September 14, 2020

Love Sees Potential

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 14, 2020

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring one another. Romans 12:10, NLT      

My friend David is a remarkable person. We first met about 25 years ago, and I remember being immediately struck by his love for Jesus and for other people. He’s a man who doesn’t just talk about being a loving person, but puts it in practice—with family, friends, and business associates. And he shows that love to fellow believers and unbelievers as well. It was about 10 years ago when he approached me with a prayer request. His son, Nathan, had strayed from the faith. This grieved him very deeply, so he and I began to pray for Nathan. While he was saddened by some of the choices his son had made, he never stopped loving him unconditionally. His disappointment never diluted his total acceptance and love for Nathan. Here’s what I learned from years of observing David’s prayers and love: When you sincerely and fervently pray for someone, your love and compassion for them deepens and grows stronger.

Five years ago, David and I started a book group with Nathan and his business partner, reading books that would help us all grow in our leadership skills. We’d get together and discuss what we’d learned. Many of these books were by or about Christian leaders in business, sports, and other occupations. We all learned a lot, and over time began to see a change growing in Nathan. The seeds of love that his father had planted through prayer began to take root in Nathan’s life. Our practice of love and vulnerability in the group became a powerful influence on his life. He came to trust Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He began to make better choices, including getting the help he needed for his alcohol abuse. Nathan’s change in his life is nothing short of remarkable! Because David had persistently and selflessly prayed for his son’s heart, his own heart grew in love for his prodigal son; his son was transformed by the love of his father and, even more, by the love of his heavenly Father. 

To care means first of all to empty our own cup and allow the other to come close to us. 

Henri Nouwen

When I don’t take the time to care and pray for people, my entire focus tends to be on the imperfections of others. With that kind of focus, I can’t have much impact on their lives. But if I see this as an opportunity to love Jesus through them, it makes all the difference. It is in our acts for “the least of these” that we show our love for Jesus because we see Jesus in them. Seeing Jesus in others changes the way we view them—no longer as a distraction or a problem or an interruption, but as someone deserving of our love and care. What we do for others is a direct reflection of how much love we have for Jesus. If we decide to love others the way we love Jesus, we’ll see them through new eyes—eyes of love. Real love sees Jesus in others.

In Matthew 25 Jesus speaks about the sheep and the goats, and His conclusion is stunning. Those who cared for Him in practical ways would be blessed. The disciples asked Jesus for clarification, so He explained:

“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you as 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).

Prayer

Dear Lord, give me spiritual eyes to see you at work in others, so I can love them wholeheartedly and completely, in Jesus’ name. Amen.


Application

Who needs me to stop criticizing and start caring with comfort and patient love?


Related Reading

Psalm 133:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; Hebrews 13:1; 1 Peter 1:22

Check out Boyd’s newest 40 day devotional book: Wisdom For Living


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When you sincerely and fervently pray for someone, your love and compassion for them deepens and grows stronger. #wisdomhunters #potential #truth #Jesus


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