Father, Restore My Passion for the Lost
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
With the summer fast approaching, many of us look to take a break from the routines of the school year and enjoy time with family locally or away on vacation. For myself, I also see the summer as a time to reflect on the past year and plan for the upcoming fall.
This spring the Lord has been placing on my heart a greater burden to be more intentional in my responsibility to be obedient to His mandate for my life: Bruce, Go and Make Disciples!
I’m amazed at how easily I can coast in various areas of my spiritual life, including God’s call to evangelize and make disciples. When I’m on spiritual autopilot, I tell myself (and the Lord), “Should You decide to bring someone across my path, I’m willing and able to tell them the good news.”
I confess that when I’m in this passive mindset, it appears that the Lord doesn’t send that many unbelievers across my path, who approach me with a hunger to hear and respond to God’s truth. To be even more frank, when I’m in this selfish default mode, I probably don’t even see the opportunities the Lord provides me on a regular basis, because I’m not actively looking for them!
It is true, there are some relationships where the Lord has called me to actively wait on Him for the next opportunity to share the good news again with a family member or close friend, but the norm in my life should be to “initiate” rather than to “wait”.
Like the slaves in the parable who were sent out by the King to invite everyone they could find on the highway or in the streets to attend His son’s wedding feast (since many of God’s “chosen” from the house of Israel, especially the religious leaders, were refusing His invitation; Matt 21:23, 45-46; 22:1-14), God has called me (in partnership with our church) to be His witness to the perishing, beginning with my own local Jerusalem and ultimately to the ends of the earth (Matt 28:19-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8).
To practically fulfill His Great Commission, I need to have a different mindset on a daily basis: one that is actively pursuing the lost, rather than passively waiting for them to come to me … or walk in the front door of our church. Even as one who serves in ministry full-time, it is easy to allow myself to become isolated from the lost in my neighborhood, while focusing on those within the church. Lord, please change my heart and my desires!
So, Father I ask You once again to:
• Give me Your heart for the lost (The Lord is … not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance, 2 Pet 3:9; God … desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, 1Tim 2:3-4).
• Show me people in my life who don’t know You (family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, those in our church who know about You but don’t truly know You).
• Help me to see the unsaved as You do (lost, Luke 19:10; slave to sin, Rom 6:16-20; by nature children of wrath, having no hope, darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, hard-hearted, calloused, Eph 2:3, 12; 4:17-19; hostile in mind, alienated from God, engaged in evil deeds, Col 1:21)
• Empower me with your indwelling Spirit to boldly initiate telling the lost about Jesus as an act of love, gratitude and obedience. Please remove all fear that I have of being rejected on account of Your name. (Paul exhorted his disciple Timothy, because he possibly had become embarrassed of the gospel message and his imprisoned teacher, “For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 2 Timothy 1:6–9)
• Surround me with those who will challenge and encourage me to step out in faith, since salvation is found in no other name, except that of Your beautiful Son, Jesus. Amen (Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds … encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near, Hebrews 10:23–25; And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved, Acts 4:12)