“You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.” – Psalms 23:5 NLT
Imagine being the guest of honor at a huge celebration. The table is filled with all your favorite types of foods and many presents just for you. Now imagine all your enemies, people who lied on you and spread hurtful rumors about you, just standing around the table watching you. How would you react? Would you start eating and enjoying the beautiful feast spread in front of you or would you not eat because your enemies are watching you hoping you choke on your food?
It sounds crazy but it’s a true reality for many people including myself. For years I allowed this mentality to stop me from enjoying the blessings of the Lord in my life. I allowed the devil to isolate me from my family and friends with the lies he continuously fed my mind. I couldn’t enjoy the beautiful, thoughtfully prepared feast the Lord placed in front of me, because I was too focused on the presence of my enemies around me.
Here are 3 ways to keep your enemies from controlling your life:
1) Pray for them.
“But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” – Matthew 5:44 NLT
Why did Jesus think it was so important to tell us to pray for our enemies? Because, He knows our salvation depends on it. This is a commandment from God not just a cute saying. Before we can sincerely pray for our enemies we must first forgive them. You may be thinking why would I forgive them after all they put me through? Because, Jesus Christ forgave you when you didn’t desire it. We are instructed in Ephesians 4:32 NLT to “…be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” When you sincerely pray for someone who hates you, you are taking the emotions you may have towards them and giving it to God. The person who is persecuting you the most, is the person who needs your prayers the most.
2) Do Good and Bless Them.
“Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.” – Romans 12:14 NLT
When I was younger, I knew this girl who absolutely hated me with a passion. Every time I tried to be nice to her, she attempted to start a fight with me. One day after my mom told me about Romans 12:14, I decided to go out and buy her something nice. I will never forget the expression on her face when I gave it to her. All I could do was smile. Did her attitude towards me change? No, but I changed. Sometimes doing good to your enemies helps release the anger you may feel towards them. Remember God said in Romans 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” The Lord is letting us know not to worry about getting even and not to say or wish evil upon your enemies because He will take care of them. Our job is to pray for them. We should thank our enemies; because, the scripture says in Luke 20:43 NLT, “until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” God will cause your enemies to take you to your next level of victory.
3) Love Them.
“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” – Luke 6:27-28 NLT
Sometimes it will take every bit of the spirit of God within us to love our enemies but that’s when we know love is needed the most. Having the ability to love someone who has wronged you doesn’t show a sign of weakness but an incredible amount of strength. You’ve heard the saying, “Hurt people, hurt people.” The only thing proven to break the curse of hatred is love. Think about the last time you put a smile on God’s face by “turning the other cheek.” Maybe your co-worker said something that really ticked you off but instead of giving them a “piece of your mind”, you responded in love. You made the choice (though it was hard) to show the love of Christ. You showing them the love of God has the power to draw them to Christ and change their hearts completely.
When you pray, bless and love your enemies, your attitude will change towards them. And now when you sit at the table you will no longer allow their presence to keep you from enjoying what God placed before you.