Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "There Is A Green Hill Far Away"1 (Lyrics)
When I began in ministry many years ago, I quickly realized that I didn't have enough love for all the people in my congregations. I cried out to God for His love. It was then that I experienced an overwhelming flood of loving care for the people that I encountered every day — a love that accepted them as they were, that reached out to their needs, that drew them closer to God, that saw them as they were and also what they could be in Christ. This for me was a turning point in my life.
In 1967, Dusty Springfield had a hit song called The look of love, about the way two people look at each other when they are in love. I was thinking about a different one: the "look of love" that was in Jesus' eyes. Mark 10:21 says that Jesus looked at the rich young ruler "and loved him". In Matthew 9:36 and Mark 6:34, Jesus looked at the crowd following Him and "had compassion on them" … a look of love. In John 15:9, Jesus says, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you." (NIV)
Jesus stood out in a crowd. There was something different, something special about Him, something compelling, attracting people to Him. When He looked at them, He looked with eyes that saw everything. It was a gaze that could have been judgemental, critical, negative, condemning, if it were not for the love that came straight from the Father's heart. We often think of God as judge. He is. But He is love. Jesus' harshest words were for so-called religious people who focused so much on law that they judged and condemned everyone but themselves. Our souls are naked under God's gaze. He sees it all — and He loves us.
Now, do we have the look of love that Jesus commanded? "Love as I have loved." "Love one another." "Love your neighbour as yourself." How we need God's love in our hearts to love the people that we see every day: the stranger, the neighbour, the friend, the unlovable. We need eyes to see as He did, to see and to love. Do you have the look of God's love in your eyes?
This is often my prayer: "Lord, let me see through Your eyes, and love with Your love." We can know that prayer is answered:
1 John 5:14-15 – This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him. (NIV)
God never commands what He does not provide. His will is for us to love others, so when we ask for Him to pour out His love into our hearts, we can believe that He has done it, and then act accordingly.
Our prayer: Lord, forgive me for the pride, the condemnation, the indifference in my heart for everyday people. Pour Your love into my heart to cleanse me and to fill me with that overflowing love. Open my eyes so that I may see as You see. Amen.