Many believers recognize their apathy toward unbelievers and desire more compassion. Let me offer some simple suggestions to help your love grow for non-Christians in 2018.
- Read the Gospel of John as a storybook.
Don’t misunderstand. I think the Bible is the Word of God without error or mistake. For just a minute, though, sit back and consider reading the fourth book of the New Testament as a storybook of Jesus Christ’s interactions with unbelievers. Walk alongside of Him as He talks to adulterers and adulteresses, dishonest tax collectors, and pious Pharisees—ones who knew they were sinners and ones who would not admit that they were. Imagine what expression must’ve been on Christ’s face when he met with these people. Imagine how His love for them would have shown itself.
Matthew 9:36 will take on new meaning like it has never known before: “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no Shepherd.” When I read John as a storybook, my passion for people can’t help but increase!
- Remember the importance of prayer.
It’s incredible to remember that God has resources far exceeding mere food and finances—the two things we request most of Him. John 15:7 tells us, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” Since an increased desire to reach non-Christians is undeniably His will, we can pray boldly knowing that our prayers will be answered. God will answer our prayers in ways only He knows how to do.
- Spend time with someone gifted in evangelism.
A fellow believer’s enthusiasm for others is contagious. If he has the right character and mindset, he will not criticize you for lacking empathy toward unbelievers. Instead, he will want to help and encourage you!
One of the reasons God gave that believer the gift of evangelism is “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). Not only will he have a good impact on you in terms of a greater compassion for non-Christians, but his giftedness will also teach you how to evangelize. A greater confidence in evangelism can give you an increased desire to be around unbelievers.
- Put feet to your desires and prayers by giving God obedience.
Do something a minimum of once a week to reach out to a non-Christian. James encourages us to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). God honors the intent of the heart especially when it is combined with obedience to Him.
As you try these very practical ideas, you’ll probably surprise yourself with how much a passion for the lost begins to grow. A month from now, you may not be where you want to be, but you will certainly not be where you were.