2017-10-07 / Religion

Shaken awake

“Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by Him, and said unto them, ‘Whosoever shall receive this child in My name receiveth Me: and whosoever shall receive Me receiveth Him that sent Me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.’ And John answered and said, ‘Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.’” (Luke 9:46-49 KJV)

I n a large meeting in

2004, I heard a man speak on the subject of prayer. It was one of the most convicting messages I have ever heard. It was not profound in its manner or excited in its presentation. The man was broken by the truth of God’s word and shared his convictions with us.

The part I found most convicting was the speaker’s comments on how much we pray for the sick to get well and stay out of heaven and how little we pray for the lost who are headed for hell.

My mind tried to resist. I began to think of our slick programs and our wonderful organization. But, in the end it came down to the simple fact that somewhere along the way I had lost a brokenness for those headed to hell. Sure, I still witnessed whenever I had an opportunity, but I can honestly say I was not entreating the Lord for the unsaved, nor was I heartbroken over their condition as I had once been. I can blame it on a lot of things, but the simple fact of the matter was that this man was broken about the right things and I was not.

His heartfelt plea and simple presentation was used of God to revitalize my prayer life. I have regained fervor for sharing the Gospel more than ever, for asking God for lost souls, and for prayer in general.

I think the apostle John would have understood my conviction because he seemed to have a like sense of it as portrayed in the verses above. Recently some of the apostles had failed to cast a demon from a sick boy. Not long after that, they’d had an argument about who was the greatest among them. Jesus simply told them that the one whom considered themselves the least would be the one who actually was the greatest. John got the point.

It seems John recalled a man who had been successful in casting out a demon and he also recalled that he and the other apostles had rebuked the man because “he followeth not with us.”

I think, like my experience at our meeting, John was convicted by the message. They’d rebuked a man who was doing something while they themselves were not only not being successful but were arguing about who was greatest while not being successful.

Two things:

(1) Conviction is helpful. I think we know that, but it’s good to be reminded sometimes that God does not convict us simply because He can. It’s much like physical pain; the purpose of pain is to tell us that something is wrong! We know, by the pain, that we need to go see a doctor. Of course, we also know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We know that maintaining a healthy body is easier than repairing a sick body. But, sometimes we become sick without knowing it until the pain reveals the truth to us. It’s the same way with the spirit. It would be better if we maintained a healthy spiritual life, but the pain of conviction tells us that something is wrong and sends us to the Great Physician.

(2) Sometimes we need to be shaken until we wake up. Sometimes we need God to remind us of the mission so that we might get to it or get back to it. I’ll tell you this friend, we certainly need to get back to the mission of introducing people to Christ Jesus and making disciples. There is no doubt about that!

I was reminded by a sermon on prayer. John was reminded by a kindly scolding from Jesus. Hopefully, someone will be reminded by this simple article.

Tim Bowes is executive director of My Life Matters. Questions and comments may be sent directly to Bowes at twbowes.lightsteps@gmail.com

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