Last week my intent was simply to focus on one of the fruits of the spirit, love. The moment I began to simply say the word to myself the Lord whispered to me: “Love as I have loved”. It was one of those moments that I knew would change me. Had I ever really loved as He loved, did I know what that meant? I realized I had a challenging study ahead, to love as He loved….
It seems that so much of what Jesus did he did out of a heart of compassion.
The word compassion as defined: A sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. Empathy, sensitivity, warmth, tenderness mercy, kindness are a few of its synonyms.
Jesus had compassion on the hungry, both physically and spiritually.
“Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.” (Matthew 15:32).
Jesus was always aware of the needs of others. He cared that people were hungry and it was his empathy for their needs that moved Him to provide.
This is a powerful reminder to me that when the Lord puts a need in front of us we need to act as He did, motivated by compassion, to do what we can. Today there are so many physical needs we are made aware of that it can seem overwhelming. However if we just ask the Father which ones we are suppose to respond to He will show us our part. This month there was a horrible volcanic eruption in Guatemala. If I had simply read about the need of the people I am sure I would have felt badly but in all likely hood I would have just kept reading the news. However my friend Teri had just been there and met with a pastor and his wife who ministered to the people in that exact location! She had told me about them just two weeks earlier. Those people had become real to me and the Lord immediately gave me His heart for them. The reaction to help was clear and easy as it was prompted by the Holy Spirit and his compassion.
This afternoon I attended a meeting organized by a man in our church keenly aware of the needs in our mountain community, they were larger than I had imagined. Many need a helping hand, those who are economically depressed, single moms trying to make it on their own and kids who need guidance. The ultimate goal of this newly formed outreach group is to bring the good news of Jesus but it will be done as we meet needs and develop relationships built on trust. I realized driving home that this was probably why God had spoken to me to “love as He loved”. It takes the heart of the Father to move me to leave my comfort zone. I need His heart of compassion for others to drive me to action. I desperately need Jesus to give me a new heart.
Loving like this means putting our own needs and desires behind us. Only God can provide the strength and ability to give the love He has shown us, unconditionally, to someone else. Loving others this way includes genuine connection and commitment and it takes the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Taught out of Love
34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
If we love others we want them to be all God desires them to become. When we have the heart of Jesus we are compelled to share the truth that has been shared with us to set us free to follow Him. We all have different abilities, gifts and skills. In my life, I know I need to write and teach. For others it may be simply sharing the scripture God gave you this morning with someone who needs the encouragement. The amount of teaching that we share in not the important thing, we just need to love others enough to share what we have been given.
Jesus Prayed prayers of love
John 17 reveals His Heart
Holy Father, protect them by the power of[b] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.
9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[b] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Jesus was crying out for us with a heart that desired we would be protected, that we would be unified, that we would be as He is, that we would be able to bring His message of love to the world in word and in action.
As we stand in a place of intercession for others ask God for His heart for them and watch your prayers be transformed by His compassion.
In the end I believe Jesus was praying for us, that “we would love as He has loved”…