God’s desire is to take us from glory to glory, faith to faith and strength to strength (2 Corinthians 3:18). God created us in His image, and His desire is that we would live a life that continually experiences growth in who He made us to be. God carefully, wonderfully and fearfully hand molded each one of us in our mother’s womb with a specific purpose in mind – a purpose full of influence, blessings, significance and power (Psalm 139:14). And just as we must grow up as children, coming to understand how we are to live as adults, God calls us to embark on the same journey regarding us growing in our understanding of who He created us to be. Unfortunately, as we live in a fallen world, with an enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy our lives, we face setbacks and barriers, limiting us from experiencing the fullness of God’s glory, grace and mercy; and while God is earnestly seeking ways to release His presence and love into our lives, our journey into breakthrough begins when we witness the compassion in God’s eyes. In this week’s message, Pastor Tracy discusses how the simplicity of Jesus’ compassion towards broken, hurting, sick and weary people – people just like us – experienced breakthrough when they witnessed the compassion in God’s heart and abandoned the image society gave them, embracing the image in which God made them.
God sent His only Son so all who would believe in Him would experience eternal life, escaping eternal judgement and separation (John 3;16). Jesus’ death on the cross was the ransom payment needed to free us from our captivity to sin and penalty to death (Romans 6:23). Yet God didn’t just send His Son to this earth so we would experience a life in heave, but also so we would experience the fullness of the life He intended us to live here on earth. Jesus came to reveal the Father. To destroy the misconceptions that God is far from us, that He is a punisher for everything we we do wrong, and a God who takes pleasure in judging His people. God sent Jesus so we would experience Him as a God who is near to us, a gentle shepherd and a compassionate lover. But He also sent Jesus to reveal that as He is, so are we (1 John 4:17). God sent Jesus so we would see we are meant to be like Jesus.
However, those around us often influence how we view ourselves, causing us to believe our lives are something contrary to God’s design. Words of judgment, condemnation and lack of value cause us to self identify with the unworthiness and brokenness associated with such statements. We begin to believe are undeserving of all God has for us. We believe we can’t possibly be one who will change the world. And sometimes, we even compensate for the brokenness in our hearts by allowing pride to establish an identity, which suppresses the value of those around us. This false identity of which we have been created to be is the foundation Satan uses to create barriers in our lives that limit us from breaking through the brokenness of this world and into the glory God so desperately wants to lavish upon us.
Yet as Jesus spoke to the broken, hurting and desperate people He was moved with compassion as He saw them not as sinners, but as lost sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). He reached out touching the lepers. He forgave a lame man’s sin before He told the man to get up and walk (Luke 5:20). He looked at a man who said, “if you are willing, I know you can heal men,” and responded with the eternal desire in His heart to heal the broken, set the captives free and bring sight to the blind. In all of these moments, Jesus spoke to the barriers of each person’s identity. Through His compassion, Jesus reminded the sick, leper and lost they were cherished in the Father’s heart and made for much more than society told them. And as these men experienced the depth of Jesus’ compassion, they experienced great breakthrough, entering into purpose, power, grace and love. We experience breakthrough in the same manner. When we allow God to speak to our broken identity – an identity that resonates with the weariness of our souls, the feeling of unworthiness and stressful burdens of striving to make it through – we give God access to break down the burden of our false identity and replace it with the beautiful, intricate details of who He mad us to be. The weight of not measuring up is stripped from us as we see all God wants is our heart. The brokenness of our heart is healed as we’re reaffirmed we have been made to bring light into our word, be the lender and not the borrower, have a family who serves the Lord and experience peace which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). It is in these moments when God’s presence and power floods our situations and carries us beyond what the world speaks of us and into the wonder of heaven.
But our breakthrough doesn’t stop at simply receiving God’s compassionate heart. It continues when we love our neighbor as ourselves, when we invite God’s compassion to live and breath inside us for the sake of releasing God’s goodness into the world around us. Just as our breakthrough isn’t for heaven, our breakthrough isn’t just for us. God carries us into greater places of prosperity, peace, freedom and power so we may share the restorative power we’ve experienced with those who are broken, weary and sick. God carries us into breakthrough so we may say the same words to the last that He spoke to us – words which bandage their wounds as we say, “I believe in you. I love you. And your past doesn’t determine your future.” Loving our neighbors as ourselves and taking personal responsibility of leading them towards a God who is merciful and gracious allows us to see humanity as God does, while giving us the wisdom and strength to speak to those who are beaten down, having been stripped of their identity. It positions us to live a life of constant breakthrough, as we not longer seek breakthrough for ourselves but for everyone God came to save.
- What breakthrough are you asking God for?
- What barriers may be in your way from receiving that breakthrough? Do you fully believe it is something God wants to give you?
- What false identity of God do you have that may be limiting you from walking into your breakthrough? What has caused you to see God as such?
- Do you see yourself as a son or daughter worthy of receiving God’s love and grace? If yes, how can walking in your identity help carry you into greater manifestations of God’s presence in your everyday life? If no, what has caused you to see yourself as such?
- Why is loving your neighbor as yourself so important to understanding your identity in Christ? How does it allow you to walk in greater blessings?
- Are there any people you are constantly surrounded by that you have a hard time loving? What can you do to help soften your heart towards them and take personal responsibility over seeing their lives transformed and full of love?
Thank God for always being with you. Thank Him for being a compassionate God who only has good plans for your life, plans for a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Praise God for creating you in His image and desiring you to be like Jesus. Ask God to come into your heart and continue to illuminate the barriers that may be in the way of your breakthrough. Praise God that His promises are yes and amen and that He provides all your needs according to His riches and glory (Philippians 4:19). Ask the Holy Spirit to help give you patience as you await the full manifestation of your breakthrough. Ask the Holy Spirit to help build your trust in knowing that even if you don’t see what God is doing, He is fighting for you in the unseen realm. Pray that God would give you the courage and strength to love your neighbor as yourself. Thank Him for moments where you can go out of your way and share the love of Christ towards those who are broken, wear and sick.
Help your group identify themselves as God’s sons and daughters. Reinforce their identity in Christ by leading them to scripture that speaks to any insecurities they have regarding how they see themselves. Encourage your group members that our faith is not founded in our feelings or what we see, but rather in God’s nature of being a good and faithful Father. Encourage your group to see that in moments when we may feel like our breakthrough is far away, it is often times closer than we believe. Lead your group members to specific scripture enforcing God’s specific promise over the breakthrough they are hoping for. Encourage your group members that as they have compassion over their neighbors, coworkers, family members and strangers, they will begin to experience a greater level of love and compassion from the Father.