One of the Scriptures that challenges me is that faith without works is dead. Not only that, but Jesus said it wasn’t good enough to only do good to the people who deserve it or our friends. We have to do things for those we don’t like. It’s not an easy task doing things for people who treat us poorly, but it’s part of living out our faith. Doing good wherever we go, to whomever we can, is one of the best ways to show God’s love. We must remember that it was while we were still sinners that God showed us compassion and sent His Son to die for us when we didn’t deserve it. Following His example is what we are called to do.
Here are some Bible verses on doing good.
1. So then, while we [as individual believers] have the opportunity, let us do good to all people [not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being], and especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith (born-again believers).
Galatians 6:10 AMP
2. Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it.
Proverbs 3:27 GNT
3. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Hebrews 13:16 ESV
4. But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.
Luke 6:27 NLT
5. Trust [rely on and have confidence] in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and feed [securely] on His faithfulness.
One of the toughest things Jesus told us to do was in Matthew 5:44. He said, “I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them” (TPT). I have to tell you, that goes against everything that I want to do in those situations. The easiest thing to do is to hate the person who hates you, curse the person who curses you, yell at the person who hates you and to fight anyone who comes against you. That’s the way I’m wired anyway. The things Jesus is asking us to do here goes against my nature.
I believe God asks us to act this way because we are to be a reflection of Him and who He is. When we are full of ourselves, and someone does something to us, it’s who we are on the inside that spills out onto them. When we replace who we are with who God is inside us, our reactions change. Everywhere we go, we will be spilling God’s love onto anyone who runs into us. The hardest part of being a Christian, is getting rid of all my selfish desires so that I can be filled with more of who He is, but that is God’s desire for each one of us. It’s a constant battle, but it’s one our spirit must be victorious in.
For many of us, we view God as the person we are when someone cuts us off on the road. He’s angry and out for payback. What Jesus said gives us insight into what God is like. Psalm 145:8 does as well. It says, “You’re kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and very patient with people who fail you. Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness.” God isn’t angry and out to get us when we mess up. Like a good father, He’s kind and does everything He can to help us succeed at being more like He is. He’s patient with us in our failures as well. As we get to know Him more, He will become increasingly more evident in our life through our responses to people.
In today’s world, everything is politicized which makes each of us feel like we have to be on one side or the other. When we choose a side in any issue, we feel we are right, which means anyone who doesn’t agree with the way we think is wrong. When we think someone is wrong about any issue we are passionate about, they become our enemy. When they become our enemy, we lose the love we’re supposed to have for them and can begin to care less if they make it to Heaven. This is a real struggle that many of us are going through in this day and age, and I believe it’s a strategy of the devil to keep us from winning souls. He has us more concerned with causes, politics and ways of thinking than with eternity. While these topics are important, we must make sure we’re not falling victim to our enemy’s deceit.
Ephesians 6:11-12 says, “Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser! Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage” (TPT). You and I are entrenched in a spiritual war right now whether we like it or not. The enemy’s strategy right now is to get us to think our fight is against other humans who don’t think like we do. If he can distract us with that, then he can keep us from the Great Commission. When we think our struggle is with people, we direct our attacks on them. We need to put on God’s Armor each day to help us think and see people, issues and battles the way God wants us to.
Jesus showed us a different way when He said, “However, I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them (Matthew 5:44).” When we put on God’s Armor, we will love our enemies rather than hate them or despise them. In fact, we are to pray for them and bless them. Remember it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). The next time you feel attacked or feel like someone is your enemy, remember to put on God’s Armor, ask Him to help you love them like He does and then turn your attack on our real enemy who knows that a house divided can’t stand (Mark 3:25). Our enemy has a strategy, but so does God. We need to make sure we are aligned with God’s and are not falling for our enemy’s.
Our world is more polarized and divided now than ever in my lifetime. We’re divided politically, socially, on masks, on justice issues and just about anything you can think of. I’m a person who loves to read comments on social media because I love how creative and funny people are. However, lately, I see a lot of arguments in the comments with hateful attacks toward each other over the littlest things. I watched a video by a comedian recently and then went to the comments. People were attacking him, his humor, his lack of humor, people who thought it was funny and people who didn’t. It’s easy to think that the division of people is something new, but it’s been around since the beginning. It’s one of the most effective tools in our enemy’s belt.
Satan used his divisive techniques on Adam and Eve to get them separated from God. He used it on Cain to kill Abel. Moses and the Israelites dealt with it over and over in the wilderness. You can’t read something in the Bible hardly without seeing the conflict. When Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy, Nero was the ruler and he was decapitating Christians and using their heads as torches to light the city. There were people named at the end of chapter 1 who were opposed to the message of Christ that Paul said that he handed over to Satan to be rid of them. Interestingly though, immediately after that verse, chapter two starts and Paul takes a different tone towards those who were polar opposites from him and the faith.
1 Timothy 2:1 says, “Most of all, I’m writing to encourage you to pray with gratitude to God. Pray for all men with all forms of prayers and requests as you intercede with intense passion” (TPT). The next verse says to pray for political leaders, even those opposed to your way of thinking, referring to Nero. You and I have a responsibility right now, in today’s climate to bring unity through prayer. It’s hard to hate someone you pray and intensely intercede for. Are we so busy arguing our side of things that we’ve forgotten to pray for those opposed to us? Romans 12:20 said if our enemy was hungry, we should buy them lunch. Where is that kind of love today? I’m praying that God would give me, and Christians everywhere, that kind of heart instead of an argumentative one. I think there’s a time and place to defend our way of life, but they shouldn’t know us by our arguments or eloquent defense. They should know us by our love.
My pastor’s wife was sharing a story with me a few weeks ago. She was telling me about a wedding in the church where several ladies were tasked with sewing the bridesmaid’s dresses. One of the ladies went to her and said, “When you get to the part where the sleeve attaches to the dress, follow the instructions. It’s not going to make sense and it’s going to go against everything you know about sewing, but follow the pattern. It will work.” A few days later she got to the sleeve and looked at the pattern. She thought, “This isn’t right. It won’t work.” She then remembered the word of the other lady and followed the pattern.
When she finished, the dress came out the way it was intended. She’s still not sure how. She just knows that for that dress, it seemed wrong to her, but she stuck with the pattern and it worked. It’s a lot like God’s Word. There’s some stuff in there that doesn’t make sense. Love your enemies. If you want to be first, be last. Celebrate finding one sheep instead of being happy with the 99. Bless those who curse you. There are a lot of things that seem backwards when we first look at them, but ultimately the pattern of God’s Word works.
I was praying on Saturday night about what scripture to read for service on Sunday morning. God clearly spoke, “Psalms 143.” I closed my eyes and went to bed. I woke up early Sunday morning and read it first thing. I immediately thought, “This can’t be right. Maybe I didn’t hear you, God.” I proceeded to read Psalms 140-145. I decided that Psalm 145 was what God meant. I highlighted each verse so I could copy it and paste it in my notes. Right before I clicked “copy”, the voice of The Lord spoke and said, “Really? You’re going to ask what I want and then change it?” I immediately went to Psalm 143, copied it and pasted it.
When it came time for me to read the scripture, it became abundantly clear that Psalm 143 was the right choice. It didn’t make sense to me at the time God spoke it, but in the moment, it was perfect. God does that to us a lot. He asks us to do things that don’t make sense in the moment or on the surface. It goes against what we think should happen, but He asks us to follow His pattern no matter what. He knows the final outcome. He knows what your future moments will be like and He asks you to trust Him now even when it doesn’t make sense. You’ll be glad you did when it’s over. His ways are higher than ours. He knows best. Trust Him today even when you can’t see how it will work.