by William Worrell
As God’s children and when we are born again, we receive His genetic nature by faith. II Peter 1:1-2. If we let the cross and the power of His blood have their way, they will transform our nature. But it takes time. Over time the nature we inherited from our parents will decrease and His nature will increase in us.
Because of this transformation in our nature we naturally see things differently than before. Our desires naturally are harmonized with His. Jesus said: “I only do those things I see the Father do”. His father and He were one in nature therefore Jesus was able to see like His Father.
As a human, the question is how Jesus did this while living His life here. One key phrase that gives us a clue is that the “Holy Spirit strengthens what is of Him”. By that I mean, what is of His character and His desires. The Holy Spirit will give you the strength for His purposes. Like Jesus we must find what He wants and do that, not just invoke His blessing on what we desire. In the early years before our nature is fully transformed, there is oftentimes a big gap between what we desire and what He desires.
TAKING ON HIS NATURE
The process goes something like this. Early we find that His nature as a prophet grows in us and we learn to see, hear and speak as He does. We also begin to take on His nature as a King in gaining peace over our circumstances and ruling them with His direction. Finally, like Him, we begin to take on the nature He had as a priest who offers sacrifices for people. We really begin to care about people.
Each of these natural traits of Christ can come out in us at different times depending on our own nature and disposition. Only one trait should dominate as the MOTIVATING force for what we do.
I want to highlight this one attribute of Christ’s nature that will cause the Holy Spirit to strengthen you continually. It isn’t popular today, but it works, for it is “of Him”. Through this powerful attribute we all can, no matter what our station in life or profession may be, learn how to have Him strengthen us in order to “stay in the game. It’s one of the keys to life itself.
HIS NATURE BRINGS US TO COMPASSION
In the end, the driving attribute of the nature of our Father is COMPASSION. His word tells us that “God so loved the world”, not God so loved success. Compassion is described as, kindness and consideration of others. It comes from the root word “Passion” which means to have fervor, obsession, and enthusiasm which is directed toward others.
This passion is directed towards people, not just the desire to succeed ourselves. Some of the greatest inventions and accomplishments in history were and are still birthed out of a heart of compassion for people.
Compassion on the other hand is not carrying out a person’s will for them or a false comfort, but a strong care for that person’s wellbeing. Jesus expressed this when He told the lame man to take up his bed and walk. John 5:8. He didn’t take his bed up for Him, but he encouraged him in his healing through love. His father’s power came and healed him because He loved first; power did not just flow through Jesus. The man was ready then to forsake his sins, line up with God’s will and be healed.
The word of God says that Jesus was moved by compassion each time he miraculously fed the multitudes. As a matter of fact eleven other miracles are prefaced by the words that He looked with compassion on the people. Jesus knew compassion was the driving force for His father’s will and therefore His power. Miraculous results would follow for the sake of the people. He could feel this powerful attribute in Him moving when it was time for His father to act. Compassion was Jesus’s guiding force.
COMPASSION SHOULD BE THE FOUNDATION OF PURPOSE IN ALL WE DISIRE
The most compassionate thing you may do for someone is to reconcile them to their heavenly father. In 2 Corinthians 5:18 it tells us that he has given us the purpose in whatever form it may take to reconcile people to God. Reconcile means to resolve, reunite, settle and bring two people together. Paul proudly described the people in (I Thessalonians 1:1) as being “energized by faith, BUT MOTIVATED BY LOVE”. This is what a true Christian’s persona should look like. Love is a very powerful force to reckon with. The devil knows this therefore I want to point out his main weapon against us.
OUR ENEMIES MOST EFFECT TOOL AGAINST US IS BETRAYAL
Satan uses the very opposite act of compassion, betrayal. It is designed to bring us to the disposition where we do not care about people anymore. How? Betrayal from people especially those we love will drain our spiritual energy. We lose the spiritual energy to care in our heart. It causes us to recoil from each other. We become no longer motivated or have the strength to reconcile others to God. We then loose purpose. Has this ever happened to you, or should I ask how many times has this happened to you?
Satan used the betrayal of his friends to drain Job’s spirit to the point of giving up. Their constant barrage of questions and accusations concerning what he might have done moved him into defending himself and causing him anguish. It was the main contributing factor to his inability to connect with God.
Job’s friends merely wanted to prove what they knew. After over 31 chapters, Elihu a different kind of friend, finally got through to Job by showing him compassion and all without compromising what God’s character is like. Eliju said that “He (God) is mighty, but despises no one”. Job 36: 5. Compassion for people will always fuel healing and reconciliation to God without diminishing the power and character of God.
REMEMBERING JESUS’S ACTIONS AT THE LAST SUPPER
Jesus practiced this attribute to the end of His time here. In Mathew 13:53-58 we see Jesus used compassion to receive the Fathers strengthening power to finish His race. After being betrayed by the religious leaders and family alike, Herod then killed John the Baptist His cousin. All this wounded Jesus. He knew He would be next on the list. He knew then the real trouble was about to start. His own disciples would also betray Him out of self-preservation.
He was saddened and weakened. Jesus, like any human, was naturally moved into self-preservation mode. The story tells us that He went away to a deserted place to be alone. He was at the end of His journey now and He was tired. For a moment, maybe just a split second, He recoiled from his mission toward people.
Then it says that the people came out to the wilderness on foot to see him there. When He saw the multitudes He was reminded that it was for them He was there. The compassion of His Father Jesus felt moved in Him that moment when He saw the people rejuvenated and this motivated Him to finish his course. Again He fed the multitudes miraculously there with the Father’s help. This is how Jesus over and over again got back in the game!!
When it came time, compassion for the people allowed Jesus to give the ultimate sacrifice, Himself. We see in Luke 22:18 at the last supper He blessed the bread, broke it and gave it to His disciples. He told his disciples to “do this in remembrance of me”. What was He doing? It was instructions on how to stay strong until the end.
When facing death and the inability in Himself to go on he was jarring His own memory of a compassionate moment which produced a miracle. In breaking bread again, He was reminded of that compassion and the resultant power He felt when He fed the multitudes. He knew how to be strengthened to go on.
Later on Paul the apostle was touched and demonstrated this principle. While having communion with the disciples he remembered Jesus’ actions at the last supper, Paul the apostle used the words “on the night He was betrayed, He took bread and blessed it”.
He was pointing out that when betrayed, Jesus remembered how to gain the strength to go on. He fed the people knowing His Father would strengthen Him to go on!! Paul was also reminding his disciples how to stay in God’s power. We do this for the people after all, or is it?
Ironic isn’t it that he would use those words, “the night He was betrayed”. Paul also knew very well the discouraging power of betrayal and how to combat it. Paul is reminding all of us also that, like Jesus, we need to overcome betrayal by allowing God’s compassion for people to energize us. Our Father will see us through it!!
COMPASSION WILL KEEP US IN THE GAME
This is the problem today for many leaving the ministry. They have forgotten the principle of being strengthened by this powerful attribute. Feeling betrayed, they may not have lost the love for God as much as compassion for His people. They therefore have lost the strength to go on. It may be God is showing us that motives focused on personal success and not rooted in compassion for the people are without power.
Remember where we started in this article. God quickens or strengthens what is of Him. We must retain the compassion towards people to remain strong. Remember, passion brings with it energy. It is not a matter of obedience, but one of harmony through His likeness working in us. It will come through you.
In John 21:1, when Jesus wanted to strengthen Peter in his discouragement after betraying Him, He asked Peter three times, “Do you love me” and each time added “Feed my sheep”. He said it three times, once for each time he had betrayed the Lord. Peter was being healed.
Then Jesus said, “when you were younger you girded (strengthened) yourself and went where you wanted”. He told him,” later you will lift up your arms and another will gird you and you will go where you do not want to go”. He was saying when you are older and my genetics have taken effect you will allow me to love the people through you and give you the strength to stay in the game. You will be strengthened by my Spirit to overcome instead of going it alone.
A FINAL EXHORTATION TO HAVE COMPASSION
It seems that all the Disciples of Christ must learn this principle of inner strength through having compassion for people. In Hebrews 10:34 the writer says, “You had compassion on me in my chains”. It wasn’t just good business, but the love he felt through their compassion for him that made the difference when he was ready to give up.
In I Peter 3:8 it says “finally brethren have compassion on each other” and again in Jude 1:22 it says: “having compassion on each other making a difference”.
The ministry of reconciliation is what makes the difference in people’s lives. It is fueled by compassion. Compassion releases God’s power for endurance and for miracles.
Having compassion is inconvenient. Here are a three questions we all need to ask ourselves in order to see to it that we are operating in the spirit of our Father and not just mere ambition for ourselves. They will reveal our inner motive and keep us in the love of our Father.
1. Question Are we willing to Be Moved with compassion?
2. Question Are we willing to Refuse to see people go away hungry?
3. Question Are we willing to Spend the time it takes?