Do you remember a time in your faith when you were starving for the Word of God, prayed often, and couldn’t wait to get together with Christians to worship Jesus or for another opportunity to tell someone else about the love of God? Do you remember when you were the first person to sign up to serve your church regardless of the need? Do you remember when you would read the Bible and the people in your life that don’t know Jesus would flash in your mind and you knew that you just had to do something about that?
How are things today? Does that describe you or are you among the more complacent, bored, tired, distracted, room-temperature, play-it-safe Christians today?
How do you revive and arrange a cluttered heart?
How do you recover a sense of urgency to reach the unbelievers in your life with the good news of Jesus?
Don’t do what I used to do and won’t do anymore by God’s grace.
When I was confronted with questions like this, I would sit there, sulk, and scourge myself in guilt saying “Why don’t I love God and love people more?” Then, I would make the mistake of calling that “repentance,” which never led me to an authentic, totally sincere prayer life or passionate heart for proclaiming Jesus to my neighbors and co-workers.
Here’s what I’ve found that works wonders in me.
1) Extended meditations on the cross of Jesus.
Go to him there, broken, bleeding, dying on his cross and hear him say, “Father, forgive them.” Nothing melts a Christian’s heart faster or more effectively than coming face to face with the unfathomable love of God in Christ. Drop your own or somebody else’s expectations of what the perfect disciple looks like and see him there. Besides, the nature of the name “disciple” implies that you haven’t “arrived” yet anyway.
2) Recall the most famous hymn in the world, Amazing Grace.
“How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.” Do you remember where you were when Jesus found you? What was that like? What did you love the hour before he revealed himself to you? Do you remember the first thing you said to Jesus? That was the most honest, unpretentious, childlike prayer in world at that moment. It was in that hour that Jesus wasn’t a means to an end. It was that hour that sin tasted like death for the first time and faith in the grace of God was honey on your tongue. It was that hour that excuses like “I don’t have time” or “It’ll cost too much to follow” were deaf in your ears.
The way David prayed in Psalm 51 says it best - “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.”