Many believers search their hearts in condemnation, looking for the arrival of some feeling of benevolence that will propel them into bold evangelism. It will never happen. It is impossible to love “the lost.” You can’t feel deeply for an abstraction or a concept… Don’t wait for a feeling of love in order to share Christ with a stranger. You already love your heavenly Father, and you know that this stranger is created by Him, but separated from Him, so take those first steps in evangelism because you love God. It is not primarily out of a compassion for humanity that we share our faith or pray for the lost; it is first of all, love for God. (Taking Our Cities for God, p 208-209)I wish I had a nickel for every time I prayed “God give me a burden for the lost.” My hopes being that I would become emotionally moved to the point of being more bold in my witness. Of course, this isn’t a bad prayer, but how many of us are trying to find our motivation in the wrong place? Both Piper and Dawson are suggesting that if we (the church) are not “centered on the exaltation of the majesty and beauty of God” that we will not be able to find the motivation for evangelism. According to Piper, “The great sin of the world is not that the human race has failed to work for God so as to increase his glory, but that we have failed to delight in God so as to reflect his glory.” (p 51) This idea is very liberating for the Christian who is seeking to participate in God’s mission. A passion for God’s glory sustains in suffering, gives us boldness, and reminds us that our “product” is the hope of the world.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Impossible to Love the Lost
In John Piper’s book “Let the Nations be Glad”, a portion of which I am reading in the Perspectives Reader, he quotes John Dawson, a leader in Youth With a Mission regarding why our passion for people who don’t know Christ (a.k.a. lost people) cannot be detached from our passion for the glory of God.
Posted by Scott Sterner at 4:17 PM