Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3 NLT)
Do you ever feel unloving? Like everything starts to annoy you and you find yourself not even trying to be kind to others? Your younger sibling or your child asks you a question (or maybe a zillion questions in a row) that you really just don’t feel like answering, so you snap at them? Or everything in you wants to ignore a certain person because they seem like a pest and you don’t want them “wasting your time” with their incessant chatter about virtually nothing?
I’m ashamed to say that I sometimes don’t love the way that I should.
A few days ago, I felt myself slumped into one of my gloomy moods that usually results from not studying the Word as much as I should. Even one day without intimate prayer and Bible study with my Lord leaves me powerless to act as He desires me to act. My human nature is so terribly unkind, uncaring, and unspeakably selfish.
So there I sat on my bed, Bible open to 1 Peter where I had currently been reading through. But I couldn’t get into it right then. My brain wouldn’t allow me to concentrate on everything I was reading so I decided to skip over to I Corinthians chapter 13, which is always a great reminder of what love is and how to practice it. And I knew that my heart needed a good dose of teaching on love.
But ya know what one of the great things about the Bible is? The entire book is all about love. The whole plot, the whole point is God’s unending love for mankind since the beginning of creation. And that day, although I never made it to Corinthians, God had a few things to show me about His favorite subject.
In my page flipping back from 1 Peter to 1 Corinthians, I found myself hooked in to Ephesians chapter four. Something about the chapter heading must have caught my eye and I began reading. I marveled at how closely it paralleled where I had been reading in 1 Peter 3:8-12.
Both speak of humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance, peace, unity, and love. Both refer to these qualities as the “calling” of believers. Ephesians says that these are the manner “worthy of our calling” in which we are to walk. I Peter says that we are to bless others in order to inherit a blessing for which reason we are called.
We are called to these things.
It’s no secret that God has called us to love, to show kindness and gentleness, and to genuinely care for others. But how often do we overlook the absence of these qualities in our lives? How often do we allow any fruit of the Spirit in our lives to whither, turning us into rotten individuals?
If we are walking daily with the Lord, it shouldn’t happen at all, at least not to the extent that I described in the beginning of this article. But the problem is, we sometimes forget that we do not have the capacity to exhibit these characteristics. On our own, we don’t know how to love … we don’t know how to look at any random person and see them through the eyes of Christ.
As I was considering this, the words to Brandon Heath’s song “Give Me Your Eyes” flooded my mind with all new meaning. And with head bowed on folded hands I made the chorus to that song my prayer:
“Give me Your eyes for just one second, give me Your eyes so I can see, everything that I keep missing. Give me Your love for humanity. Give me Your arms for the brokenhearted, the ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me Your eyes so I can see.”
In order to care when I only feel like worrying about myself, I must see others through Jesus’ eyes. He doesn’t see anyone as a nuisance or a pest … He sees them as His beloved children. When you look at others through a Heavenly pair of eyes, even people who are unlovable or people who annoy you will be seen through the light of God’s love.
I discovered first hand what happens when you plead for God to fill your heart with His love. Suddenly you have a compassion that wasn’t there before. The next time you encounter a situation that would have annoyed you, instead of getting upset you see the people involved in a different way. You care about their feelings. You desire to help them, to teach them, and to love them with a Godly love.
I’ve prayed this prayer before, and I’m certain that I’ll pray it many times in the future when I find my heart in a place where it shouldn’t be. And the next time you don’t think you have what it takes to love, just remember what God’s Word calls you to.
And through His miraculous power, God will give you His eyes to see people anew and His heart to love them like you couldn’t before. —Amanda Brogan
“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” —1 Peter 3:8-9 (NAS)