When people look at you, what do they see? Do they see Jesus smiling back at them from behind your eyes? You can’t help but do this if you have a firm grip on just how kind and gracious God has been to you. If you really understand the depth of God’s favor and protection…His plan and purpose for your life…the victory over sin and death He has afforded you…how can you do anything but manifest His love through you?
I used to be a long distance runner…and during those hours on the back roads, I’d yell at God. At the time, I was in the middle of a very personal hell and wanted God to know just how scared and powerless I felt. In my head, I knew the Lord was well aware of the situation…but in my heart, I needed to verbalize the pain. Baring my soul out loud to God was a way I could express feelings I had never spoken to anyone…no one. Putting words to pent-up fear and terror helped me gain perspective. By listening to my own words of anguish, my plight was somehow validated within me. Yes, I yelled at God, but He quietly listened to every word I spilled out…every inner most feelings I couldn’t tell anyone else. For God was there and He listened…He didn’t judge or admonish…He listened.
Do you have an attitude of gratitude towards God? Is your perspective colored by thankfulness for what the Lord has done in your life? It’s then you fully realize the compassion and love God has lavished on you… and that you have been called and set apart for His work. For out of that profound gratitude will come a desire to serve and to live a life worthy of the calling. (Eph. 4:1)
We humans have such short memories. When life is going well…we put God in the corner – kind of like disaster insurance…there just in case we need it. And when we get ourselves in trouble, we call out to Him for help…only to quickly forget again when life quiets down. This roller coaster ride isn’t what God desires for us. He wants to be our focus in good times and bad…in happiness and sadness…in calm and chaos.
Up on Mount Sinai, Moses had received the first set of tablets, engraved by God with the Ten Commandments. But when he came down from the mountain, he found the people engaged in an orgy. It says in Exodus 32:15-20 that, “his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces.” Moses allowed his anger to get the best of him…but even after messing up big time…God still used him. The Lord’s willingness to rewrite His Law on new stone tablets was a demonstration of His infinite mercy towards us…even when we mess up.
No matter how we work and strive to live a perfect life…we’ll never come close. For in Titus 3:5 it says, “He saved us not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy.” God’s wonderful and unexplainable mercy is gifted to us before we are even aware of our need. Malachi 1:2-3 states, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” To further illustrate this profound concept, Jesus tells us in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” The Lord’s compassion and kindness towards us is beyond our mental capacity…His desire to save us, beyond our comprehension.
To walk in love means that the love of God has become so ingrained in you that it has become part of your personality. I come from a long line of stoic German farmers who are not huggers, so when I became a Nurse, I had to train myself to touch people…sometimes in very intimate ways, in potentially embarrassing procedures. And over the years, showing compassion and God’s love through touch just became part of me. We all need to determine to walk in love. To respect rather than disregard…to forgive rather than condemn…to show mercy rather than harshness…to be kind rather than cruel.