Christians and Advocacy: Understanding Isaiah 61
Isaiah 61 gives us an amazing depiction of God’s heart. Reading this should stir us to act out his love for the most heartbroken and lost in our communities.
God is always drawn to the least among us
Throughout the Bible, we can see God giving His attention to the humble and afflicted. From Moses, who could not talk properly, to Gideon who was the least of his tribe, God worked with flawed humans to communicate His love to the world. Key figures such as David, Peter, and Mary who were underestimated by so many.
In fact, even the entire nation of Israel was heavily persecuted! Yet, God called them His chosen people. Let that encourage you today. You have something to offer this world that no-one else has!
These examples and more echo clearly the sentiments in Isaiah 61. When we focus our attention on what He is focused on: the brokenhearted, humble, and afflicted we will be effective. And we will continue in His good work in the power of His love.
The reason why God is drawn to the weakest is because that is the way to show true selfless love. Think about it. When you love someone who has no way to repay you, how do you react? In reality, the love you show them is a love that seeks nothing in return. There is no distraction of wondering when they will return the favor. There is a special sweetness that comes with the freedom of knowing that they cannot do anything for you in return and your gesture to them is simply a way of blessing them.
If we’re honest, human love almost always seeks something in return. Romantic partners receive love back from each other. Friends benefit from having similar hobbies and interests. Children love their parents, often resulting in their parents giving them financial aid.
God shows a higher love than that, In turn, he invites us to also show that higher love. That love is called agape, and it is a love that loves simply because it is capable of loving. It is a love that continuously gives and expects nothing in return. This love that led Jesus to the cross and that is continually offered to us all by our Heavenly Father. It is the perfect love from the perfect One.
Selfless love can only come from Him
It is impossible for us to show this truly selfless love to the afflicted out of our own motivation. We are prone to always find a payoff from showing love. So,for the love we show to truly be selfless, it needs to have Christ as the center. We can only discover His agape for the brokenhearted when we realize He has agape for us. When we each take a personal moment to acknowledge His love, thank Him for it and embrace it, He fills us with a love we never could have known, and, by His grace, can start to show this selfless love for others.
In Isaiah 61, God gives us some powerful and very specific promises that can fill us with hope. These promises center around favor and comfort. They focus on restoration and justice. Through the detailed description of these promises, God makes it clear that He will set right what is wrong.
There are two sides to this. First, things are not as they should be. If they were, God would not need to promise this restoration and justice. Second, He is the one who makes things as they should be. We step out in faith to fulfill the great commission, but at the end of the day, He is the one who fixes the situations we encounter.
How to live out Isaiah 61
The best way for us to start living out Isaiah 61 is to start turning our attention to who is identified in the chapter. In our daily life, we should actively ask ourselves who around us is mourning and brokenhearted. Who’s life is in ruins, and who’s in need of justice? These are the people we need to reach out to.
Do you struggle to know what to say to these people? Often there are no words that we can say that will make their circumstances easier. But what we can share with them are the promises God gives us in Isaiah 61. Desperate people just need hope, something to cling to and help them not give up. Sharing God’s promises can give them this strength because the truth of God pierces the depths of our souls and awakens our hope if we allow Him to awaken us inside. People in dire situations often embrace this offered hope with open arms.
Serving the broken-hearted is the greatest service we can experience. Serving them does not need to be daunting. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, our simple gestures can be used by our God to pour selfless love and hope into their souls and refresh their resolve to keep going, since God carries us through it all.
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