My pastor was recently speaking about our free will. God created us all with a free will. He LOVES us all, no matter what our past may have been. He desires that all people be saved and spend eternity in His presence. He has made total provision for us to do that. It will be our CHOICE. He has already CHOSEN all of us. It is now up to us to CHOOSE Him. That’s what love is. It is a beautiful choice. God’s everlasting love calls for a mutual love relationship. He is a jealous God, He wants us to return His love that holds us as the apple of His eye.
From experience, we all know that we can’t MAKE someone love us. And would we even want to, really? God did not desire that sort of compromised, forced relationship. He said He would rather we be HOT or COLD rather than lukewarm. I even love how He saw the rabid anti-Christian hate of Saul as a passionate man on a mission to eradicate Christianity and his potential to become an equally passionate lover of Jesus Christ, the very one he thought he hated. See, Saul was deceived. When Saul heard the truth, he made a choice to follow Jesus Christ boldly and unashamedly for the rest of his days, to the cost of his own life.
This is an issue I have with one of my brothers who is a Christian. He is set on the necessity of we Christians fellowshipping with and welcoming Muslims with open arms. I have a great burden of love for Muslims. I believe that they are deceived. I also believe that they are particularly vulnerable to the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s abounding love as they labor under a religion of hate for the infidel -- all Christians and Jews. Sound a bit like Saul? Well, I am in favor of reaching out to Muslims and interacting with them rather than shunning them. However, my challenge to my brother is, “Are you going to tell them about Jesus Christ? Or, are you going to just co-exist and be their friend and “loving neighbor,” believing that that is what God intended when He said, “love your neighbor as yourself?” Jesus said the greatest commandment began with “love the Lord your God with all your heart” first. Because God longs to bless all of His dear children, He surely desires that we do our part to tell them the truth -- the gospel.
We can not be anyone’s savior. We don’t need to be. Jesus already did that. But we do have a part to do. We are compelled to tell the truth. It is the truth that will set the captives free. We don’t need to keep hammering away. The Holy Spirit will use the truth we share to bring His precious conviction in His perfect timing. We may not see the results when or how we wish.
That’s where I believe that we honor God’s plan of giving each one free will. The beauty of God’s love is that we are each free to accept it, free of cost. We are equally free to reject it. Sometimes, as my pastor said, we just need to speak the truth of the gospel and let it go. Let the person go. Just keep on loving them and trusting them to God’s love.
I’m not speaking from some ivory tower. I have a brother who has denied Jesus ever since he read the Bible through as a pre-teen more than 50 years ago. He is brilliant and perhaps too “smart” for his own good as we sometimes say. I keep loving him and keeping the door to my life and heart open to him. His lifestyle could have taken his life, literally, many times over the years. I believe the Lord has preserved him. I pray for his salvation, but for a season in our lives when he thought my “sharing of my life” was an attempt to convert him, he stopped talking to me for 10 years! I thank God we are reconciled. But, only God’s Holy Spirit can woo this precious brother of mine.
I also have a cousin who grew up in the church and for decades as an adult has chosen to fellowship in a university setting where she works, with a group of Buddhists. It grieves me that she knows the truth and has rejected it.
Our prayer should be that the Holy Spirit would be working in the lives of such people -- whether they have heard the truth and rejected it (for now) or whether they have never heard the truth. May we never be remiss is sharing the truth, even if we only get one fleeting chance. May we not drive people away by persistent preaching. As we know, we may plant a seed, another may water, and yet another may see the harvest.
May that be the case in each of these situations in the lives of these ones whom we love. To God be the glory and honor. Amen.