This week, holy week, is a time that causes me to think more deeply about my life in Christ; about what I am doing, and why am I doing it. Years before my involvement in ministry I had the blessing of being directed to read Mark Batterson’s Primal. At the time the words were beautiful and powerful; but they were without context. Now, as I reread the words, my heart aches as I read the following:
Go back to that place where God opened your eyes and broke your heart with compassion for others. Go back to that place where the glory of God flooded your soul and left you speechless with wonder. God back to that place where thoughts about God filled your mind with holy curiosity. Go back to that place where a God-given dream caused a rush of adrenaline that filled you with supernatural energy.
I read that and I simply have to pause. His glory literally stops me in my tracks and at once I am again the brand new Christian that first discovered the wonders and supernatural energy I felt when I came to know Christ.
John 15 tells us that we are the vine and our Father is the vinedresser. He takes away the branches that bear no fruit and prunes those branches that bear fruit so that they will bear more fruit. He commands – Abide in me, and I in you; as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless you abide in me.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15: 9, 10
And so if we abide in Christ and Christ abides in us, Christ’s heart abides in our heart. And we cannot help but to love as Christ loves. Those things that break the heart of Christ therefore break our heart. And His heart breaks for the suffering, the victims, the fatherless.
If Christ abides in us, our capacity for compassion becomes that of the Lord’s. And that compassion far exceeds our human capacity for compassion. Why? Because The Father identifies with pain and suffering because He watched His Son suffer and die on the cross.
We each have a story of how God called us to love and serve orphans. Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit we have chosen to obey. But even in that obedience, there is nothing more delightful, awe-inspiring, and disarming than the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And from that joy, wonder, and heartache comes our God-given passion. And because Christ suffered on the cross, that becomes God-given compassion; for our hearts are broken because it breaks God’s heart. And because of that God-ordained compassion, we are able to love His children far beyond our human capacity.