This past week I had the privilege to meet with a friend of mine whom I’ve known for over ten years to discuss some of the claims of Christianity. We’re going to meet every other week to discuss Timothy Keller’s book “The Reason for God.” (As a side-note here is a great reader’s-guide for Keller’s book). I read it about a year ago and I’m thoroughly looking forward to going through the book with my friend. My friend is a self-proclaimed agnostic and quite articulately shared several of his hang-ups with Christianity and I might add he did so in a respectful fashion. Many times you meet people who have hang-ups with Christianity and spew vitriolic venom and hate, but that wasn’t the case with my friend. We engaged in a good, healthy and respectful dialogue. And as we were talking God smacked me around concerning my mentality that I often employ as I meet with people who don’t know Jesus. That mentality looks like the following: if I simply spend some time with them; if I can get them to read a really good book; if I get them around Christians who love Jesus, love life and will love them then their salvation is a shoe-in! And though each of those approaches to unbelievers are right, appropriate and should be exemplified I often fail to grasp the seriousness of their plight and the work of God that must be done in order to replace their heart of stone with a heart of flesh. In other words, I often many times take a nonchalant approach to their spiritual state, rather than being profoundly burdened. My burden should manifest itself into prayers that cry out for the salvation of my friend and so many others that I have encountered over the years. In addition to my prayers, there needs to be a steadfast commitment to them, such as the one God has exercised towards me so eloquently and profoundly stated by the apostle Paul in Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
All this to say is that people are projects just as much as you and I are in the sight of God? You might be thinking, “well, isn’t God working in us and around us to bring us into conformity to His Son? And doesn’t that constitute a seeming ‘project?'” And I guess you could think of it like that, but it’s so much more. The “so much more” has to do with the fact that humanity was created in the image of God; that God demonstrated His love for the world in ordaining the murder of His Son Christ Jesus in order that we might be brought back into a right standing with Him; that God is slow to anger and abounding in love towards a people who continually disregard Him and choose to worship ourselves rather than Him and the fact that God has commissioned believers all around the world to go forth and share that most amazing message with the world. The “so much more” compels us not to live our lives for ourselves but for those who’ve yet to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus. So, if you’re still reading this post allow me to humbly appeal to you to prioritize your life in order to encounter unbelievers and then exemplify a commitment to see them come to Christ (via God’s grace and work in their heart of course) by a spirit of steadfastness and faithfulness that resembles the affection and commitment that God continually manifests towards us.