Can You Save Your Loved Ones?
"...he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’" John 4:36-37 Many believers are so saddened by the worldly lives of their loved ones that they are absolutely driven to bring them to the Lord and they will work at it ceaselessly. Some nag them endlessly, not realizing that it is that very nagging that may actually turn them off. Friends, we must always keep in mind that we do not have the power to save anyone. Our wisdom and our arguments cannot win them. Salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit, and human efforts will always fail. Harm is caused by human effort causing resentment and anger in the ones we seek to save. The work of salvation is actually a story in a person's life. It is usually a very slow process, with the Lord orchestrating all the elements of the story that will culminate in the person's salvation. If you are a believer, take a moment to think on all the events that the Lord put into motion years before you actually came to him. Here a little, there a little, an ongoing and purposeful work that no one can do but the Lord himself, and if you try to meddle in the process, be aware that you just might delay it. No one likes to be nagged. No one likes to be preached at. The salvation story might often begin in childhood. The Lord is very patient and very methodical as he brings the story along. He will use people here and there to bring input into the person's life, but it will not be the same person throughout and will usually not be parents or spouses: the Lord will NOT EVER share his glory with a human being. If you were the one bringing that loved one to the Lord, you would probably take the credit for it, wouldn't you? And that's exactly why it won't happen that way. The story of salvation has far-reaching and eternal ramifications and we best let the Lord conduct it. So what do we do? Nothing? Well, that depends. First of all, we cease our efforts and loose the loved one from our grasp. Then we use the tools the Lord has given us - prayer and more prayer. For how long? For however long it takes. If you do it backwards, if you nag and try but do not spend the time in prayer, the result will always end in failure. It has to. We're not doing it God's way, we're conducting it our own way. Does this mean we never speak about the Lord to the unsaved? Of course not, but it DOES mean that we speak little to anyone we're emotionally involved with. We know that we are called to preach the Gospel, but we are called to preach the Gospel at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. HE and he alone will set up the circumstances that we will recognize as open doors in which we are to go ahead and speak to people, but we are NOT to try to set up circumstances ourselves. Try it. And watch it fail. And try again until you are convinced that the only success can come when it is the Lord conducting it. If you want to succeed in bringing the Gospel to the unsaved, and especially to your loved ones, spend time before the Lord in prayer. This is where the victory is won. Skip this vital part, and your works will falter. Prayer is the most important thing we will do in our walk with the Lord. This bares repeating: Prayer is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING we will do in our walk with the Lord. If Jesus Christ spent so much time in prayer as the Scriptures reveal that he did, how much more then must we do the same? How can we have the victory if we skip the part Jesus himself had to complete? Pray and pray some more. This is what we are called to, not only for our loved ones but for anyone the Lord places on our heart. Pray for your calling. And then pray some more. You say your mind wanders when you pray? I had that problem too, as most do. One day I determined that I would finish my prayer time no matter how long it takes, and in spite of every instance of having to bring my attention back to the prayer, and I've done this now for many years - and I've seen the results. Just do it. Do not feel guilty about your mind wandering. The more effective you are in prayer or Bible reading, the more attacks against your mind will be, the more interruptions there will be. Just keep going until you finish. It's the most important thing in your life so be aware of the attacks trying to stop you. You must not let the wandering thoughts discourage you or stop you. Then when you reach the glories of heaven, you will see the results of your efforts and you will rejoice for all eternity.