Friday, February 7, 2020

Do You Have a Heart for the Lost?

By: Sarah Geringer 

Is your heart hurting for lost people?

This week, I started crying when viewing an Instagram account of someone I'm sure is lost. I had used the hashtag "meditation" on one of my posts, because I frequently write about the tried-and-true, biblical practice of Christian meditation. I know that the hashtag can attract New Age followers, so I don't use it often, but I tried it out this week.

On each of my posts, I visit the people who like my post. The person with this account was a 20-something American man, who is young enough to be my son. He is fully immersed in the New Age movement. In many of his posts, he professed his faith and devotion to idols--even calling them idols himself.

One post in his feed touched me deeply.
It's been popular to post a side-by-side look at the you from 10 years ago and the you of now. On the left, I saw a boy about 10 years old, with short blond hair and a prep school outfit. He was standing in front of a white painted door, much like the ones in my home. That boy looked so much like my own sons, smiling at the camera, probably held by his mother.

On the right side, I saw the lost version of him. The long haired, bearded, self-professing follower of Eastern religions. The one who subscribes to transcendentalism and "higher awareness." The one who walked far, far away from that white door and prep school coat.

I don't know his story, but I know it must include hurt. People don't suddenly revoke their upbringing and head the opposite way without sin. Maybe the hurt started with the young man, like the selfish and demanding prodigal son in Luke 15. Or his parents were overbearing, critical, or rejecting. Maybe everything changed when he was abused.  Or he gave up on God when he suddenly lost a friend or family member. Perhaps he descended into the world of chemical addiction after one party and nothing was ever the same.

Maybe he has never heard the Gospel truth from someone who cares.

That fact brought me to tears over this young man I've never even met. Whatever the story, I know it hurts God's heart...

He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
2 Peter 3:9b NLT

If we lack a heart of love toward the lost, they may never hear the Good News. I know how tempting it is to write people like this young man off. To turn away from anyone who thinks differently from us. To crave God's vengeance for their wrongdoing.

However, if we want to be like Jesus, we'll care about everyone instead of writing them off. I have decided to pray for this young man, a fellow American--at least I know that's our common ground. I am not comfortable messaging this stranger or even following him, but I am fine with praying for his salvation. That's how I can care for him--from a distance. In your situation, God may be calling you to pray, talk with them in a friendly way, invite them over for supper, or ask them to attend church or Bible study with you. 

If you ask God to give you a heart for the lost, he will most certainly answer that prayer. You can pray that the Holy Spirit would place lost people in your path. Ask him to open your eyes to the ones who need to hear God's truth in your voice and see it in your actions. You can start a ministry of prayer, mentorship or hospitality, depending on your spiritual giftings. Certainly, if you suspect that your loved ones or friends are not yet followers of Jesus, don't ever give up praying and loving and inviting.

We can all do more to reach the lost. What step will you take to gain a heart for the lost today?
Heavenly Father,
Thank you for saving me.
I confess that I sometimes feel smug in my salvation.
I forget how much it cost you, Jesus.
I forget that you want me to be salt and light in the darkness.
Give me a heart for the lost, because that is your heart, O God.
Show me specific people who need to see your truth shining through me.
I thank you in advance for the ministry opportunities you will give me.
In Jesus' name,

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

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  1. This >>> "If you ask God to give you a heart for the lost, he will most certainly answer that prayer." He surely will and may we all pray for a heart for the lost as there are so many who need Jesus.


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