I have observed that there are three stages in the way we carry out the Lord’s great commission to preach the Gospel to every creature (for me, at least, this is true). The first is when we are newly-converted and our souls are ablaze and we’re overflowing with eagerness to share what we’ve just received to whoever would care to listen. I remember a preacher who was a former communist say that he once rough handled a fellow jeepney passenger just because the man didn’t want to receive Jesus and His offer of salvation. Although this is a true story, it’s definitely taking it to the extreme. But you know what I mean: in the beginning, we’re all fired-up in proclaiming the Gospel because we know it’s the way to go.
Then, the years go by and we find the fire slowly dying, until we realize we’ve already embraced this new thinking: It’s hard to win souls, and if they don’t listen, why bother? Maybe it’s not as straightforward as this. Like me, for instance, I still continue to share the Gospel with loved ones and friends, but I know that deep inside, I’m tired trying. Like, I can no longer think deeper about what would come of their souls if they died without receiving Christ.
But then, the Spirit will start stirring us into action again: do what the Lord commands us to do and that is to win souls. So, for a time, I had this struggle within me: what would prod me to really win souls, to really care for others’ salvation? We can always try, just to say that we’re doing it, but we know we’re fooling ourselves. After all, to win souls from the clutches of sin and the devil is a very serious matter. It requires prayer, even fasting. It requires our time, energy, hearts, and sacrifice. It requires our genuine love.
So, I’ve been praying for God to put the desire in my heart, to put the love for the salvation of souls into my heart and keep it burning. Because I found out that it’s not enough that we know we were commanded. The desire must be real for us to succeed. I also needed to analyze why I should do it, beside the knowledge that I might be rewarded when I do it. Because, you know what? Even the thought of a reward or a blessing might not suffice to drive us!
This is the answer I got from the ever-faithful Lord: we do it because every soul is important to Him. Your neighbor is important to Him. Your employer or co-employee, your friend, mother, cousin, your whoever is nearest you who doesn’t have Jesus Christ in his/her life yet – they are all important to Jesus! He wants to save them, to bring them to Him, because He loves them all! Just as He loves you and me. If we’re not doing what we are commanded to do, imagine the Lord’s sadness and disappointment. Imagine His thirst for those souls. Yes, He wants the redeemed, you and me, to be His feet and hands and mouths. He wants us to do it for Him and for His kingdom.
If we care for the Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom, if we truly love Him – we will be obedient and willing to go and preach the Gospel to every creature. Our love for Him is what will spur us to give our lives for the Gospel and go out there and win souls.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
(Photo courtesy of my friend Perla Frisberg).
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Journey with Jesus,