I asked the kids to describe someone who they've thought would never ever come to belief in Jesus Christ, because of the way they live, who they are, or who they portray themselves to be. Then we looked at Galatians 5, and all the ways in which our teens described this 'person who would never believe' were descriptions found under the SINFUL NATURE in the scripture.
I found that sometimes we categorize people's likelihood to come to belief in Jesus Christ based on what WE KNOW about them. Our Love Somebody Revelation of the week is that God does not base his outpouring of love on what we do or who we are but based on the fact that WE ALL NEED IT! Sometimes we base our choice to love somebody based on who they are and what they've done, which is not how Christ has called us to love.
Acts 9; 1-19, we hear the story of the least likely candidate to ever come to belief in Jesus Christ. Saul was not just categorized as a "sinner", but as a "Christian Hater". He spent his days searching for Christians, bringing them to court, and seeing that they receive punishment for their belief in Jesus Christ, which often resulted in their death. Saul was the one we all would have said could never believe in Jesus and he was the one we would purposely avoid loving because he most likely would have us arrested and thrown in prison.
Well, God intervened in Saul's life and revealed His power and love to him and chose to use him to spread the gospel of Jesus. Many of us know, Saul's name after conversion was changed to Paul, who went on to be the most well known disciple from scriptures, writing many of the New Testament books that teach us more about our salvation through faith and how we are called to live as Christians
Each day, we are called to go out and love people the way God loves people. It is the second greatest commandment found in scripture. There is no clause next to this commandment that says we are exempt from loving anyone who is too difficult to love or anyone who participates in too much sinful activity. God called Ananias, the disciple in the story of Saul, to go out and bring healing and hope to Saul. Ananias went and did it even knowing the reputation of Saul.
I believe the disciples started their day each day saying "God, find me somebody to love." On this particular day, God led Ananias to Saul. If we start our day with that question and spend our day with eyes wide open, praying, and looking for people in need of God, HE will lead us, equip us, and use us to love our ENEMY, love the LOST, and love the SINNER. Let's be encouraged by Saul's story and reminded that God does not base his outpouring of love on what we do or who we are but based on the fact that WE ALL NEED IT.