Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Keep It Humble Part 7: I'm Not Feelin' It


Mind your own business. Keep to yourself. Deal with your own problems. Meet your deadlines. Taxi the children. Cook dinner.

"...rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those that weep." Romans 12:15, and our verse for today as we continue through our series. 

We live in an inward-focused world. The enemy has done a bang-up job of seeing to that. Eat your meals fast. Pray fast. Be out of church before your stomach growls. Leave before the closing prayer, get a jumpstart on your real day. Small groups take too much time away from me. An hour for MOPS meeting cuts into my laundry time.

It’s no wonder we don’t rejoice when others do or weep when they weep. We’re too busy. We care, but not to the extent of action. A quick, “I’m praying!” on Facebook is all we have time for (not that there is a thing wrong with that!) But do you pray? Do you set aside time and actually feel for that person and what they’re going through? Okay, great! You do. Now think about the one you only know in passing from online? Do you have the same heartfelt sympathy for that one as you do the one you know intimately?

Tough questions today, huh? Not a single one I haven’t asked myself. I have not liked some of my answers.

Let’s look at how far we’ve come in our journey through Romans 12:9-21, in the context of humility.

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Romans 12:9-14
I hope you’re applying these verses to your life and I believe if you are, you’re seeing a heart difference.

Rejoicing for those who are rejoicing can be tough when we’re faced with the green-eyed monster. We may want the same things that brother or sister in Christ receives. We can put on our Oscar-losing face—you know the one actors show when they lose at the awards show. A smile, a nod, a proper applause. Inside, they’re not feeling it. We do the same, don’t we? Sometimes it’s genuine and other times, it’s words on a page or spoken from our lips.

But God wants us to rejoice! To be glad. I think it’s normal for us to have feelings of jealousy. I think that’s when we take it to God and voice how we feel, then instead of having a pity party, ask him to fill us with true gladness for our family member.

Weeping. It’s easier to actually feel sympathy as we all have been hurt or lost someone, but how often do we actually mourn with someone in our church we don’t really know? What if we actually have time to attend a funeral for someone’s loved one (I realize we can’t go to every single one) and we don’t? Why? “I don’t really know them or the member of their family they lost. But I’ll pray for God’s peace and comfort.” While praying is good, do those family members in Christ not need our physical support whether they really know us or not?

Inward-focused world. Inward-focus is rooted in pride. Pride is the opposite of humble.

How moved are you? How moved am I?

“Jesus went to the village Nain. His disciples were with him, along with quite a large crowd. As they approached the village gate, they met a funeral procession—a woman’s only son was being carried out for burial. And the mother was a widow. When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, “Don’t cry.” Then he went over and touched the coffin. The pallbearers stopped. He said, “Young man, I tell you: Get up.” The dead son sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother.” Luke 7:10-12

He was visiting the village and saw her. And he stopped. Took time to feel her pain and was moved to action.

So how do we overcome obstacles that keep us from rejoicing? And overcome our own business and insensitivity for those who weep?

The video on Monday hinted to it. I think it boils down to this verse (and ones like it).

“I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.” Psalm 16:8-9

When we spend intimate time with our Lord and set him before us always—before our to-do list, and our self, when he’s close enough to lace his invisible fingers into our right hand, though we don’t see them, we can feel the strength and love—the squeeze—the perfect fit, we will be filled with gladness. With joy. With the love of Christ and the more Christ’s love consumes us, the easier it is to rejoice with others and weep in sincerity.

Will we have moments of jealousy even when we’re deeply rooted in Him? Yes. But they won’t last long. Conviction will swiftly come. And His love will move through you to act with sincere rejoicing.

Time with him humbles us. Remember, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26

Life Application: If you have someone that is rejoicing, but you haven’t been able to rejoice with them, sincerely, pray that God will give you the grace and power to do so, then do something nice for them. Send them a handwritten card, a treat, take them out for coffee if they live nearby and watch God give you the supernatural ability to rejoice as you act in obedience. If you need to focus more on others who are weeping and hurting, ask God to help you see past you and take specific actions to show sympathy.

Prayer: God, we want to love like you. We want to be moved as you are moved. Forgive us for not seeing past our nose and making excuses to keep us from loving hurting family members as well as truly rejoicing with them as well. Give us strength to spend more time soaking in your word, in your love, in your presence so we’ll have your grace, love, and mercy to pour out on others. We give you glory! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Have you ever had a hard time rejoicing for someone?

 How did you work through that?

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for the thoughts today, Jessica.Those verses at the beginning about blessing those who persecute you are such a good reminder (and so hard to do!). It's in our (okay, my) nature to become defensive and try to explain things. But the higher road is to bless and pray for that person. And so true--we're so busy these days we don't get as involved in lives as we used to. Definitely something I need to work on.

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  2. Nothing like getting poked between the eyes and smacked around by the Holy Spirit's conviction through your words first thing in the morning. :) THANK YOU! I'm slowly coming out of my writing bubble that I created while meeting the manuscript deadline, but I need to get a move on! Your life application and prayer provided the kick I needed. Hugs!

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  3. Amazing and thought-provoking post, Jess. I have a bad habit of telling my mom how much I have to do...let's just call it what it is: whining. But my mom asked me recently, "Melissa, have you actually prayed about that to-do list? Asked God to show you what he actually wants you doing rather than what you think you're supposed to be doing?" That was a big challenge...and made me realize how inward-focused I tend to be...when I actually take the time to ask God what HE wants on that to-do list, it so often includes reaching out to other people--taking the time to rejoice/weep/or even just listen. It can feel like that's going to be at the expense of getting MY stuff done...but the amazing thing is, when I'm obedient to him, focused on the tasks HE gives me, the other stuff tends to fall into place too.

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  4. You'[re pushing me Jess:) This is a great post, and it's eating at my selfish side. You know, that side I don't want to admit I have, but I oh so do! Like the application too, because selfishness cannot exist when we're focusing on others. Now off to figure out who I can rejoice with or serve:)

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