There really is joy in serving Jesus and there is great joy in learning to overcome evil with good. Jesus teaches us to love our enemies. He says we are to pray for them and bless them. This is a shocking idea that goes against human nature. It is normal and natural to defend one’s self against an enemy, by returning evil with an even greater evil; or by doing what is natural to me, running away and hiding. No one wants to live under a threat to their well-being and the idea of giving our enemy what he doesn’t deserve , hurts human pride and could also, be downright dangerous! From the human perspective, this teaching makes no sense at all. Understanding the principle of overcoming evil with good, comes by viewing it from God’s perspective; the perspective that is available to all who believe and follow Jesus.
It is easy to misunderstand the intended outcome of Jesus’ command “to love your enemies”. For many years I accepted the common notion that if I loved someone, no matter what they did to me, love would eventually, change them. My life’s experience has taught me otherwise. Sometimes, love does make a difference in someone’s life but only if their hearts are open to receiving love. There are people in this world with hearts so hardened by evil that they have closed themselves off to love and are immune to it. Even though such people seem to be beyond hope and aren’t likely to change no matter how well I treat them, I’m still commanded to love them. By doing so, I am changed. When I make the choice to retaliate against my enemy, I have become more like my enemy. When I choose to love my enemy, I am becoming more like Jesus. God is working in my life to transform me, not those enemies who choose to deny Him.
Only those who belong to Jesus can rightly understand His teachings because they are from God’s perspective. The Bible must be spiritually discerned because God is Spirit. Jesus’ teachings are for the good of those who belong to Him and have been spiritually reborn through faith in Him. When I choose to obey Jesus, by loving and blessing my enemies, I receive the greater blessing. My enemy may enjoy some temporary benefit by my obedient action but the benefit I receive is of eternal value. When I obey Jesus, the enemy finds no foothold in me. I experience transformation and become more of the woman I am intended to be; by becoming more like Jesus I also, become more Pam. There is no joy like the joy of overcoming the evil that threatens to destroy me from within, by the power of goodness. Even though my enemies without continue to commit evil against me, I have the victory. Even if an enemy should kill me, I will not die because my life is hidden in Christ; and no one can remove me from God’s hand. I need not fear my enemies because there is no safer place to be than in Jesus. When God is for me, no one can stand against me and God is on my side, when I submit to Christ.
I experience joy when the evil in me is subdued through obedience to Christ Jesus. It is a taste of what it will be like when I no longer have to battle the evil within me. I also, look forward to the day when evil is vanquished, as every knee bends and every tongue confesses Jesus as Lord. All enemies will vanish! That day will be the fulfillment of joy!