Choose to Be Effective, Regardless of Others (ATP)
The Bible says the Holy Spirit will show us things to come. How do we know if we know the outcome of something versus lacking faith. Example: I know someone who is not saved. Their life is a mess and they have a hardened heart. I pray for them but there’s a feeling in my spirit that some things will not change but I am not sure if that is the Holy Spirit showing me the outcome or if I’m lacking Faith and if it’s a lack of the Faith needed to help this person how do I change that?
Though this questions is multi-faceted, immediately, upon reading, I’m brought to the truth that Jesus didn’t heal everyone, not everyone He met or taught, listened, and many who He appeared to after He rose again didn’t even show up to the upper room. Let’s look at this in scripture.
Look at John 5:2-3, “Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.” The Bible says there was a great multitude of sick people but if we continue reading we see that Jesus only went to one certain man. Why is this? Well, although scripture isn’t extremely clear on this, I believe we can find the answer when we look at the rest of Jesus’s ministry. Remember what the Word says in Mark 6:5-6, “Now He (Jesus) could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief.” Many times, because of unbelief, people will go without their help.
Besides this, consider 1 Corinthians 15:6, which tells us that, after His resurrection, “He (Jesus) was seen by over five hundred brethren at once.” If we continue in the book of Acts however, we see that though Jesus commanded all those He appeared to , “not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4), only 120 assembled together on that Day of Pentecost. Why is this? Because many will hear but won’t have an ear to hear. The direction will go in one ear and out the other.
In Ephesians 4, we see that the Lord set members in churches to be fed and taught, guided by pastors, in order to be edified and to grow and mature in the knowledge of God. Right after this, in Ephesians 4:17-18, the Word says, “…you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” We know that without being properly connected and fed as God has set up for us, we will walk like the rest of the world walks. That is, in foolishness in mind with darkened understanding, and being alienated from truth because of hardened hearts.
Where does this blindness and hardened heart come from? We see this in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” It is the goal of the enemy to keep the blinders on this world, not allowing the light of the Word to shine on their understanding. Let’s backtrack a couple of verses. 2 Corinthians 4:1-3, “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.”
I love this passage of scripture in The Message Bible. 2 Corinthians 4:1-4, “Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times. We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God. If our Message is obscure to anyone, it’s not because we’re holding back in any way. No, it’s because these other people are looking or going the wrong way and refuse to give it serious attention. All they have eyes for is the fashionable god of darkness. They think he can give them what they want, and that they won’t have to bother believing a Truth they can’t see. They’re stone-blind to the dayspring brightness of the Message that shines with Christ, who gives us the best picture of God we’ll ever get.”
Regardless of how hard it sometimes seems to reach people, we keep trying. Sometimes with some people our words, however, may not make the difference as much as our example. Besides this, often times we can sense that our prayers are not changing the outcome of a situation and we may even have a stop sign in prayer. This can be for many reasons, perhaps our prayers are motivated by emotions or personal relationships, perhaps we are praying for something we should be simply trusting God for, or we may even be more effective in this season praying in a different direction. You may be perceiving that those around you aren’t interested or willing to hear you. I myself have seen the same. Romans 10:8 tells us the Word is near the mouth, meaning salvation isn’t very far from anyone. Never lose heart and never lose faith. Every individual’s salvation is between them and God. Whether one chooses Him and another does not, it doesn’t change our direction.
Keep the truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God. Those who want God won’t be left alone on our watch, but those who don’t want God we won’t ever be able to choose Him for them. Even God doesn’t force Himself or His salvation on anyone. Make your focus living for Him, guard against your own heart being hardened, and live by example in the light, mercy, and glory of God, letting your conduct be evident to all.