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Devotional - week of November 20, 2016


THE MINISTRY OF EMOTIONAL PARTICIPATION

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:15

With this command, the Lord tells us to participate in the emotions of others—in their joy and in their grief.

What believer has not been so full of joy that he had to tell someone what had happened? What believer has not had such grief he had to unburden his heart to someone? Even Jesus took Peter, James, and John apart in the Garden of Gethsemane to tell them of the heaviness of His heart.

Unfortunately, we have all had chilling and disappointing experiences of sharing a joy or a burden with someone who responded with indifference. Such an experience leaves us with an empty feeling and wishing we had kept our emotions to ourselves.

At other times, we have had the fulfilling experience of a Christian friend rejoicing with us in our joyfulness and weeping with us in our grief.

Our own experiences have shown us that “emotional participation” with others is a needed and genuine ministry.

However, we cannot participate in the emotions of others simply by deciding to do so. We can engage in emotional participation only when we are filled with the love of God.

Without God’s love in our hearts, such things as jealousy and self-centeredness produced by our flesh may result in our weeping while others are rejoicing and rejoicing while others are weeping.

The only way we can fully obey the command to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep is by living out the new-creation life.

It is by experiencing the crucifixion of our flesh and the filling of the Holy Spirit that jealousy and self-centeredness will be out of power and we will be filled with divine love.

In that spiritual condition, we will rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. We will have a meaningful ministry of “emotional participation” with others in their joys and in their sorrows.