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Devotionals : Loving the Lost
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Loving the Lost

By Michael Lane, Executive Director, Delve Christian Ministries
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He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. - Mark 16:15-16

The Lord is not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance - 2 Peter 3:9

If you take a look back at the last few year's worth of devotionals on Delve Into Jesus, you'll see a common theme of emphasizing action over emotion. When it comes to concepts such as humility, forgiveness and surrender, it's important not to let our feelings get in the way of living according to the principles Jesus taught. We need to first be obedient to those teachings, regardless of how we feel. We mustn't wait to feel something before we do something.

Nevertheless, in some circumstances our emotions can be enormously helpful when it comes to understanding and abiding in God's will. We should embrace they ways in which emotions can serve to ignite a desire to obey God. That is not to say that we should wait to be obedient until our emotions drive us, but rather, that emotions can be a powerful driving force and offer a constant reminder of what we need to do. I can obey the commandment to remain faithful in my marriage without considering any of the emotional consequences. It should be sufficient that I desire to obey the commandments given to us by our Lord. Yet, how much stronger my conviction will be when I spend time understanding the depth of my love for my wife and how much pain she would suffer if I were ever to be unfaithful.

Nowhere is this more evident than when we consider how each of us are personally undertaking the commandment to spread the Gospel.

Though God reveals Himself to the lost in many different ways, He has commanded His followers to be the primary means of informing mankind about the gift of salvation. Without digressing into a debate about the doctrine of salvation and predestination, it's nevertheless clear to me what is at stake should I fail to seize an opportunity to share the Gospel. At best, another follower will be required to do the work which I failed to do. At worst, this beloved of God may never have another chance to hear the Gospel and will be lost forever.

If we are going to be effective in delivering the message of salvation to the lost, we should first try to come to an emotional understanding of just how much Jesus loves them and desires that they should not perish. Realize that the love we feel for our own children cannot compare with that which God feels for each and every child of His, whether they call Him Father or not. Contemplate a love which is so intense that you feel as though your heart will burst, and understand that God has more love than this for even those who have turned their backs on Him and cursed His Holy name.

I regret that in my past, I have been indifferent towards those who have never heard the Gospel and disdainful of those who reject it. All of that changed one night as I held my daughter and rocked her to sleep. I was overwhelmed by my immense love for this small miracle, and could not stop thanking and praising God for such a precious gift. In that moment, God helped me to understand His deep love for all of His children. To what lengths would I go to rescue her if she were lost? Would I give all my possessions, all my time and even my life to save her? Without hesitation!

All this and more God is asking us to undertake to save those whom He loves.

We might preach the Gospel, witness to friends, support our congregation's missionaries and even take a mission trip of our own if only to remain obedient to God. In our desire to please the Lord, we may be quite effective. God may choose to use us as His instrument to win many souls for His Kingdom. But how much more effective could we be if our hearts, as well of our minds, were completely invested in the work? What if we were motivated, not just by a desire for obedience, but by a deep desire to save the lost? Fear is a wonderful motivator, but love is the greatest of all.

Consider your personal commitment to spreading the Gospel. Are you seizing every opportunity to tell friends, family and co-workers about the Lord? Not everyone is destined to serve in the mission field, but we all have an obligation to provide assistance to those who are called. Are you giving more than just the minimum tithe to support the critical work that they do? If you find yourself doing the least that is required to honor this commandment - if you know that your heart is not engaged in spreading the Gospel - then ask the Lord to change how you feel about these lost souls. Ask Him to reveal the depth of His love for His children and ignite a passion for sharing the Good News.

When God reveals just a fraction of that deep love, you will never again see unbelievers the same way. When you see the lost as He sees them, you will not be able to stand the thought of losing a single one. Then will you fully appreciate what God is asking each of us to do, and never again will you miss an opportunity to be used in the service of saving the souls of God's precious children.

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May we imitate God's big heart and not be shy to reach out the many lost people in the world so that heaven will be filled with the saved, lost etc and Satan is the world's biggest loser.
10/30/2009 4:40:41 PM - SteadySheila, Member of Delve into Jesus since 10/27/2009

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