In the early church, bringing other people to Jesus was just a way of life. It wasn’t something that was so much taught, as it was something caught. When you found Jesus and what He could do in your life, you simply found yourself telling others about Him.
He had taken away your guilt, frustration, pain and emptiness, and you didn’t want your friend to have to live that way even one more day. So, you told them the best you could, and pulled alongside them, imparting into your life what He had imparted into YOUR life.
So, how come it’s not like that NOW? Partially because we live in self-centered society. We’re brought up thinking about ourselves, our feelings, our pains, our hurts, our dreams, our disappointments, our fears and that’s about it. Even the other people in our lives tend to be there because of how they make US feel about ourselves!
By being so self-absorbed, it becomes almost impossible to have true feelings for others. That’s why it’s common nowadays for young teenagers to not only kill other teenagers, even their friends, but to show no remorse at all! All they think about is themselves and their feelings. No feelings for the other person, their family, their friends, the fact that they took someone else’s life. Most of the insensitivity in our society goes back to the self-absorption taught.
Thinking that the problem in society come from low self-esteem, we’ve turned our schools into self-esteem clinics instead of centers for education. Each child is told, taught, rehearsed and tested on the fact that he or she is special, very important, and that all of his or her demands are meant to be met. Then, we wonder how come they only think of themselves!
This is the root of the insensitivity that has gripped the modern church. Two thousand years ago, the ancient world was amazed by the Christians’ courage and caring. Today, the modern world is assumed by the Christians’ self-centeredness and carnality.
We don’t reach out like we should, because we’ve gotten insensitive to the other people around us. God was sensitive enough that He, as Jesus, came to earth, died a hellish death to purchase for us a new life and forgiveness. He did this because He believed in us. He believed in Hell. He believed in Heaven. He wanted no one to go to hell, but that everyone who wanted to, could go to Heaven.
Due to the levels of self-centeredness we’re surrounded with, and taught, we’ve become as insensitive in many ways, as the rest if the world. Jesus said in Matthew 24:12 that, “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax (become) cold.” Our love for people grows cold; we become unfeeling. Our love for people grows cold; we become unfeeling. Our love for God becomes again, we’ve lost the ability to really feel.
There is so much crime, so much pain, so many problems screaming for our attention, that we just don’t have the compassion that we used to have. We’ve gotten insensitive to the pain, the emptiness, the lack of meaning in peoples’ lives. We don’t pick up on their loneliness and their lack of connection to God.
We’ve also gotten insensitive to God, and how HE feels. We don’t realize how much He hurts over the emptiness and self-destruction that are operating in the lives of those whom He cares so much for.
Instead of feeling love and compassion for people, we allow envy to come in. That’s the only way, we cannot be troubled when someone else has problems. In Matthew 27:18, it says that this is why the Pharisees wanted to have Jesus crucified: “For He knew that for envy they had delivered Him.” Their hearts had gotten so cold, they couldn’t receive the love that Jesus had for them.
Remember when the man with the withered hand came to Jesus to be healed? The Pharisees didn’t want Jesus to heal him. They just wanted to keep their religious rules, but had forgotten how to care about people. Jesus looked at them with anger, because of the hardness of their hearts. We need that hardness of heart broken off.
We can also get self-deceived. We think that other things are more important than reaching other people and helping them. We think our own personal growth is more important, or fellowshipping with other Christians. We get to thinking that the most important thing is praising and worshiping.
The number one thing is reaching other people. Like Jesus said in Matthew 20:28, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
People CAN go to Heaven without growing or fellowshipping very much. They can go to Heaven without leadership training.
If we’ll reach out to other people, God will supply the training, since we’re bringing in the people.
2 Corinthians 9:10 says that God gives seed to the one who will sow and multiply the seed we sow. And, he gives bread for food. If we’ll sow the seed, the Gospel, He’ll provide the bread; the trainers, the teachers, the leaders with heart. We don’t want stale bread! We sow the seed, and God will give the bread.
Some of us are great on tithing, but we need to have also compassion. Jesus told the Pharisees, “You pay tithes, and you’ve omitted the weightier matters, judgement, mercy and faith.” If we pay attention to being compassionate, faithful and exercising sound judgement, the money will come in!
Self-deception takes the form of having a zeal for teaching and instruction, but then not doing much about it. James 2 talks about this. We don’t need more knowledge and instruction. We need to DO what we already know. It’s the DOING of the Word that brings the changes, not the HEARING.
Our society, and our generation of Christians are caught up in the worship of the Tree of Knowledge. “If we only had more education!” The real movers and shakers never have been the scholars, the PhD’s. The real movers and shakers have always been the doers!
Think of it this way: How much teaching, training and instruction did Jesus give the disciples before sending out the first group of seventy? He sent them out to heal the sick, cast out devils and preach the gospel. He said they’d LEARN BY DOING.
They’d been WATCHING Jesus do it for over a year. But, it wasn’t until they did it that understanding came, and then they came back rejoicing! As long as they were watching, as long as they were only spectators, there was no joy and no power. They had no real understanding. They knew it worked for Jesus, but they never knew it would work for them.
If we don’t go and do, we begin to withdraw. If we’re not ACTIVELY involved in reaching people who are lost hurting, we begin to withdraw. We think we’re doing the will of God by clustering around other believers. We’re the salt of the earth, and we want to cluster together in the saltshaker. That’s not what salt is for.
After withdrawing, we move into another area: Fear. Fear of rejection, fear of reaching out, fear of failure. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man bringeth a snare.”
How do we deal with this? “Perfect love caseth out fear (1 John 4:18).” We need to get back to being truly loving, caring and compassionate to people. We need to not be able to just sit back and watch someone fall – and have it not even touch us at all!
We know enough theology. We have enough songs memorized. We need to get some “knee-ology” and have God’s priority become OUR priority. It’s not about us feeling good and learning how to nurse our little wounds and hurts. Let Jesus do that!
When we get to where we truly have heart for others, and have heart for God, our petty little problems will work themselves out, and our needs will be more than abundantly supplied.