Devotions from James Smith’s book, The Good and Beautiful Life

Jesus ways are so different from the ways of our world. Often people of this world feel vulnerable, impotent, and exposed. Their false narrative is that the only way to protect themselves is to use force.  But that does not produce lasting change but just more violence. The kingdom of God startles our enemies when we do what Jesus asks, to love our enemies and to return good for evil etc.  To love ( agapa) is to will the good of another but doesn’t mean we may FEEL love towards our enemy.  But we act for their good. When we hate our enemies we betray the God who loves his enemies.  Jesus responded by extending self-giving, nonresistant love. We need the power of Christ within us to do the same. “  This doesn’t happen overnight but over time.  The way of Christ in response to injury is the only way that leads to freedom and comfort even in trials that come to us through others.

“God is with us- so the need to retaliate is diminished. God has an endless supply of resources –so the need to hang on to possessions decreases. God is looking out for our needs- so we can take the time to go the extra mile. God is the real owner of all we have – so the need to hoard and protect it diminishes.   Kingdom identity (I am one in whom Christ dwells) and kingdom awareness ( I am in the strong and secure kingdom of God) are the keys to doing what Jesus calls us to do. Let us choose to live like Him!