I love how God models this for us and shows us HOW to love. Through the whole Bible we see a demonstration of God’s love in action. Jesus showed us how to love, He lived it, He demonstrated it, He was passionate about it, it required something from Him.
He models this for us, but He also instructs us in love. We see in the life of Jesus, how He moved with compassion. When He encountered people, when people came to Him, He never turned them away; He always met their need. He demonstrated His love for them. He redefined it, explained it, and demonstrated it.
Jesus changed the face of compassion, tradition, and teaching. History had given the nation of Israel a concept of compassion that gave them liberties which Jesus was combating face on.
In Matthew 14:14, Jesus was moved with compassion. He saw the great multitude and His compassion was moved towards them. He saw their great need, their deficit and it caused Him to move, it required something from Him. He healed their sick.
When we read the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus was teaching them how to be moved with compassion. He was showing what compassion looked like in action.
Over and over we see how Jesus loved, how He was moved with compassion. His love required action. Compassion rose up from inside of Him, it came from His innermost being and it propelled Him in action. Read the Gospels with the mindset of discovering how Jesus loved, how He was moved with compassion, how He interacted with people.
God is love. It is part of who He is, it is one of His attributes. He cannot function outside of His love. He demonstrated His love for mankind by sending His Son to die for us. His redemptive plan was formed before the foundations of the world. He has modelled this for us. His expectation of us is that we would do the same. He strongly states it that we are morally obligated to lay down our lives for our brothers. He has created a picture of how we should live and how we relate to each other. His desire is for us to live sacrificially for each other, that we would demonstrate love the way He did, by laying down our lives, our rights for each other. He set very big boots to fill!
Love comes from the very core of our being; it resides in the seat of our affections. The Bible uses the word bowels, which shows us that it is place deep inside us that rules us, it is the seat of affections. It means inward affection, tender mercy.
This compassion is active; there is movement to it. It cannot sit idly by while others are hurting or in need. It is motivated by mercy. It requires action from us.
Compassion comes from our bowels, from the place of tender affections, the place where mercy resides. God uses the word bowels, which shows us that it is place deep inside us that rules us, it is the seat of affections. Part of its root is mercy, which is kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them.
Love requires something from us. We cannot say that we love and have no action. There must be action.
Let’s look at how God demonstrated His love for us and see how He wants us to love each other.
I John 3:17-18 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
God’s demonstration of His love for us by sending His Son to lay His life down for us.
What should we be willing to do for our brothers? According to I John 3, His expectation of us is that we would lay down our lives for our brothers.
Our willingness to give to our brother reveals our heart, it reveals the love of God in us.
What are we to love in? We are to love in deed and truth. God’s expectation is that our love has action behind it, it is not just words. He requires action from us!
We have seen how He loves us, we have discovered His definition of love, we have seen how He wants us to demonstrate His love, but how do we cultivate love and compassion? How do we have our capacity to love enlarged?
Cultivating love and compassion as part of our character.
We have studied what love is, we have looked at how God loves us, and we have seen how Jesus demonstrated and modeled love for us. All of these things help us to better understand how we should love others.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
When we read the word compassion in this verse, it comes from the word pitiful, which means well compassioned, sympathetic, tender hearted. Interestingly it means to have strong bowels, a strong place of affections, a strong place where we are ruled from.
Compassion affects us deeply, it comes from the seat that rules us, and it is full of mercy and affection.
When we are functioning from a position of love, mercy motivates us and rules us. We are willing to extend mercy even when the recipient doesn’t deserve it.
There is a dimension in compassion that joins us with their suffering or their pain. We feel their pain, and we hurt for them. This joint suffering compels us into action, it moves us from a place of complacency to where we want to help them succeed or overcome.
- Compassion is connected to relationship.
- Compassion releases the supernatural.
- Compassion cannot live in passivity.
- Compassion requires action.
Compassion requires action from us!
Colossians 3:12-17 gives us specific instructions of what we are to do and what we are to put on, it says PUT ON, there is an action required here. He is instructing us to do something, He wants us equipped. We are to put on:
- Bowels of mercies – this is compassion, pity, mercy.
- Kindness – this is goodness, integrity, excellence in character.
- Humbleness of mind – having a humble opinion of one’s self.
- Meekness – gentleness, mildness.
- Long-suffering – patience, endurance, steadfastness, perseverance.
- Charity – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence.
We are instructed to:
- Forbear one another – to hold up, bear, sustain.
- Forgive each other – graciously to restore one to another.
- Let the peace of God rule our hearts.
- Be thankful – well favoured, mindful of favours, grateful.
If we look back at verse 14, we are instructed to above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Above everything else, we are to put on love. Love is the bond, it is a joint tie that binds everything together. Love is the ligament that brings it all together and causes everything to work well with completeness.
His expectation of us is to purposely put on the characteristics of love, this is a will decision, this requires us to do it intentionally. Love is what makes everything we do work well. If we think back on I Corinthians 13, we can be really adept in spiritual gifts, but if we don’t have love, it doesn’t work, it is for nothing. I Corinthians 13 describes to us the uselessness of our works and words if they are not cloaked and covered in love and compassion.
If we could just grasp how effective we would be if we would continually walk in His love. Everything that we do, everyone that we encounter, every conversation, if we would be moved by His compassion and demonstrate His love we would see amazing, supernatural things happen. It is His love flowing through us that makes it all work, it is what binds it all together.
People are desperate for a demonstration of love and Jesus wants to use you!
Take a couple of minutes and ask God to enlarge your heart and enlarge your capacity to love. Ask Him to change your head knowledge of love to a heart experience. Ask Him to give you a different way of looking at people, a new lens, to see people how He sees them. Now take a couple of minutes to sit quietly and receive what He has for you.
Tomorrow we will discover 10 Keys for practically walking in love and compassion.