HAVE WE FORGOTTEN?
1 Peter 1:17-23 New International Version (NIV)
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
Have we forgotten what it is like to be “not saved?” In other words, have we, as Christians – those who claim Jesus as Savior – bought with a price – with all our sins under the blood of the Lamb – forgotten what is like to live without Jesus? It is easy to do.
When we first “get saved” and turn our lives over to Christ, we have that insatiable desire to remove ourselves from all the sins and baggage of our past and to be totally immersed in becoming more Christ-like – and well we should. We should focus on allowing God to have His way with us. To totally surrender all of ourselves and lives unto Him to do with as He sees fit for our own good and for the glory of His Kingdom.
However, after awhile, we find that we have become “cocooned” or “fortressed” in a world where everyone is as we are: Christians. In this “world” we can easily become unaccustomed to dealing with those who do not “walk the Christian walk or talk the Christian talk.” Or if we do interact with the unsaved, it is with the intent to evangelize or “win them to Christ.” But do we ever really just sit down and get to know them without any ulterior motives. Do we ever really have a heart and/or a deep love for them simply as a fellow human being created by God? Do we mingle with them as Christ did?
First, let’s remember what it was like to live without the saving grace knowledge of Christ. Second, let’s be Christ-like in our endeavors to love others as He first loved us. Third, may we expect nothing in return, i.e. a conversion story or notches in our “led them to Christ” belt. Fourth, if we are blessed to lead them to Christ, may we remember to give God all the glory. Ultimately, may we allow them to grow at their own pace in accordance with the Lord’s perfect plan for their lives. Our job is to love them; it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to bring them into the Kingdom.