Think of someone you know you're supposed to love, and you can hardly admit to yourself, let alone anyone else, but you just don't love them.
You're searching around in your heart, and the love simply isn't there.
+ Maybe it’s a family member, or an in-law.
+ Maybe it’s someone you work with,
+ Or that neighbor you dread seeing.
How willing are you to commit, every day, to getting down on your knees and asking God in expectant faith for Him to fill your heart with genuine love, sacrificial agape love for that person, for God to spread love into your heart and spirit for that person?
--> How willing are you to start praying for that person instead of just about them?
--> Asking God to bring joy and spiritual wealth into that person’s life, to give them the desires of their heart, to seek their good?
--> Asking God to show you how you can be a blessing in that person’s life, then really doing it?
This is exactly what God wants for that person,
"...love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.(Matthew 5:44-45 ESV)
You will discover that when you pray for someone God begins to work that person into your heart.
The more difficult it is to love, the greater its power to change lives. But even if your enemy remains unchanged, or your persecuter doesn’t stop persecuting you, you have still experienced the love of God in your own heart and have grown in grace.
To love like God loves is to be perfect like God is perfect.
Genuine love must be just like God's love. For you and me today, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, this is what the normal Christian life is to be --
* Being a pleasure to live with,
* Being a pleasure to work with.
When you meet people like this, who are living out the genuine agape love of God, they are a real delight -- you love to be around them, you love to work with them, you find them pleasant and approachable. The power for all this comes from being constant, or faithful, in prayer, staying in communion with God, remaining consciously aware of His presence, surrendered to His Holy Spirit.
It is only through Jesus' righteousness that a person can enter the Kingdom of Heaven
A jeweler can tell with one look the difference between a synthetic gemstone and a genuine one. So can God instantly tell the difference between righteousness that just looks good, and His own righteousness that He has put in a person’s heart.
Jesus came to fulfill the law, which had always pointed to Messiah. True knowledge of the law, and true obedience to the law could only result in repentance and faith in Christ.
--> The scribes and Pharisees were trying to make God submit to them by rewarding them for their diligent observation of the law. But real righteousness far exceeds that.
--> Real righteousness, the perfection of God through Jesus Christ, is only given to those who humble themselves and submit to God.