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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Do not say, ‘I will recompense evil’; wait for the Lord, and He will save you.”—Proverbs 20:22 (NKJV)
It’s interesting how our faith can be tested. Sometimes it shows in the ways we wouldn’t expect. For example, when someone wrongs us, we all understand the natural instinct is to exact judgment and vengeance for what they’ve done to us. They smack us, and we smack them back. They take something from us, and we take something from them. They cut in front of us in traffic, and we cut in front of them.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s how all of us are wired. Nobody has to teach or train us in these impulses. They come naturally, and that’s the problem . . . because it’s part of our fallen, sinful nature to act this way.
Enter faith—faith in God—which teaches us to surrender the desire to “recompense evil” and to “wait for the Lord” instead. In other words, don’t do what comes naturally. Instead, choose the supernatural route of trusting that God is the Judge over all, and He will take care of anything that needs to be taken care of.
You may be thinking, That’s a tall order! Easier said than done, Pastor Dan. Just wait until you hear how Jesus expands on this: “I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matthew 5:39 NKJV).
Did He just say what I think He said? Turn the other cheek? He did. And keep in mind that Jesus didn’t just say this, but He lived it as He was taken, beaten, spit upon, insulted, and crucified on the cross. These words certainly have weight, and knowing our human nature as we do, it seems impossible to live up to them.
But we need to remember the Lord never calls us to something without making the necessary provision for us to fulfill it. Yes, our faith is certainly tested when we’re wronged. Yet we’re never alone in this test. God’s Spirit is always there to fill us with the supernatural strength necessary to exchange vengeance for submission and hate for love: “We know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:5 NLT).
Rest assured, your faith will be tested in this area. At some point you’ll be tempted to repay evil for evil. The test is only passable through the power of God’s Spirit. Isn’t it wise to be filled with His strength now, before the time of testing?
DIG: How does the desire for vengeance test our faith?
DISCOVER: How have you responded to this particular test? How can you best prepare for the next test?
DISPLAY: This week, you’ll probably run into a situation that will test you in this area. Pray now for that test. Ask the Spirit to fill you with patience and the strength to turn the other cheek, and hold His words in your heart as you go about your days.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.