I have found that it is impossible for me to cheerfully and willingly surrender my desires to the Lord and sacrificially serve others unless two things happen: (a) I have a fresh revelation of how much God loves me and has sacrificed for me, and (b) I ask Him for His power to surrender my desires.
Something once came up that gave me insight into this. I was also reminded that compassion comes through empathy and understanding. I have two friends that I’ll call Sue and Jane. Sue, Jane and I have been friends for many years. Many times, Jane has sacrificially helped us, but it seemed to me like Sue never really saw or appreciated the sacrifices. Sometimes I would try to help Sue see it, but it didn’t seem to register with her.
A situation came up where Sue and I would have an opportunity to serve Jane, but it would require a sacrifice mainly on Sue’s part because she would have to give up doing something she really wanted to do. I decided I would just pray for her, but I was feeling upset that she wouldn’t be willing to make that sacrifice for Jane after all that Jane had done for us. I asked the Lord to help me forgive Sue for her selfishness. Instantly this thought came to my mind: I guess that’s just a tiny taste of how the Lord feels when I’m unwilling to sacrifice for Him in light of all that Jesus has done for me. We all struggle with surrendering our desires, even for those we love. Instantly forgiveness and compassion for Sue flooded my heart.
Note the difference between my sinful, critical reaction and God’s merciful compassion. He was merciful to both Sue and me. He understood Sue’s struggle in surrendering her desires and He understood how blind I was to my own sins (like a critical spirit). In answer to my request for His help in forgiving Sue, God revealed my own struggle with selfishness and laying down my personal desires. Instantly I had empathy and compassion for Sue.
Sweet Lord, I truly want to reflect Your mercy and compassion to others. Please continually remind me to ask for Your help in overcoming my pride and selfishness and flood my heart with Your compassion. Help me to surrender my desires and bring them into alignment with Yours. I want to live the victorious life in the power of Your Spirit. Thank You. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen!