Do you remember a time in your faith when you were starving for the Word of God, prayed often? When you couldn’t wait to get together with Christians to worship Jesus? When you couldn’t wait for another opportunity to tell someone else about the love of God?
Do you remember when you were the first person to sign up to serve your church, regardless of the need?
Do you remember when the people in your life who didn’t know Jesus would flash in your mind as you read the Bible, and you knew that you just had to do something about that?
Do you remember the first thing you said to Jesus?
How are things today? Does that still describe you, or today are you among the more complacent, bored, tired, distracted, room-temperature, and play-it-safe Christians?
How do you revive and seek restoration for a cluttered heart?
How do you recover a sense of urgency to reach the unbelievers in your life with the good news of Jesus?
Don’t do what I used to do and, by God’s grace, won’t do anymore. When confronted with questions like this, I would sit there, sulk, and guiltily scourge myself saying, “Why don’t I love God and love people more?” Then, I would make the mistake of calling that condemnation “repentance.” Those moments of shame never led me to an authentic, totally sincere prayer life or passionate heart for proclaiming Jesus to my neighbors and co-workers.
Instead, here’s two practical ways I’ve found work wonders to renew my desire to reach others with the saving message of Jesus:
1. Meditate on the cross of Jesus
Go to him there, broken, bleeding, dying on his cross and hear him say, “Father, forgive them.” Nothing melts a Christian’s heart faster or more effectively than coming face to face with the unfathomable love of God in Christ. Drop your own or somebody else’s expectations of what the perfect disciple looks like and see him there. Besides, the nature of the name “disciple” implies that you haven’t “arrived” yet anyway.
2. Remember where you were when Jesus found you
Recall the most famous hymn in the world, “Amazing Grace.”
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
Do you remember where you were when Jesus found you? What was that like? What did you love the hour before he revealed himself to you? Do you remember the first thing you said to Jesus?
That was the most honest, unpretentious, childlike prayer in world at that moment. It was in that hour that Jesus wasn’t a means to an end. It was that hour that sin tasted like death for the first time and faith in the grace of God was honey on your tongue. It was that hour that excuses like “I don’t have time” or “It’ll cost too much to follow him” were deaf in your ears.
Perhaps Psalm 51 (NLT) says it best as David prays, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.”