Now is the Time to Lead a Hurting World to Hope
Last year we saw countless people hurt by the events of 2020. Unfortunately, 2021 isn’t a magical reset button. Many people around us are still deeply hurting emotionally, physically and spiritually.
As followers of Christ, we have the opportunity to be a bridge to the only One who can bring true healing that so many are seeking. We have the ultimate answer in the hope we have in Jesus and the joy of knowing we’ll spend eternity with Him. So, what’s stopping us?
We need to examine our busyness
For many of us, it’s the busyness of life that is stopping us. I think it’s easy to overlook the importance of sharing our faith when we’re busy prioritizing so many other things. We get super involved in our children’s lives, too busy at work or volunteering or with other things. If we’re not careful, we can take good things (like work, family, volunteering) and make them ultimate things that overshadow what should be one of our top priorities: pointing others to Jesus.
We need to examine our priorities
After such a difficult year, we should evaluate our priorities and ask ourselves, how can we be arrows pointing to Jesus within these priorities? Let’s ask the Lord to show us new priorities to make ourselves more available to a hurting world. Are we truly interested in taking steps of sacrifice to lead others to everlasting hope like the disciples did? God can use us during everyday life just like in times of crisis, but it takes effort. We need to pray, be open to the opportunities, and obedient to the Holy Spirit’s nudges. He will give us the words to say.
Jesus tells us in Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” He didn’t just tell missionaries or pastors to share about Him. He directs all of us to be His witnesses through the power of the Holy Spirit. “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.” John 3:34
We need to examine where we are intentionally pointing others to hope
I think we have to be intentional if we want to be a true follower that points others to Christ. We have to make it part of our daily lives. Of course, that begins with daily Bible study and prayer to be in tune with God and what He’s leading us to do. We also need to pray for Him to give us love and concern for the people around us who are hurting and don’t know the love of Jesus. Let’s look at an example in excerpts from Nehemiah 1.
Nehemiah was doing his job as cupbearer to the king when he learned the wall of Jerusalem had been destroyed. The wall was the fortress to protect the city. We learn about Nehemiah’s love for his people as he sat down and wept.
The scriptures say, “For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man (the king). Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I asked the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”
When was the last time we mourned, fasted and prayed for the people who are hurting around us, who do not have a relationship with Jesus or know their eternal destination? Nehemiah left his city and went to rebuild the wall. He made a personal sacrifice of his time and wages, and also risked his safety to help save the people he loved from peril.
What sacrifices are we making to point others in a hurting world to their only secure solution in Christ?
Maybe it’s the neighbor who lost their job or just had surgery. You could take a meal, build a relationship and pray for God to open a door to share. Maybe it’s a family member who doesn’t know the Lord, or the person sitting beside you on the plane. I think it begins with prayer for God to open our eyes to those in need around us, to give us a heart to love them, and obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s look at the words of Jesus in John 15: 15 – 17:
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”
I think it all boils down to our personal walk with Jesus and asking Him to give us the strength and courage to take up our cross and follow Him in all areas of our lives so we can point other to Him. Let’s ask Jesus to give us love for the unbelievers He puts in our path. Let’s ask for the Spirit to give us the words to say. Then, ask God for the courage to take that step of faith to share.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
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