DayBreaks for 11/21/17: A Muddy Foam
From the DayBreaks archive, November 2007:
I like to maintain an even keel. I think most of us do. Sure, there are those who are into the extremes: folks who put on a kite-type suit and jump out of an airplane and ride the wind currents coming up off the face of a mountain. And there’s the other extreme, too: folks who, for whatever reason, are so afraid to even set foot outside of their home that they live as prisoners of their own fears. But most of us operate “normally” – we try not to get too carried away with anything, thinking that a good balance is what life is all about. There’s something to be said for that, but I’m not really convinced that it’s all good.
Consider: how would your wife or husband feel about it if you just had neutral or luke-warm emotions towards them? How would your children feel if you made it a goal in life not to go overboard in truly loving them? How would your employer feel if you thought your job was okay, but didn’t make every effort to work hard for them? Chances are you wouldn’t be employed for very long.
How does God want us to live our lives, especially our emotional lives?
There are many passages of Scripture that relate to this: we are to live sober-mindedly, we are to live peaceful lives characterized by the joy of Christ. We are to be wary and alert, to test the spirits to see if they’re from God or not. Sounds rather balanced and reserved, doesn’t it?
But, I think that there’s an area or two where God wants us to truly go overboard, to cast our caution aside and jump into the deep end of the pool, so to speak. The first one is in the way that we love God Himself. We are to love Him more than our very lives if it should come to that. We are to love Him, not with part of our heart, soul and mind, but with ALL of our heart, soul and mind. In other words, hold nothing back from this love. There is no other love like it and there’s nothing better to reserve our love for than for loving Him. The second one, you can probably guess: we are to love what God loves – goodness, righteousness, holiness…and yes, other people, even our enemies. It’s far easier to say than to do.
I like this quote, which I find expresses the feeling I have down deep in my heart about my own poor emotional condition: “I am spellbound by the intensity of Jesus’ emotions: not a twinge of pity, but heartbroken compassion; not a passing irritation, but terrifying anger; not a silent tear, but groans of anguish; not a weak smile, but ecstatic celebration. Jesus’ emotions are like a mountain river cascading with clear water. My emotions are more like a muddy foam or a feeble trickle.” – G. Walter Hansenin, Christianity Today
How can we have the emotional passion of Jesus for others and for the Father? I think that there are probably many possible things that can help us, including praying that God will give us Jesus’ heart for the world, for the lost, for the hurting – to make us compassionate and also capable of true rejoicing. We also need to learn to see through the surface appearances into the deep realities of eternal destiny and of the human heart so that we can see in others and in situations what Jesus sees in them. It’s hard to be moved with compassion toward someone who is engaging in blatant and offensive sin, but if we could see them in an eternity without Christ, I have a hunch that we’d all be moved to be more loving and compassionate. After all, isn’t that how Jesus saw us before we were saved?
PRAYER: Father, help us to have the heart that beats with the passion of Christ. Help us to have the eyes to see past the hurts others may cause us, the offenses we may suffer at their hands, to see them as marred images of what You intended them to be, and to see the reality of their destination if they continue to live without Jesus. Then, give us the strength to act like Christ towards them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.