Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.  Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.  For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.


Going to Jesus

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Thought for the Evening


"Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in."
Jesus, in Luke 14:23

The difference between feeling pressure and seeing an opportunity is desire.

Let's suppose that you are sitting at home feeling very, very hungry. And let's suppose that your mother, wife, or someone else comes up to you, takes your hand and playfully pulls you up and says, "Come on! Supper's ready. Let's eat." Would you feel badgered by that person? Would you feel pressured to eat food? Or would you feel forced to do something against your will? Would you judge the person telling you "Let's eat!" as being pushy? No, you would feel none of these things. And you would feel none of those things for one reason: you were very, very hungry.

Now, suppose that you have just eaten a huge meal with friends and were lying on the couch, too full to sit up, trying to let your stuffed stomach recuperate. And suppose your mother, wife, or someone else came up to you, took your hand and playfully pulled you up and said, "Come on! Supper's ready. Let's eat." How would you feel then? Especially if that person kept insisting, you would feel badgered, pressured to do something you didn't want to do, and possibly irritated with that person for being "pushy" about food.

Why the difference in your feelings? It isn't what the person calling you to dinner has done or said. In both scenarios, the words and actions were the same. The difference is in you.

It often happens that children of God are condemned for being pushy, as if they are trying to force people to live their way, or trying to pressure people to come to Jesus. But the problem is not with them; it is with the person who feels no desire for the blessing to which the children of God are inviting them. Everyone who is very, very hungry for righteousness becomes excited when he is issued an invitation to come feast at Jesus' table. On the other hand, everyone who is full of himself and has no hunger for God sees the invitation of saints as a nuisance and may even condemn them as being "pushy".

The precious call of God can seem like heavy-handed pressure to the one who is unwilling to come. But to the hungry, it is sweet relief. The saints must know this and not condemn themselves when a sinner becomes offended at your invitation to them to come to the light. The failure is not in you when you invite the lost to come, nor in Jesus who died to provide them a safe haven from death, but with those who have no desire for God's goodness and see His love as a nuisance instead of as an opportunity for peace.

A wise man will pray that if God offers him anything, he will already be hungry for it. Otherwise, he may despise the invitation as a bothersome intrusion on his life.

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