My Journal for Today: Yesterday in my devotional journal I wrote how Jesus, in the midst of horrible agony and strain on the cross, stress which certainly is beyond our comprehension, was still able to focus on the spiritual needs of the thieves who hung there beside Him on Golgotha. And now, in today’s verse and from Dr. MacArthur’s devotional in Strength for Today, we read of our Lord, hanging there on that tree, speaking of His concern for the temporal needs of His mother, Mary.
I must admit that this is very convicting for me. Usually when circumstances make it difficult for me physically or emotionally, I have to admit that I lose my focus on the needs of others and I become very selfish. My wife could relate that when I get sick or have physical pain, I get very wrapped up in my suffering and often a “pity party” ensues; and the last thing I end up thinking about would be the needs of those around me. And yet, in the most dire emotional and physical pain imaginable, Jesus tenderly and unselfishly reaches out to see that the needs of His mother will be protected. What a model of selflessness we have in our Lord.
And though this model may be almost impossible for this humble Christian to reenact … or even imagine for that matter … it is still one to which I can (no, I must!) aspire. It may seem like “mission impossible;” but I believe the truth of Matt 17: 20, which says that, with my faith, nothing is impossible for God. And I also have the teaching of Paul, exhorting me onward from 1st Cor. 10: 13, which tells me that no matter what the challenge (i.e., test, trial, temptation, or tribulation) God is faithful to provide a way for me to endure and also from Paul [in 2nd Cor. 12: 9] that I have the strength from God’s very sufficient grace to do what it takes reach out and help others … yes, even when I would rather think of myself first.
May we all, therefore, recognize His truth … that God, the Holy Spirit, will continue throughout our lives to shape us into the Christlikeness we may have trouble envisioning for ourselves (but take the time to mediate on Phil. 1: 6 and Eph. 3: 20). God can and will do for our character much more in reshaping us into Christ’s image than we can ever imagine. But we must have faith that God can, and will, reform our character of compassion into that exhibited even by Christ on the cross.
My Prayer Today: O Lord, may I be ready, when tested, to be able to be compassionate to others. Amen