Jesus Moved with COMPASSION
“Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him” (Matt 20:34 KJV).
In the last Truth for the Journey we discussed how the Church must learn how to operate in bold and godly love and compassion, a characteristic of the Prophetic Church.
Today lets expand on this and focus more on the “compassion” that Jesus moved in as we see directly in Luke 7:13 KJV “When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.” What was it that Jesus saw that moved Him or triggered the compassion? And what is it that WE see?
It’s a genuine question: what do we see when we look at people? Do we see what God sees or do we only see their faults? Because only seeing their faults causes us to judge them - yet seeing their genuine need - helps us to have genuine compassion! There is a BIG difference between judgment and compassion! Therefore we must see what Jesus sees in people, so that we can operate in the same compassion that He did.
A well-known evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman once said, “You can never get rid of your own troubles unless you take upon yourself the troubles of others.” Some would call this “empathy” by the Spirit of God. Empathy means: stepping into the shoes of others to feel what they feel, identify with others in a deeper way than sympathy.
This could create a major imbalance of course – if taken to the extreme - but like Joyce Myer often encourages those in her audiences who might be habitually complaining about life, to go to their local hospitals, old people’s homes or even spend a day with folks in wheel chairs. As Joyce points out, this quickly corrects the habit of complaining simply by creating a better perspective.
“Seeing” what others go through in their lives, can quickly inspire right perspective in our own lives! And in this context “empathy” is a good thing to pursue. But taken to its unhealthy extreme, empathy can depress and oppress you if you live in other people’s shoes all the time! Depression never achieved anything for God or for anyone else and God cannot use us when we are depressed all the time. It is a deception to make us miserable and ineffective.
Intercession however does involve burdens from the Lord, but is something entirely different from depression! In fact if we are left feeling depressed after an intercession time – it was not a time with God but with our FLESH! Because if genuine the burden will “lift” only to come back when the Holy Spirit inspires prayer again. We will be able to function in our ordinary day lives and continue to be a good witness to our family and friends in between!
The moral of the story is this: without the Holy Spirit even our best attempts at being compassionate are useless! Only He can trigger the right emotions or responses in us. To summarize: true compassion is like the anointing; it will come for a purpose and then lift off us again (everything has a purpose in the Kingdom of God). It’s a divine trigger and works closely with intercession.
Intercession is not cold and feeling-less, but neither is it emotionally driven. The emotion that comes via the Spirit comes and then lifts. It does not linger to depress! In fact when steered by the Holy Spirit, intercession is “white-hot” and totally “on target.” Remembering that there is “joy” in the breakthrough, which is also an emotion. So emotions are defiantly involved in intercession but they do not control the process. The Holy Spirit uses and inspires our emotions – AS WE PRAY!
Paul tells us in Colossians 3:12-15 (AMP) to clothe ourselves with compassion:
Clothe yourselves therefore, as God's own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].
And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].
As Jesus Himself moved with this kind of compassion we too must have love and compassion for those people that God brings our way for ministry (help). For instance when I am ministering I am totally aware of the fact that I need to have love and compassion if I am ever going to be used by God to help bring about the kind of “break-through” that people need in their lives. I can NEVER afford to have a judgmental attitude – in the pulpit or out of it - love must be consistent to be real.
Another example is counseling: the stories that people have shared with me regarding their “sordid-pasts” no longer shock me and I have had to learn not to judge, “for all have sunned and fallen short of the glory of God” as Romans 3:23 tells us. Jesus in His earthly ministry walked in this kind of divine love and compassion and we must also take on this very nature and yoke of Christ (Matt 11:29).
Sympathy is NOT compassion.
On the other hand, there is always the counterfeit. Now there is place for sympathy but for the sake of this article lets call sympathy - “perverted or false-love.” Because often times when we have been tempted to sympathize with people, it has worked “crosswise” with the Spirit of God (been in direct conflict with His purposes) and has usually sided-with the flesh!
For example sympathy has gotten most of us into the conditions that we find ourselves in today! We have been patted on the back and been told, “There, there… things will get better.” But were never shown how to get out of our distress! Basically, sympathy helps us STAY bound while love helps us get OUT!
Agape love on the other hand does not come from the soul, it comes from God and only born-again believers can operate in this kind of love. Therefore agape is the most important ingredient for the intercessor. “This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends” (John 15:12-13 AMP).
As intercessors we are to lay down our lives. Lack of intercession is a lack of love for others. We must learn to lay down our lives; we need to develop agape love. This is operated by our “willingness” and not our “feelings.” For instance if we were required to wait until we “felt” love before praying for people, perhaps we’d have to wait a long time!
Love is the key for prayer; in fact scripture commands us to love. Matt 5; 43-48 tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Paul in Col 3:14 tells us above all else to put on love. But what is love? 1 Corinthians 13:4 (GW) spells it out for us: “Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn't jealous. It doesn't sing its own praises. It isn't arrogant.”
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father I want to intercede well. I want the right motives and the right inspiration. Help me do what you have called me to do, by your Spirit in Jesus name.
CONFESSION OF THE DAY
I am filled with the Love of God. I pray the love of God. I manifest the love and compassion of God. His love ministers through me to others. My prayers are answered according to His will and to His divine nature: GOD IS LOVE.
THANK YOU FOR HELPING TO MAKE THIS MINISTRY POSSIBLE! WE LOVE YOU…!
Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’
Copyright 2011 © Alan Pateman Ministries