Loving what He loves
“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?"
The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." -Matthew 25:37-40 (NIV)
We've been talking about Abiding and how Abiding leads to Transformation. This is pretty logical - we become what we surround ourselves with, what we immerse ourselves in. We learn it, we grow to appreciate it, we adapt our lives and schedules to accommodate it, it becomes part of our identity.
When that something is a person, and the immersion involves a relationship, the change runs deeper. We begin to adopt the characteristics of that individual. Their perspective becomes important to us. Admiration develops and we want to emulate their behaviors. And when that person is the Son of God, the metamorphosis is more dramatic still, aided by the Spirit of Christ inside of us, who is given freedom to work in our heart and mind.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. -Matthew 9:36 (NLT)
We start to love the things He loves. And what does Jesus love? People. This is a challenge for us, because while we are in this mortal body, there will always be a remnant of what scripture calls "the flesh". The flesh is afraid of being taken advantage of. The flesh has a hard time admitting fault. The flesh feels a need to hold something back for itself, because... well, you just never know.
That's why Transformation is a slow, steady process. We have to be intentional about Abiding, because the flesh wants to bail out when the progress is so incremental. But if we are patient, and commit ourselves to that process, the Spirit does His work. We start to see people the way Jesus sees them. It's messy and clunky and terribly inconvenient. It leads us into doing things we would never otherwise do. And it's an indicator that we are, indeed, being transformed.
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” -Luke 10:36-37 (NIV)