Heart for the LostFebruary 14, 2017 Devotions from Dale's Desk
Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,
The apostle, Paul, had such a heart for the salvation of others. He had come to personally know the Christ he had persecuted. For Paul, to live was Christ. His relationship with his Lord was the most important thing in his life and of next importance was having others come to know the Savior as well. Although Paul is known as the apostle to the Gentiles, his heart went out to his own people, the Jews.
In Romans, chapter ten, Paul expresses that his heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. In chapter nine, he had even said he had great sorrow and continual grief in his heart for them and he could wish he himself were accursed from Christ for his brethren, his countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites. He knew they had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. They sought to establish their own righteousness rather than submitting to the righteousness of God. He then goes on, in chapter ten, to remind us that God’s righteousness comes only through faith and that “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
We who have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, as Paul did, have come to Him through faith. We are with Paul in confessing with our mouths and believing in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead. We are with Paul in trusting, not in our own righteousness, but in the imputed righteousness of Christ. We are with Paul in believing that the Lord is rich to all who call upon Him.
But we might ask ourselves the question whether we are with Paul in having a heart for the lost among us. Are we too often content with living out our lives, looking forward to Christ’s return, enjoying the blessings of our salvation, but not too concerned about those around us who don’t know the Lord? Are we too occupied with other things that we don’t have time for conversations with lost folks we meet? Are we too timid or fearful to speak about Christ when we have opportunity? Are we too ignorant of His word that we don’t know how to share it effectively? Do we really just not care enough?
Paul said his prayer to God for Israel was that they might be saved. But Paul didn’t leave it at that. He went on to explain, in chapter ten, that they can’t call on Him in Whom they have not believed and they can’t believe unless they hear and can’t hear unless someone tells them. He took the responsibility of telling them.
May our prayer to God for those around us not stop there. May we pray for a strong desire to be used by Him in declaring the truth. May we submit to the opportunities He gives us to proclaim our faith. May we pray for our own hearts that He would give us a heart for the lost.