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Seven Practical Steps Toward a Heart Like Paul's

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Pamela

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How can we cultivate a heart like Paul's heart? Are there any steps that we can take to get to the point of saying, "My heart's desire for them is that they may be saved"? I think there are.


1. Never Forget the Plight
Never forget that people who do not obey Christ forfeit eternal life and go out into eternity under the wrath of God. John 3:36, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him."
Ask yourself questions like, "If I knew that a plague was coming and I knew that my colleague had not received the vaccination to protect himself, would I not inquire why she refused? Would I not seek to persuade her that she should choose life?" Ask yourself what you would say at the judgment day if your unbelieving friend turns to you and asks you why you didn't speak to him with more seriousness about this matter of eternal life.
In other words, keep before your mind the terrible reality of entering eternity without Christ.

2. Meditate on Christ's Sufficiency

Meditate often on the complete sufficiency of death of Christ to cover the sins of absolutely anyone who repents and believes in him. Constantly be exalting Christ in your own heart for the super-abundant grace that comes to us in his cross. Remind yourself again and again for the sake of your relatives and associates that the obedience of Christ has accomplished justification and life for all who believe, no matter how many sins they had committed before. Glory in the work of the cross for yourself, and you will begin to glory in it for others.
Think often on Paul's own testimony in 1 Timothy 1:1516,


The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners; but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

God saved the worst first to show us that there is hope for the rest, even if we think they are too evil.

3. Meditate on the Spirit's Convicting and Drawing Power

As you ponder the sufficiency and efficiency of the cross to cover the sins of all who believe, think also on the power of the Holy Spirit to convict sinners and draw them to the Savior (John 16:8; 6:44). Don't let yourself sink into a pessimistic frame of mind that says, "Sure, God can forgive all who believe, but they are so hard and indifferent that they will never believe."
Preach to yourself that these are the days of the New Covenant. The blood of the eternal covenant has been shed. The Holy Spirit is being poured out on all flesh. And the New Covenant promise of God is this:


I will . . . put a new spirit within them; I will take the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes.

Don't say fatalistically, "Well conversion is in the hands of God. If he wants to save, let him save." Rather say, "My heart's desire is that they might be saved! And O there is hope for the hardest and coldest sinner, for conversion is in the hands of God! "O Lord grant that they would repent and come to know the truth!" (2 Timothy 2:2526).
Don't be pessimistic about the power of God to change sinners. When John Wesley arrived in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in May, 1742, he wrote these memorable words: "I was surprised; so much drunkenness, cursing and swearing (even from the mouths of little children) do I never remember to have seen and heard before in so small a compass of time. Surely this place is ripe for Him who 'came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'" And God honored this kind of bold expectancy. So preach to yourself the power of God to convict sinners.

4. Think of Your Joy at the Conversion of One Lost Soul

Think of the joy you would have over one sinner who repents and turns to Christ through your prayer and witness. Paul called his converts his "hope and joy and crown of boasting before the Lord at his coming" (1 Thessalonians 2:19). And John said, "No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth" (3 John 4). Let your imagination grasp the joy of being used by God to bring a person from death to eternal life.

5. Think of God's Amazing Grace to You in Christ

Think often of how free and undeserved was the grace of God that brought you to Christ. It may have been in a parent, or a friend, or a pastor, or an evangelist, or a book. But whatever it was, you didn't deserve it. Your spiritual awakening and conviction for sin and grasp of the gospel and submission to Christ were the free gifts of God's grace.
The more you see how free and undeserving God's work in your own life has been, the more you will feel that your own grace and compassion must be free to others, without respect to their worthiness. "Walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us" (Ephesians 5:2). When your basket is full of food that you didn't earn, and others are starving all around you, the heart says, "Freely you received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8; cf. 2 Kings 7:9).

6. Act on Your Loving Desires
Act on whatever loving desire you already have. I know from experience how difficult it is to know if you really love someone. Do I really care about the lost? Is my prayer a sham? Do I really desire that they be saved? These are good and honest questions that we have all asked. But how can they be answered? Our hearts and motives are so deceptive.
1 John 3:1819 gives an answer.


Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure out hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us.

In other words, if we don't just talk about caring for others but actually take steps to show that care, our confidence in God that we are genuine and authentic when we speak of compassion will grow. Acting on the desire that you do have will cause the genuineness of your desires to increase.

7. Pray for God to Increase Your Love for the Lost

Finally, pray that God would cause your love for the lost to abound. Listen to the apostle's prayer for us in 1 Thessalonians 3:12, "May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all men." Love to all men is a work of God in our hearts. It is not natural to us. It is a gift of grace. Could it be that we have not because we ask not?


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

Guest

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Excellent post, I will need to digest it some to respond properly. This is definitely not a post deserving of a criveby comment.

I do wish for a heart as clear and as strong as Paul's.

Pamela

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The Last Rebel Soldier wrote:Excellent post, I will need to digest it some to respond properly. This is definitely not a post deserving of a criveby comment.

I do wish for a heart as clear and as strong as Paul's.
Yes, amen brother...I do desire a heart as Paul's as well...


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

Pamela

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What I find sad, and it often happens among the Body of Christ, that is selfishness.

There are so many brothers and sisters that claim to love one another in Christ, but yet they have hidden a secret selfish agenda.

That agenda if not agreed with 100% often gets the other person tossed away like trash and the one doing the tossing out generally feels they ended up a victim. They gather people around their plight of victim-ness, and that is the first clue that the flesh is running rampant in the situation.

When a situation happens that a disagreement will most likely ensue, take a few days, pray about the situation. Allow each to bring to the table their REVEALED knowledge that Holy Spirit has given them. Don't throw out the person because they don't understand things yet and don't force someone to just agree with what you already may know. That is not how a person learns in the Body of Christ.

To many times the phrase, "The Lord is leading me to do..", something, when 99.9% of the time our flesh is leading. There are always clues in the situation that will show each person who or what is doing the leading. We take our clues from what the Word of God says concerning characteristics: True spiritual leadership, with a spirit of humility and service, will cause people to follow you because they want to, not because they have to. Genuine humility and spiritual leadership is attractive. People want to follow a person who serves alongside them and sets an example for them. Perhaps the Apostle Paul sums it up best, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).

People do not want to follow a person they do not respect. Speaking to servants, Ephesians 6:6-8 reads, "Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free." Further, spiritual leadership demands honesty. People are repulsed by a person they cannot trust to tell the truth. Proverbs 16:13 teaches us, "Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth."

Here are our clues to walking in right-standing (righteousness) Gal.5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

If your situation turns to these characteristics we can conclude that the Holy Spirit is NOT leading you:Gal.519-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

One thing I find really kinda humorous is that most of who say the Lord leads them away from something they always have a hard time staying away from that which they claim the Lord lead them away from.


_________________
I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to www.awtj.org
http://awtj.webs.com

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