The religious right of Jesus' day hated Him. The liberal left disregarded Him entirely. He came anyhow. He came to the poor, to the broken, to what would have been the alcoholics, addicts, and homeless nobodies of His day. He came to the religious and the pagan too, the left and right, poor and wealthy, nobody excluded.
He came to me, two millenia later. I'm not sure why I have been given this gift of grace, but I accept and believe that He is the Son of God, that He died for my sins and rose from the dead, and is Lord. I am grateful for the eternal life I now live in. I am a work in progress with many issues that need fixing. I am recognized as a follower of Jesus by those around me, a devoted believer by some and a hypocrite from others...that's ok. I am convinced nonetheless.
Being this work in progress, much of the the change has been accomplished. Mainly, in the area of my view of others, who to exclude, and who to accept. All of my pre-conceived ideas regarding grace have been re-worked by the Master Potter. He continues this shaping and molding me into the image of the One who paid the ransom to free me from eternal separation from God. I really know, without question, that God loves everyone equally. I have put down the sword I have used to fix you by cutting away, or prunning off bad branches I don't think you should have.
Why God uses you or me as believers, is because we make ourselves availaible to Him use for His purpose. We, as God uses us, should not even think for a moment that we are to fix a convert, we don't know how. Jesus wants us to "fish" for lost mankind. But we need to realize this...you catch em' and I'll clean em, is the mission. We seem to think that the Holy Spirit needs us to help Him fix all who come to Christ. No, it is the other way around, He helps us.
"And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment....when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all truth...John 16:8, 13a Read the whole passage 16:5-15, get the entire context.
This is the reality of my service to Him. I present the Truth, the Holy Spirit draws the hearer, and as they accept and believe, the Holy Spirit enters their heart to live forever! He then, as He has done in me, and millions of believers since Pentecost, guides the willing heart of the believer. I can and should mentor the new follower of Jesus, and instruct them in grace, with mercy and kindness, not beat them over the head with Biblical doctrines. Seriously, I can't give them the whole counsel of God in one setting.
The process then begins for the new follower, they get to learn their purpose in Christ. We don't learn the process as a believer by doing nothing. The Gospel of Jesus is action, just not the action of making little "me" out of others. Like Jesus, I want to be known as a friend to the sinner...they don't listen to their enemies.
I have no desire to rip people out of believing in Jesus by telling them, now that you are following Jesus, you need to pray all the time, read at least an hour each day from the Bible, and lay hands on every sick person you see. I just want to accept that they know Him, invite them to attend church, and then remember them in prayer. I can offer them my number, email, and request they keep in contact, help them along in their walk. I don't want them to be taken by wolves that are out there, teaching false doctrines.
This song, by Casting Crowns is eye-opening. I want to compel the lost to come to Jesus without placing conditions on their salvation. True conversion is obvious by the change in every individual that enters life. They have the Holy Spirit inside to guide, He will do the fixing. They will run from sin for their love for God, the litmus test of all believers.
I still need fixed, and you do too. We only need to yield to the guidance of the One in our hearts. Many have rejected Christ bacause of our actions, attitudes, and demands as believers. Let's end this poor performance by loving, caring, and sharing without demands.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith