“Called to Comfort”
Your heart, if allowed, can become overwhelmed and filled with distress by the news and social media that is presented daily dominated with chaos and tragedy. For some it’s an unexpected catastrophe, for others it’s just another scoop of trouble that is laid on top of their already disturbed life. If there was ever a need for a Spirit-filled, led and empowered body of Christ, it’s now!
The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:17-18a, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be (being) filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another…” You can’t take one thing away and not fill it with something else. For example, if you go on a fast and say, “I’m not going to eat lunch for a month,” or “I’m getting off social media for a time” and not replace it with prayer and meditation of the word of God, you’ve done nothing but frustrated your now starving body and caused your friends to think you went missing. Okay, I’m totally kidding on the last part, but the point is true. Too many times we say, “Don’t do this and don’t do that,” yet fail to instruct what we are to replace the “Don’t” with. Paul was saying don’t allow an act of the flesh to dominate you, but rather be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit continuously.
Jesus, after returning from His time of temptation in the wilderness, goes into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and begins to read from Isaiah 61:1-3. I want you to see this from Isaiah instead of Luke or Matthew chapter 4 because of the wording. In short it says, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to (action, or duty) preach, heal, liberate, give sight, remove oppression, and proclaim restoration and the reclaiming of everything lost and/or stolen.” Then at the bottom of verse 2 it says, “To comfort all who mourn.”
Comfort is an attribute of compassion and lovingkindness that is ever ready to console those in calamity. It is when we are aware and actively communing with the Holy Spirit that we are consistently filled and made ready for this action. The Father sent the Helper, also known as the Comforter, to make us ready for this purpose. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” In short, we are comforted and rescued by the Holy Spirit in our trial for the sole purpose of taking that comfort and the anointing provided to work God’s perfect will in the lives of others.
As I mentioned earlier from Ephesians 5, speaking is a result of being filled and staying full of the Spirit. There is no such thing as being filled with the Spirit and not speaking—they’re connected. A sure way of knowing one has been filled with the Holy Spirit is when one speaks in tongues. Another sign of being full of the Spirit is prophecy. We see this in 1 Corinthians 14:3-4, “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.” We must remember that prophecy is not telling the future or telling someone whom to marry, it’s speaking by the Spirit of God His words to build up, strengthen and provide relief to the hearer. The Spirit, assisting those in times of crisis, calls us to speak words of comfort. I’m not saying that words alone are sufficient; I know and you know action is required. But action without the Spirit is nothing more than a pat on the back that provides natural substance but no fortitude of hope for the future. One of my favorite verses is found in Proverbs 12:25 which reads, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”
My encouragement for you this month is don’t underestimate words spoken to a friend or stranger in need. When prompted by the Spirit, SPEAK WORDS OF COMFORT and bring endurance to their heart and mind. It will be the anointed words you speak that break the hold of the enemy and places them back in a position of expectation and dominion. We are all called to comfort those around us with the comfort by which we ourselves have been comforted.