There Must Be No Pre-Conditions
"He came to his own, and his own did not receive him."
Perhaps the greatest desire a believer has is the desire that his/her loved ones be saved. But in many cases they "do not receive him." That pits family member against family member and causes all kinds of hard feelings and distress among them.
Why is this? Why does the Lord call one or two out of a family? And there's no mistaking that this is the case:
"I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion."
The context of that verse is speaking of Israel, but the principle is the same. God will have no other gods before him, and anything we place before God becomes an idol. It becomes a pre-condition. I'll follow you if... You have to save my loved ones before I'll give you my whole heart.
What is of utmost importance to the Lord is that the believer love him with no pre-conditions. There's no place in the life of the believer where he can say to God, "I'll follow you IF ..." No, the Lord wants the whole heart and complete faithfulness with no pre-conditions - it's just too important to him. And most often, we will be put to the test in order to establish the faithfulness of our hearts even while our deep desires remain unfulfilled.
Friends, we're dealing with the Creator, the Lord of the universe, almighty God and we can have NO other conditions placed before him in our hearts. The grief we bear over unsaved loved ones is the testing ground upon which the faithfulness of our commitment to Christ will be revealed. If we follow Christ, it will cost us.
"For I have come to set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,
and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.
He who loves father or mother more than me
is not worthy of me."
But that's not the end of the story. God is faithful. He knows our hearts and the love we have for our loved ones, and he WILL save them. The Scriptures show us example after example of this. God sent an angel to bring Lot and his family out of Sodom before the cities were destroyed, for Abraham's sake (Genesis 19:29). Throughout the history of ancient Israel, the Lord sent deliverance because of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God is faithful. Even the harlot in Jericho saw her family be saved before the fall of that city (Joshua 6:25). When Paul was unexpectedly set free in the prison, it resulted in a great story of salvation to a whole household. The prison guard asked:
"'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' So they said,
'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and you will be saved, you and your household.'"
We can trust God for our loved ones, but our hearts must be set on faithfulness to the Lord even if our loved ones only come to him after we're gone. We can not stand before the Lord with any preconditions. Entrust your loved ones to him, knowing he is absolutely faithful and they WILL come - at an appointed time. In the meantime, let them go. He knows. Firm up your heart to follow the Lord with absolutely no conditions. He is FAITHFUL.