Imitating God and Living as Children of Light.
Imitating God sounds like a big order ! Ephesians 5:1-2 states it this way. "Be imitators of God, as dearly love children and LIVE A LIFE OF LOVE, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
The Apostle Paul gives us some instruction on living and forgiving your enemy. Here are a few things he said.Do not live like an unbeliever
A hard heart is the reward for being ignorant and separated from God
Losing sensitivity will lead you into sensuality and indulgence in all kinds of impurity - with a continual lust for more
Put off your old way of living and put on your new self, created to be like God in righteousness and holinessPut away lying and speak truthfully
When you are angry do not fall into sin
Work and do something useful
Do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouth
Talk only of things that will build someone up
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit
Get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander
Be kind and compassionate
Forgive each other just as Christ completely forgives you
Do not let even a hint of sexual immorality be in you
Put away greed, obscenity, foolish talk and course joking
Do not be partners with deceitful people and their fruitless deeds of darkness - but rather expose them
He finishes up in verse 13 with words of caution: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you. Be very careful, then how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."
Let's check ourselves continually to be sure we are living in His light and always putting our whole heart into understanding and walking with those who are wise. We CAN be a light that will bring others out of the darkness.
DO NOT PRESS THE "BACK" BUTTON or How can I forgive someone who keeps hurting me? Forgiving your enemy
Have you ever gotten this message after you have pressed "submit" online? I have. It sometimes gives another warning, "you will lose all of your data." Nobody wants to lose all that annoying data they just typed in for an hour! So, I'm thankful for that little warning and I dare not press that back button ! Taking that everyday experience, we can apply that to our lives to help us to continue to move forward.
In Phillipians 3:13 the Apostle Paul is admonishing the church in Phillipi (though he himself was imprisoned at the time) on pressing on toward the goal. He starts by saying he has not obtained that which Jesus Christ took hold of him..yet, but that he is pressing on. The next thing he reveals is what he does to move forward.
"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Forgetting is sometimes difficult when associated with pain and sometimes we don't want to forget our victories either. However, holding on to either of them can keep us from moving forward into what God has planned for our future. Remembering them does not always hold us back and can actually move us forward as long as we are not holding too close and comparing or trying to recreate the past. Example: Have you ever been around someone (or maybe yourself!) who is always talking about "the good ol' days, or the great moments and experiences over and over? They never seem to have created new victories and new stories. They seem stuck in the past. I've caught myself many times.
Here is a misconception I recently learned about going forward. You do not have to "start over!" No, moving forward is defined as: starting away from some point or place in a certain direction with a continuous motion. Moving forward in your life is a continuous growth. We do not arrive, we grow. Growth will require discipline, obedience and relentless concentration. Our failures and new direction are part of the movement forward. Take what you've learned and keep going. Don't get stuck. If someone is constantly in the way, you may need to evaluate and consider going on without them. If something is in the way, you may need to be the one to move it. If it is something that just won't step aside then you will need to speak to it and command it to "MOVE" (click this link)
And when we move forward we can be confident that the Lord of Hosts will go with us and use our failures to create our victories.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28