Friday, December 26, 2014

The Last One Standing

There is a belief that says the last person standing wins the prize. In personal conflicts empowered by positional dominance people must be cut down through the unrighteous use of power in order to gain and maintain position.  The victor in these conflicts will eventually arrive at a lonely place reserved for those who have pursued this false form of abusive victory. When Jesus spoke during the Sermon on the Mount, He revealed a greater victory. This victory only exists on the other side of our letting go of the need to rule other people.

Jesus offered us a completely different way to live. He said if someone wants your coat give him your shirt also. If someone in authority demands that you carry a coat for a single mile carry it for two. He revealed other ways to live like praying for your enemy and loving those who hate you and treating other people like you want to be treated. None of the things Jesus spoke about will get you to the top of the cultural heap or help you become the last one standing when engaged in relational combat. But if you choose His way the outcome of the battle will dramatically change.

Once you choose to give up your demand to have the last word and the need to occupy the top of the heap you will be taken to a safe and secure place within the heart of God while the battle rages.  In this safe place the Lord will minister to your soul healing you from the need to win each human conflict.

When the natural battle is over, the Lord will call you out onto the battlefield now littered with human brokenness. At this point, you may be the last person standing in a marriage, a business or a community of faith. The Lord will ask you to reach down and extend mercy to the very people who, by their own definition, do not feel like they deserve your mercy because of how they treated you.  

In God’s Kingdom only the humble in heart carry the strength required to help others rise up after personal failure.  Extending a hand of mercy to a former combatant is one of the highest callings a believer can experience. Jesus came and extended the hand of God to us while we were still sinners and enemies of the Cross. His example is ours - not our will, but His will be done.

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