh – here is me being brutally honest – doesn’t want to face “diving deeper”; however, God saying I have to pass the test and that He is watching makes me realize I don’t have a choice if I want to move forward. So where am I left? Angry, confused, feeling conquered, and often alone because it seems no one else could possibly be where I am. One day at a time is all I can take and unpeel one layer at a time and deal with it. I know, I know – I sound like a shrink – but it’s the truth. How can I deal with moving forward when I can’t even deal with my past? As hard as it is to be thankful in times of discomfort I am thankful God loves me enough to chastise me and reprimand me. He is my loving Father – enough to discipline His little girl.

SO… back to the original question. What to do when you are full of anger? God says love. And it’s hard! Everything I have read says to love. Not bite back – sabotage – speak badly against – but instead to turn another cheek. By turning another cheek God is showing us the power love has and He believes THAT is what changes people. Not money, wealth, status or any other worldly obtainable thing. Only love. This devotion I received today says it all… I can’t argue with the Word. I don’t necessarily care for it at the moment, haha, because I really don’t want to apply it. Again, brutal honesty. What is more frustrating is when you are starting to see people for who they might actually be and it’s not who you have convinced yourself they are. If you claim to have never been in this place you are lieing to yourself because if you have flesh on your bones you have been here.

44 “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, Most people believe in force: guns and armies. Most people believe in money: “financial power.” Many people believe in education, that “If we just educate people enough we can change the world.” Hardly anyone seems to believe in the power of love to change things. No one seems to think it would do any good to “turn the other cheek.”

Jesus didn’t tell us to “turn the other cheek” just so we could get beat up more. Jesus believes in the power of love. Jesus believes that evil can be overcome with good.

ROMANS 12:20-21 NKJ
20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

God still believes in the power of love. He believes that if you love enough, and for long enough, people will finally come to their senses and respond to that love.

JOHN 13:34-35 NIV
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Jesus said the mark of His believers would be their love. Where did we go wrong?

SAY THIS: Lord, help me to believe in love, and to act in love.


3 thoughts on “Cheek to Cheek

  1. I agree with your convictions on the power of love. In John 13 – 17–Jesus’ farewell discourse–Jesus said that if we love him, we will obey his command to love others as he has loved us (John 13:34 / 15:12), which will cause us to abide in him and bear much fruit. You may be interested in my book on Jesus’ command of love: The Lost Commandment: Have We Missed What Jesus Really Wants? (Kregel 2009).

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