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Monday, July 16, 2012

You Have to Really Love Jesus...(Fourth in a series)

32000 people is a lot. That's a lot of people to share your faith with. A lot of people to spend the extra hours with, stay awake on a cross-country flight with, write letters back and forth to, and a lot of people to spend some sleepless hours in prayer for.
You have to really want to be a soul winner to achieve that sort of number.
You have to really believe in a literal hell and that belief has to drive your desire to prevent people from going there.
You have to really love people if you're going to expend the effort it takes to reach that sort of number.
And you have to really love Jesus.
What else could give you strength to do something like this? What else could give you the focus it takes to memorize scripture, to pray for hours, to think out the answers to possible questions long before they are asked? The drive to research apologetics and find a suitable response to the atheist, and the skeptic, and the hurting.
Is it the belief in hell by itself that motivates us? No...because even then we are left to imagine what that awful place is like, even the vivid picture painted in the Bible does it no justice. Then too, there are people we meet that even in our most compassionate selves they rub us the wrong way and we aren't as zealous about their eternal destination as we are for others.
Is it the love of People? No of course not. People will fail us and our love for them and burden for them will wax and wane as our emotions dictate sometimes.
To be a consistently evangelistic believer we need all of these things. But we need something more. We need a deep-down, consuming love for Jesus. We need a real, authentic, real-deal relationship with Him. Or else we don't really know what we are talking about. And our reasons for our urgency become trite and bumper-sticker-ish. We can get our priority out of whack even if soul winning is our priority. When our first response is that of providing a "fire-escape" we tend to trivialize the salvation experience just a bit. Do I want the lost to come to Jesus because it prevents them from spending eternity in hell? Yes by all means!
But what I really want...because I love what He wants. Jesus died for those lost folks too. Just as he died for me. He longs for them. He crossed eternity to lay down his life for everyone. Not just a "select elect". If I love Him as I claim to, it will yield two undeniable fruits. (1) I will want what makes Him happy because I love Him. And what Jesus wants is for us to preach the Gospel. All of us. All who know Him as Savior and name the name. Our first job is to win the lost. That makes Him happy. He came that all might have life and all might have it more abundantly. "For God so loved the world...that whosoever..." Not some of them. Not most of them. Everyone who believes. Everyone who calls out to Jesus and accepts his gift of life and His place as Lord. He loved them more than we can comprehend. Because of that (2) I will want others to know the wonder of a relationship with Jesus. Is my faith real? is it really life saving and life changing? Is this love affair with the King of Kings really what I say it is? Is it even 1/ 100th what I say it is? If so, then I should be virtually gushing to anyone within earshot about how wonderful Jesus is and how much they need Him. Not just for eternity but for right now! If I am madly in love with Jesus of Nazareth and if I have truly found the pearl of great price and if this faith really is an active, alive, vital, life-giving relationship with a loving God through a living could I not tell everyone I see? How can I hold it back if I love Him like I say I do? The words ought to flow from my lips like a songbirds whistle. I had a friend here in Nashville who passed away a few years ago. His name was Terry. He was much older than me and was a father figure to me. There are many things I recall about him but one of the most vivid memories is how Terry would always steer every conversation toward Jesus. You could be talking about horses (which was a passion of his) or baseball or old cars or airplanes but eventually you'd be talking about Jesus. Because that was where Terry's heart was. His first love was Jesus and it always showed, eventually.
If I truly love Jesus it will show. If I want to be a consistent, consumed, committed, soul-winning believer I will be so in love with Jesus that it flavors every conversation. We need to fall more deeply in love with him so that we can be more ready and wanting to share that love with a lost world.

1 comment:

Monica said...

Thank you Craig for this. This spoke to my spirit. I feel lately that my love for Jesus is far far away from what it should be. Thank you again for sharing.Monica