Devotions for April 4, 2017

MATTHEW 5:43-48

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’[a] and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies![b] Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends,[c] how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

LOVING AS GOD LOVES

Jonah was hardened to God’s universal mercy. Here, Jesus uses imagery of rain and sun to represent how the Father extends compassion to all of His creation.

PERSONAL REFLECTION

Q: In what ways does Jesus tell you to love others perfectly as God does?

Q: Do you find yourself praying for those who hate you, gossip about you, or bother you? How would praying for them change your heart and actions towards them?

Q: Why would being unforgiving or hardened toward others hinder them receiving the Gospel from you? Why is loving as God loves vital to growing the Body of Christ?

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