Do Unto Others

Christians have a wonderful ‘Golden Rule’ that prompts us to fulfil the second greatest commandment. Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to Love Our Neighbour as Ourself.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39

Jesus also gave us what we call the Golden Rule, when He instructed His disciples to do to others what we would wish others to do to us.

“Whatever you wish that men would do to you, you do even the same to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12

Human nature has an opposite form of the ‘Do Unto Others’ rule. Instead of calling us to do to others what we want them to do to us, our human nature would rather repay others for the hurtful things we feel they have done to us.

Vengeance runs deep in the veins of human nature. It is an instinct often seen in young children, so it’s hardly a learned process, but more an expression of the fallen human nature.

We react to others with a retort, vengeance, spite, retaliation, rejoicing in their ills and so on. This is the opposite of treating people the way we would wish to be treated. The selfish ‘Do Unto Others’ is the spiteful ‘I will make you suffer because of what you did to me.’

Think of the things you may have heard people say when they have been upset.

“If that’s the way you feel about it you can forget about getting any support from me!”

“How dare you say that!”

“I’ll show you.”

What is interesting in this rather natural vengeance reaction is that people often to do others the very thing they would accuse the other of doing to them. If someone is angry to them, they will be angry back. If someone shows lack of care toward them they show lack of care in return.

Yet, even though they have done the same thing they didn’t want done to them they will blame the other for what they did, on the basis “You did it first!”

This is hypocrisy, yet we excuse it when we are driven by our own self interest.

So we end up with silly situations like these:

“My spouse treats me poorly so I just ignore him (or her) and make them suffer!”

“My children don’t respect me or appreciate me so I don’t do anything for them any more.”

“My work associates try to get one up on me, so I am delighted when I can get one up on them.”

“She never was a very good wife so she deserves what she got!”

We are really poor at suffering wrong and blessing those who offend us, or are our enemies. Yet that is what Christ asks us to do.

“To those of you who will listen I say, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27,28

We are also told that it is not our place to punish people for the evil they do, even if they do it to us. Vengeance belongs to God not to us. We are not given the authority to take revenge, act in spite or pay people back for what they have done.

“Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot will slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.” Deuteronomy 32:35

“Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

When you ‘Do Unto Others’ is it doing to others what you want them to do to you, or is it the doing of retaliation and spite? Do you bless or are you into ‘payback’?

As someone who belongs to Christ your heart is not to be one of spite and retaliation.

To those of you who have a heart of spite toward your spouse, family members or others, I challenge you to check your heart. You are acting like an unregenerate heathen, and not like Christ, who brings grace, and you are not following the instruction of Christ, and you are taking on yourself a privilege that belongs to God. Instead you are to love those you currently feel bad feelings toward.

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against any of your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:18

Friends, it’s time to stop and take account of how you Do Unto Others.

Remove the Toe-Hold

Years ago, while trying to explain to someone how the devil can get a grip on our lives, I came up with an analogy that seems to be helpful. I used this in the last few days to assist a young person to understand their situation, so I’m sharing it with you, in the hope it is helpful.

I have often seen trees with a sleeve of smooth metal wrapped around them, so possums and other climbing animals can’t get up the tree. The unwanted animals can’t get a grip or a toe hold, so they slip off the tree trunk.

Our lives are like that tall tree trunk. If there are many indents in the tree trunk it is easy for things to cling to our life. If the enemy finds toe holds in our life then the enemy can cling to us. Such things as fear, anger, hurts, shame, jealousy and the like, can stick to our life and seem to be unshakable.

One of the ways to deal with those things is to remove the toe hold. 

So imagine there is a tree with smooth, shiny skin and no toe holds. It is safe from the climbing animals. But if a truck was to drive too close to the tree and scratch large gashes into to skin of the tree, then there are places for creatures to grip our life.

Similarly, when our life is scratched up by things that hurt us, or make us afraid, or stir up wrong responses inside us, like jealousy, hatred, lust or the like, then toe holds are scratched into our life and the enemy can jump on and hold on tight.

For the tree to be free from the climbing things it would need healing of its skin, making it shiny and slippery again. In our case we need Jesus to heal us from those scratches, hurts and damaging experiences, so we can be restored to a shiny surface that does not allow the enemy to keep grip in our lives.

There is a godly way to respond to nasty things that happen to us. We are to keep a humble heart and repent of anything we did to bring the problem into our life.

We are also to forgive all those who offend us, no matter how nasty they were to us.

We then need to make a spiritual break with the evil that scratched up our life, and any evil that seems to want to come out from inside us.

Let me explain that point more clearly. You may be offended and insulted by a stranger. Maybe that offender is angry and aggressive and speaking abusive language. They look at you and say some horrible things, with aggressive tone and vile language.

You are offended and hurt, scratched and wounded by what they did.

To completely clear up this experience, so the enemy can’t get hold of it, you need to be sure you didn’t do anything to bring that problem onto you. You may have been an innocent victim, but you might also have seen the offender and spoken something to rebuke him, causing him to target you with his abuse. Or you may have looked scornfully at him. If you have done anything to prompt the problem you need to be forgiven for that before you try to fix the problem.

You could pray, “Lord, I have been offended. If I have done anything to cause this attack on me please forgive me. I repent of all attitudes, thoughts and actions that I may have had that opened me up for this offence.”

You then need to forgive the one who offended you. “Lord, I forgive that person for what they said and did to me and all the hurt and pain they caused me.”

Next you need to break from the evil they dumped on you, and the evil that seemed to come up from inside you. They dumped on you their aggression, vile language, hurtful words, insults and anger. So, what came out from inside you in response?

Did you respond by cursing them, or being aggressive in return, or by threatening them?

Even if you didn’t respond outwardly was there an internal response? Did you decide to despise and distrust people who were like them (males, or from their nationality, or people in their social standing)? Did you respond with inferiority, shame, resentment, bitterness, hatred, vengeance or anything else that offends God?

As I said earlier, you need to break from the evil they put on you and the evil that comes from inside you. So you might pray something like, “Lord, I now break off the evil that came from that experience, including all the evil they put onto me, such as their anger, aggression and vile language. And I repent of and break off all the evil that came up inside me, of resentment, despisement, anger, retaliation, (name all the things that you responded with).”

The next thing to do is to give all the hurt and damage of the experience to God, which is putting our cares and concerns onto Him, instead of carrying them ourselves.

“Dump all your worries and cares on God, for he cares for you.” 1Peter 5:7

You might pray, “Lord I give you all these hurts and issues in my life. I dump them on You because You love me and only You can take them out of my life.”

The process I have outlined is like a legal process for getting rid of toe holds. Once you have carefully covered each of those points the next thing to do is to resist the devil, telling the problem that has attached itself to you to get out of your life. You might pray something like, “In the name of Jesus, the Christ, I speak to the problem in my life (name it, such as fear, shame, evil thoughts, etc) and I command it to go in Jesus’ name. Get out of my mind, my emotions, my body and my whole life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
“Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

I also encourage you to find Christians who have strong faith in God to join you in prayer, agreeing with you and praying for you to complete the process of setting you free.

What should result from that is the healing of the scratches and dents in your life, so the devil no longer has a Toe Hold in your life.

I have found for some people that repeating the process is needed, especially when the hurts and offences have been very deep or repeated over time. Allow God to prompt you to anything you left out of any part of the praying process.

God bless you as you put these suggestions into practice in your life.

Jesus is the Way, by Ps Chris Field

Jesus declared that He is the Way, as well as the Truth and the Life.

“Jesus answered, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

That verse is often used to point to Jesus as the way to God. No-one can come to God except through Jesus.

While reflecting on God making a way in the wilderness, creating a way where there is no way, I thought this truth fitted in with that.

“Behold, I am doing something new! Now it springs into being; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

The Children of Israel show God’s ability to make a way through the wilderness. God led them into an uninhabited waste land. They were forty years in that wilderness and in that time God led them from place to place and met their needs.

The wilderness was a deadly place, due to heat in the day and cold at night, plus wild animals, lack of food and water and no clear path through.

God solved all of those problems by providing a cloud that gave shade in the day and light and warmth at night, and bringing them water out of the rock and special manna food on the ground each morning. God also led them by the cloud, as it lifted up and moved, guiding them to their next camping place.

God not only guided their directions but made the very journey possible, by providing for all the needs along the way, for four decades. There were multitudes of people born in the wilderness, whose only experience of ‘normal’ was a continued stream of daily miracles.

So when God says He makes a ‘way’, He means much more than just digging an escape route, opening a door, or showing a goat track through the trees. God’s ‘way’ involved all the provision for making the journey, continually, until the destination was finally achieved.

With that perspective in mind, let’s look again at what Jesus said about Himself. Jesus said “I am the Way”. That means, of course, that Jesus is the direction and the means for us entering relationship with God as God’s children, with God as our Father and Saviour.

Yet, with the wilderness wanderings in mind, God’s ‘way’ includes all the provision you need for the journey.

Jesus is your ‘way’, the miracle provision needed for you to make the entire journey from the day of your salvation to your final arrival in heaven’s glory.

The ‘way’ in the wilderness involved opening the Red Sea, water from the rock, flocks of birds landing around the camp and victory over the Amelekites. So the ‘way’ was not just the map showing a route, but God’s abiding presence to accompany the people on their journey.

When Jesus says “I am the Way” He declares He is your sustainer on the journey from this moment until you reach His heavenly home.

The Apostle Peter gave a summary of the all-encompassing provision we have through Christ as our ‘way’.

“God’s divine power granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he granted us his precious and very great promises, so through them you may partake of the divine nature, having escaped corruption that is in the world due to lust.” 2Peter 1:2-4

Christ provides us “all things that pertain to life and godliness”. 

‘Life’ includes your natural existence, including all things relevant to that life, such as health, marriage, provision, safety, purpose and blessing.

‘Godliness’ includes all that makes you a child of God. It includes all the forgiveness, wisdom, guidance, correction, discipline, protection, fellowship, anointing and grace you need to live a thoroughly effective Christian life in God’s Kingdom as God’s effective servant.

So Christ as our ‘way’ brings to us ‘all things’ we need for the journey, both in natural matters of this life, and spiritual matters of our life as God’s child.

God can make a way when no way can be found. You will never be stuck, because it is God who creates the way, even in a wilderness where there is no road to follow. God can make a way through an impenetrable barrier, like the Red Sea.

The children of Israel saw the Egyptian army coming after them and squealed in fear.

“The children of Israel saw the Egyptians marched after them and were terrified. They cried out to the Lord.” Exodus 14:10

They could not see a ‘way’ because there was no way to see. There was no way out. Or, correctly, there was no visible way out. God created the way out right before their eyes, by opening the Red Sea so they could pass through.

You too will be in situations where there just isn’t a way out. Or, correctly, there is no visible way out. God can create a way out right before your eyes, by opening something that can’t be opened.

The son of friends was attacked by a vicious gang many years ago. He was alone and helpless. The gang kicked and hit him violently, seemingly intent on killing him. There was no way out and nothing he could do. Suddenly a car sped up with the passenger door open as a man shouted to the youth to get in. The boy stumbled to his feet and ran into the car which pulled away with the gang in pursuit. A ‘way’ was opened up for that boy, when there was no way.

I don’t know how God will provide a ‘way’ for you, except to say “Jesus is the Way”!

Every situation you face, every locked door you are staring at, every ‘end of the road’ problem can be presented to Jesus. You can ‘call on the name of the Lord’.

“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

Jesus is your Rock and the name of the Lord is your strong and mighty tower. And, no matter how bad things look, “Jesus is the Way”.

Now is the Time

Motivators like to stir us up about what we need to do ‘now’! This moment is the most powerful moment in your life, since you have control of it right now and can direct it as you please.

That relates to physical or external things, such as getting a task done, making a choice, finishing something, saying something, and taking an action step that will lead to an outcome.

Doing it ‘now’ also relates to our inner life, such as choosing now what we will believe, or to forgive, or to change our heart attitude about something.

This moment is the moment you have control over. Yesterday has passed and tomorrow is out of reach. But right now you can take action, in outward expression or in inner decision. So this ‘now’ moment is always very powerful, if we stop and take notice of it.

The Bible celebrates the word ‘now’ and the word ‘today’ in a number of places.

“Take notice, now is the accepted time; take notice, now is the day of salvation.” 2Corinthians 6:2

“The hour is coming, and now is, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers.” John 4:23

“You once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1Peter 2:10

“While it is said, Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” Hebrews 3:15

“Now the just shall live by faith” Hebrews 10:38

“Now are we the sons of God” 1John 3:2

“Exhort one another daily, while it is called Today” Hebrews 3:13

You can see from those verses, and that’s not an exhaustive list, there are many things we are to engage with ‘now’, including acting in faith, worshipping God, being saved, receiving God’s mercy, enjoying being God’s children and exhorting one another.

So, let me exhort you for a moment about whatever you are facing right now.

There are things you need to do practically, and you have this very moment to get to them. You may have put them off or simply forgotten about them, but you have this wonderful ‘now’ moment to do them.

Maybe there is something to be cleaned up, finished off, started, worked on or packed away. Maybe there is someone to call, a message to write, a prayer to pray, an apology to give, someone to forgive, something borrowed to return, a word of encouragement to say, a thank you to send, an “I Love You” to speak.

Maybe there is a chair to get out of, a habit to put aside, a few steps to take to get you into the garden, or a short drive to connect you with someone or something that needs your attention.

If you let this moment pass and stay where you are doing what you are doing then this ‘now’ moment will move on and be wasted.

Maybe there are some things to settle inside you. Choose right now to declare and settle some key choices inside you.

“I believe God exists and I am accountable to Him for all I do and say. I believe God loves me and wants me to be His child for eternity. I believe God sent His son, Jesus, to live and die for my sins, and to rise again and conquer death and sin. I put my faith in Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.”

“I choose to believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and I put my trust in all I find in the Bible. I choose to believe God is on my side and rejoices when I step out in faith in Him. I choose to put off all the world’s ideas that attack faith in God and the Bible, whether they are scientific, philosophical, cultural, religious or political.”

“I reject depression and discouragement, since God loves me and is on my side. I reject fear of failure, since God is with me and is pleased whether I achieve or not. I reject religious enslavements, since I have been called to faith, not religious form. I reject sin habits, since I have been made holy by my holy God and through the power of the Holy Spirit. I reject pride, since I totally rely on God for anything that is of lasting value. I reject greed and lust, since it is not things and experiences that bless me, but being close to God that fulfils me.”

“I dedicate myself to serve God, helping others, blessing the needy, sharing what I have, caring and praying for others, even if they hate and abuse me. I dedicate myself to building God’s kingdom and encouraging those who are fruitfully working for God.”

“I cherish this precious moment and I use it to glorify God, express my faith in God, enjoy God’s salvation, be thankful, humble myself, and stop wasting my life, stepping up to get things done that will give glory to God and bless others.”

This ‘now’ moment is yours. What are you going to do with it?

This Is The Day

God’s mercies are new every morning, so today is a special day. 

“Because of the Lord’s loving devotion we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22,23
Despite whatever has gone before today and whatever may be waiting for you tomorrow, today is the day.

“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

You can rejoice in this day because you lived to see it; and because God is with you in this day; and because God made this day for you.

This is also the first day of the rest of your life. This can be the day when you make a change for the better that you will celebrate for decades to come.

There are things I have added to my life or tweaked in my lifestyle that became long term habits for my good. That includes changes in diet, reading more of the Bible each day and praying longer, making more frequent contact with family and friends, humbling myself and dealing with things I have put off, starting daily or weekly routines to harvest my talents or earn more income, altering my sleep habits, getting back in touch with lost contacts, going back over things that are incomplete and deciding what to do with them, starting new projects, auditing my life and making adjustments.

Each of those things were started on a ‘today’ that God gave me. They happened because I took possession of a ‘today’, a day that the Lord had made, a day when I would take action and step into something new.

Today is that precious gift you didn’t have yesterday. You have a limited amount of time today, but that time is a gift to you, for you to harvest or waste.

However, before I guilt-trip you into flagellating yourself for wasting time, this may be the day you need to ‘come aside and rest’ (Mark 6:31) as Jesus told His disciples to do when things were quite hectic.

I like the way that verse is translated in the King James translation,
“And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” Mark 6:31

I joke that for some very driven people the only way they will ‘rest a while’ is to ‘come apart’ – coming apart at the seams.

So maybe the gift of today is for you to truly rest and cast all your cares on the Lord.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1Peter 5:7

The most important thing you can do today is to locate and to express your faith in God. Think of the things that weigh on you today, in terms of things that have to be done, or problems that are heavy on your heart or mind, or dreams you see crumbling, or the like, and give those problems and cares to God. Then trust Him. Obey His promptings. Declare that you have confidence God has everything under control and determine to wait on Him, rather than be anxious or fearful. People who are right with God live every day in that kind of faith.

“In the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed from one moment of faith to another, as it is written, The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17

Today is God’s gift to you and it may be a used for many different purposes. It may be for you to start something new, or get back to something you’ve neglected, or to rest in the Lord, trusting Him to have everything in control for you. It is certainly a day for you to live out in total faith in God in every situation.

Take some time to ask God what He wants you to do with this precious ‘today’.
This is His day, made by Him, but given to you. Ask Him how you can most wisely use this day for His glory, because ‘This is the Day that the Lord has made – and given to you!’