Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Move Me With Compassion Lord

“Pray for all people…this is good and pleases God our Savior, for He wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1,3-4 NLT).

Prayer is of utmost importance to God—He asks “who will stand in the gap?” and desires that my response be “I will, Lord!” All through scripture God has delighted to work through the prayers of man. He wants to use man as an intricate part of His miracles (i.e. Moses lifting his staff at the shore of the Red Sea). It is His design. I desire to be a part of that plan.

I am learning that taking the time to pray makes the passion in my heart more than just an emotion. Anyone can be stirred and overwhelmed by the need to pray…but it requires self-discipline and quiet time alone to take that need to the Throne of Grace. Emotion must be grounded in activity or it is worthless to the Kingdom of God.

I have been learning the importance of being deliberate about my prayer times:
Setting a specific time designated for prayer (walking in the morning). Making lists (people’s names, countries names, tribes, churches). Writing out “God’s Own Heart” in order to structure my prayers (Scripture).

I have been challenged greatly by Jesus’ plea in Matthew 9:36-38. If I desire to be like Christ I must gaze on those around me through His eyes. Jesus looked upon the multitudes (city dwellers, religious people, those ridden with disease) with the tenderness of a Savior.

“Jesus was moved with compassion…” Jesus allowed His emotions to “get involved!” Although it doesn’t stop there—it must start there. I must allow the Spirit opportunity to “move” me with compassion as well. Although there are times when our sympathy for another comes quite naturally, for the most part, we will remain oblivious to many needs around us unless we deliberately ask God to give us this discernment.

“…because they fainted…” Jesus took time to be attentive to the real needs and the problems behind those needs. Real need: they were scattered. Problem behind that need: they had no shepherd.

Those that appear angry, confused, rude, or depressed…have a reason to be angry, confused, rude, or depressed—they are scattered. They have no sense of direction. Their behavior will most likely offend us. They usually are not asking for deliverance and will probably despise your attempts of showing care! It is easy to be irritated with the store clerk who treats you like a criminal for choosing his checkout line. It takes time however, to see past your frustration regarding the incident, and with compassion, ask God to save him from his wandering.

“Other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd” (John 10:16).

It is the reality of their true condition that will give you the desire to introduce them to their Shepherd. If that does not move you, spend time praying that it will!

“…the harvest is plentiful…” Jesus always recognized the spiritual need alongside the physical want. He immediately identified them as “God’s Harvest”—individuals God desired to bring to saving faith. If God desired that, so would His Son! If His Son desires that, so should I! It is important to always link the physical to the spiritual—for sin is man’s greatest problem. There may be a place for anger management seminars, support groups that meet every Tuesday, and medicine for depression but these helps must never replace Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, and Psalm 11:6. Unless there is freedom from sin, man will remain condemned.

“Pray therefore…” Jesus used His compassion, and sensitivity to their needs, as motivation to pray for their salvation. He pleaded with His Father to send laborers to work the fields. It is so important to plead God’s Mercy on those that are lost. Our greatest desire should be their rescue.

First, look out at the multitudes (in Wal-Mart, the place you buy groceries, etc.). Second, remember what you see. Third, write down names of those you meet, or just descriptions if you were never introduced (i.e. the hateful mother with two small children I passed at the mall last Thursday, etc.). And fourth, pray that they will be found!

“Pray for all people…this is good and pleases God our Savior, for He wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1,3-4 NLT).