Friday, June 11, 2010

Moved to Compassion

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

A few years ago, I was praying for someone in need. "Lord, please help so-and-so", I prayed.

But God answered me and said, "Don't pray for me to help them. If you really cared about them, you would do what is necessary for me to move through you to help them. You only ask me to help them because you don't want to sacrifice yourself."

What could I say? He was right...and I knew what He meant. I was concerned for the plight of this person, but not enough to actually sacrifice of myself or put myself out. God was their Father, I figured, so He should take care of it. I was doing my duty simply by praying for them.

I am not saying that we should not pray for others. I am saying that the purpose of the church, the Body of Christ, in the earth is to show forth the life of Christ. God did not place us here simply as intercessors, but as His hands and His feet. In Scripture, we see the pattern for how God works through His people to reach others.

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you." II Corinthians 4:7-12

Who wants to be troubled? Perplexed? Persecuted? Cast down? WHO wants to "always" be bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus in our flesh?? Yet Scripture is clear that THIS is how the life of Jesus is made manifest in our bodies. Death is to be working in us so that the life of Christ may be imparted to others through us.

While professing to believe and claiming to have concern for others, I was continually drawing back from my own death. I didn't want to deny myself. I didn't want to take up my cross each day and follow Christ. I could take it up maybe 3-4 times a week, but I also wanted to live my life...and ENJOY it. Wasn't it okay if I took 1-2 days a week for some "me" time?

I am not telling anybody how to live. I am saying that the proportion to which you want to see Christ move in and through your life is directly related to how much you are willing to deny yourself.

Many times we look to God to "do something", but He is looking for us to do something: truly become living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). If we do, then God will do something through us because we have become vessels fit for Him to use (II Timothy 2:20-21). We cannot pursue our own desires, dwell on our own hurts, justify our own ways...and expect God to move.

If we truly have love for others, we will be willing to lay down our lives for them (John 15:13). Even more, if we truly love the Lord, we would be willing to lay down our lives for HIM...for HIS use. I am not talking about running around doing religious works. I am speaking of fulfilling the call God has placed on those who belong to Him to die to self so that He may be seen in us.

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20

This has been the big struggle in my life. Desiring to help others, but not being completely willing to lay down my life. Wanting to be used by God, but not wanting to loose complete control over my life and let God have His way. I had concern for people, but God wanted to develop compassion within me.

We should know that there is a difference between empathy and compassion.
empathy: the intellectual identification with another person's feelings, thoughts, situations; pity.

compassion: a feeling of deep sympathy & sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering; mercy.
One major difference between empathy and compassion is that compassion moves you to take action. We can have pity on others, but how many of us can truly demonstrate mercy? In the Scriptures, we see that many times Jesus was moved to compassion.

"But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." Matthew 9:36-38

"And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick." Matthew 14:14

"Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way." Matthew 15:32

"Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt." Matthew 18:27

"So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him." Matthew 20:34

"And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean." Mark 1:41

"And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things." Mark 6:34

"And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise." Luke 7:13-14

"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." Luke 15:20

God could have looked on man - snared in sin - and just pitied him. If He had, mankind would still be lost. But God looked on us and had compassion, which moved Him to action; the action of death on the cross.

I pray that the love of God moves us to compassion, where the true mercy and power of God can be demonstrated in us as we seek His will and His ways in all things - even at the expense of ourselves.

"And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise." Luke 10:30-37


  1. Amen sister!!! this is exactly what dying to our flesh and living by His Spirit is all about. There is nothing attractive to our flesh in this lifestyle, but it is the only way we will EVER reach spiritual maturity... or be of any genuine help to this dying world, if we first die to 'self'.. that Christ might make us His ministers of righteousness. Kind of boggles the mind...

  2. In all of my days, I am constantly amazed with the power of God's word. When inclined to receive its truth, one can get ANY answer, solution, or revelation to ANY problem. I love your breakdown of "empathy" and "compassion" and the passage identifications of each and every time Jesus showed "compassion." This post truly blessed me today. Thanks so much for sharing.


  3. There is a certain purity that reminds me of my pastor's wife,Rev Mrs Funke Ewuosho.It is obvious that you are a woman who spends time in prayer and with God.
    your article this time has blessed me and made me realize i am more empathic than compassionate.
    There are many things I don;t understand about God and so many confusing questions I have that make me feel unworthy to be a christain but I know that I can't be anything less than the womna he has called me to be..God bless you as you continue to tell the raw truth of his word...Amen

  4. I thank you for this word. It has reached me and convicted me. I thought I was a compassionate person, but became angry that my life seemed to be constantly under struggle. I did not realize that I was going through death in my flesh, that I may grow in Christ.


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