Monday 20 July 2015

Spiritually Mature Christians I The Spirit of Compassion

Happy Monday to my lovely Readers & Followers,

The below post was written by one of my friends. Have you ever thought of what Jesus prayed about? If you look at the account in the Bible, Jesus and several prophets (Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, etc.) had a great burden and compassion for God's people. Also, Paul laboured in prayers for God's people not just for himself.

Are you selfish in the place of prayer? When we know that we lack this, it would help us seek God and He would gladly birth in us the hunger and compassion we desire.

To be spiritually mature includes interceding for others in the place of prayer.

Below is my friend's write-up:

Casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you - 1 Peter 5:7. This verse of scripture is so soul lifting, so peace giving, so relieving to know that we can actually cast all our care upon our Father and have no care in the world. It promises a burden free, worry free life devoid of stress and anxiety. However, I was praying about something last week when the Lord just spoke to me and told me that this verse of scripture is for kids, for the young, for the babes in Christ. What!!! I was alarmed; I could not believe what I heard till I heard all of it. This is what I’m now sharing in this devotion.

When we grow and mature in the things of God, we do not only cast our cares upon the Lord, we also take of His cares and His burdens. For example, Obele Onyi has cast all her care upon her parents. This she would do for a long time. At present, she does not care whether the purse of her parents is full or lean at the moment, her demands remains the same. Her full confidence is in her parents and she trusts them solely for her food, comfort, protection. She does not think for a second how her demands are met. She isn’t concerned with the emotional feelings of her parents and the word management does not exist in her dictionary. Her mum cannot begin to share her concerns and burdens with her. She just can’t get it. However, as she grows and matures, she gets to the stage where she can look at her mum’s face and say “mum, what’s wrong”?, she can adjust her list for school to meet with the financial situation of her parents at the moment. 

My dad told us the story of how he started eating fufu. He used to hate cassava so much and was a fan of yam. One year, he saw his widowed mother crying profusely. He asked her what the matter was and she told him that harvest of yam was very bad and she is crying because she did not know what Osy would eat. He looked at her and told her “mum, I will eat cassava from today” and that’s how he became a great fan of fufu till date. What happened? He had gotten to the level of taking up the burden of his mother. Where her concern became his, where what causes her sleepless nights, kept him awake too.

Same applies to God. It’s only Babes in Christ that cast all their concerns on Him without taking that of His. God requires a level of intimacy where in fellowship; we get to the stage where He shares His deep concerns with us. Where we place our ears on His chest and we listen to His heartbeat. Where He speaks to us about someone in China and we begin to pray and intercede earnestly for a person we have never met or may never meet. Where we ask Him “Father, what’s on Your heart this morning” and He communicates deeply the issues of His heart. He needs us. He needs the agency of man to carry out some of His plans and purposes. Where intercession is not just a requirement but something we carry out based on love and compassion. Where you hear of the sufferings of another and it does not merely invoke an “eh yah, what a pity” sigh from us but we rather feel the same way Jesus feels about that situation. That’s the only way we can spend all night in prayer not praying about our own needs.

This is what it means to be co-labourers with Christ. 1 Corithians 3: 9 “For we are labourers together with God….”, 2 Corithians 3: 1 “We then, as workers together with him…”. This is what it means to be in partnership with Him. This is the true meaning of being an Ambassador of Christ. An Ambassador seeks not his interest but the interest of the country he represents. That is his foremost and topmost priority while his personal interests run secondary. 

This is why the bible admonishes us to seek first the kingdom and then others will follow. An ambassador’s needs are also met as he seeks the interest of his country and not the host community or his. However, you cannot be God’s representative on earth if you do not have His interests, we cannot have His interests if we do not know them. We cannot know them if we are not intimate with Him. This is more than the generic prayers for the lost, unsaved, sick etc that we mutter to satisfy our conscience. However, the spirit of compassion must be birthed in us before we get to this level with God. 

Jesus was a man filled with compassion and it drove Him to His knees. The topmost reason why Christians don’t intercede is lack of compassion according to Richard Foster in his book “Celebration of Discipline”. Until compassion drives you to act, what you experience is merely a fleeting emotion. Compassion ensures that you stay in the place of prayer, fasting etc until the answer comes. Eg is the story of Daniel praying for his people. It is compassion that will drive a young lady to lead her friends every Saturday in prayers for the Nation and families even when that Saturday falls on Christmas and  new year day with all the festive activities.

What is then the greatest barrier to the spirit of compassion? It is self. It is “me, me, me….”. this self must die and this must be done daily according to Paul. God is telling us today to come up hither, to be touched with the feelings of others infirmities. Cry out to God today to birth in you the spirit of compassion. Strive for intimacy with Him till you are one with Him in truth and reality.

Prayer: Lord, I have placed my ears on Your chest, help me to hear your heartbeat. Let what hurts You hurt me, let your concerns become mine, cause the spirit of intercession to be birthed in me.

Action plan: Prayerfully ask God to lead you to pray for the needs of someone. Pray according to Joshua 1:13-15. Stay on it till the manifestation occurs. He has led me to mine. Who will join me?

- Daughter of Zion

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