So I asked for a "heart for the lost" more than I already had. I was, in this, also really asking to know my own condition--to know how close of a call it was to have avoided eternal torment by turning to the Lord and away from my own self-determination . . . .
This would be, I dare say, a typical operation in the process of sanctification. That is, that the Holy Spirit put the thought, the question in to me to ask . . . so that I come to a deeper, more urgent appreciation of the stakes, for myself . . . and for others.
As I said earlier, it did not result in a sudden feeling or emotion so that, now when I looked at the dying world, my heart was instantly wrenched and I was compelled at once to jump in and try to save . . . .
No . . . although this (a feeling/emotion for the lost) is occurring in the meanwhile . . . .
Rather, He took me to The Word. What does it say? What has He said on the matter?
Also, He began to show me my own sins and the nature of sin in general . . . .
A main reason people do not feel or think much inclined to seek truth/God with impatient zeal is because they have no proper sense of just how terribly they sin against Him; how serious is the rebellion and hatred at their natural core against His glory and sovereignty . . . .
It is astounding, if you watch certain street preachers engaging the random public, how universal is the response when asked "Do you think you are a good person?" . . . that the responder replies, "Yeah, I think I'm a pretty good person overall--I try to be, anyway."
Certainly, one of the devil's great temporary victories . . . is in how he has lulled so many, throughout all of global culture, to live mostly unconcerned, uninterested and in denial of the awful, deadly seriousness of sin against God. Nearly everyone thinks to some degree . . . that, while they are not perfect . . . overall, God is going to overlook their self-centeredness, their lying and cheating, their hearts of lust, murder, covetousness . . . and let them slide into Heaven with a pass.
But this is because they do not understand what it means that God is perfectly HOLY, JUST and GOOD . . . and that He can't, by His very nature, abide even the slightest sliver of sin/evil . . . in His presence, in Heaven . . . .
"Well . . . " they will cast about, recalling something vaguely mollifying, "but doesn't He also forgive? Isn't He all about love?"
Yes . . . indeed . . . . He IS and loves righteousness . . . . Which means, He hates sin. And yes, He is rich in mercy and will forgive . . . .
He will forgive those who turn to Jesus . . . alone. "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." (Eph. 1:7)
"Well . . . I don't know about that," they say smirking, shaking their head in disbelief. "I think God will overlook my sin, my 'humanness' whether or not I believe in Jesus; I'm a pretty good person overall."
But . . . but . . . that's not what He says! That is not what is Written! He said there NONE good, no not one! "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one . . . . They are all gone aside, they are [all] together become filthy: [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one." (Rom. 3:10, 12; Psalm 14:3)
What He shows me, in the beginning to answer my request . . . is just how profound and stark and . . . well . . . frightening the depth and reality of our natural (fallen) offensiveness toward God truly is!
A "little" sin . . . is NOT a "little" sin! The slightest degree of sin is a thundering, blinding, shrieking, putrid flash throughout all created order and against the pure light and holiness of His perfect, divine, holy being!
First . . . must come the conviction . . . of why so badly . . . so utterly desperately . . . we need our Savior! Left to our lazy, comfortable, smug and nonchalant rebellious stupor . . . we have no idea how urgently and radically . . . we need to be saved!
THIS is what is MOST relevant right now! Not the totalitarian takeover, nor the repression of civil and inalienable rights . . . the coming confiscation of guns, property and "freedom" . . . as important and pressing as those things are . . . .
But here is how to get through such times: turning to the preeminent issue--our eternal destination and that of our fellow citizens and loved ones. Nothing is more immediate and crucial as this, and finding our strength, peace and comfort in the promises of His Written Word . . . .