Serving The Lord With Many Tears
By David J. Stewart
Acts 20:19, “Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews.”
Very few Believers ever mature in the grace of Jesus Christ to where they live for OTHERS. The Lord wants us to pray, shed tears and be concerned about OTHERS; to pray for them and forgive their transgressions against us. Granted, it's not easy to live for OTHERS because our sinful nature and flesh wants to live for itself. When's the last time that you CRIED for someone else?
People can be real hurtful towards others sometimes, but we need to love them with through Christ's eyes, looking beyond their faults and seeing their humanity. I didn't write this article to rebuke fellow believers for not shedding tears and caring about OTHERS; but rather, to encourage you to begin doing so. Most believers will never hear a sermon about crying for OTHERS. Psalms 126:5-6, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
It's been said that if you PRETEND to be what you want to become, eventually you will become it. This is true! The infamous secular speaker, Earl Nightingale (1921-1989) made a career out of six words, that is, “We become what we think about.” Not all secular psychology is unbiblical. The philosophy I just shared with you is Biblical. Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he...” This is why the Bible tells us to think on things that are lovely, and of praise, and of virtue, and honest, good things. Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” The reason why most believers can't even begin to understand Psalms 126:5-6 (“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed”) is because they're selfish. Most Christians have never shed one tear over the lost, wicked, backslidden and those suffering.
How To Develop Love For Others
My friend, the way to have Biblical tears for OTHERS is to force yourself to THINK about OTHERS. If a selfish believer only thinks about their own problems, their own family, their own burdens and their own life—then of course they will not feel any compassion nor shed any tears for OTHERS. The truth is that we shed tears over people that mean something to us, and as God's children we ought to cultivate a concern for all mankind.
Jesus said in Luke 12:34, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Some people get this backwards, thinking that one's treasure follows their heart. But that's not what the Bible says. The Bible says that one's HEART will follow their treasure. The heart follows! Thus, if you make yourself spend time thinking about the burdens, problems and sinful condition of OTHERS—and make yourself pray for them every day—over time you will have made an INVESTMENT into those people and will feel for them in your heart. That's how it works my friend. I have prayed for people that I don't know personally, but because I was thinking about them daily in my prayers they became KNOWN TO ME. I found myself crying eventually for them.
You ought to make it a policy that you always pray for OTHERS at least equally as long as you prayed for yourself. This is beginners 101 Christianity. Biblically, Jesus taught that we should spend MUCH more time praying for OTHERS. Jesus tells us not to spend much time praying for ourselves (as the heathen do, Matthew 6:7). But the Lord taught that God the Father is PLEASED when we spend lengthy amounts of prayer PERSEVERING for the needs and burdens of OTHERS. In Luke 11:5-6 a man came to his neighbor, pleading at midnight for the NEEDS of a friend who made a long journey and is hungry. The Lord is pleased very much when we spend a lot of time thinking and praying for others.
This is what the Lord means when He says, “LAY UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES IN HEAVEN” in Matthew 6:20. Matthew 6:19-20, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” Carefully notice the Scriptures in Matthew 6:1-18 which precede the Lord's exhortation to lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven. These Scriptures speak of giving alms (money to the poor), praying, forgiveness and prayer. All of these things are rooted in OTHERS.
We lay up treasures in Heaven by INVESTING IN OTHERS. Philippians 2:4-5 says that Jesus looked (regarded) the things of others. The word “things” in Philippians 2:5 does not mean material possessions; but rather, thinking beyond one's self. It means thinking about other people instead of our self all the time. Philippians 2:4-5, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” It means thinking about other people instead of our self all the time.
The Lord Wants U To Invest In Others
Have you ever cried for the suffering of OTHERS? I repeatedly capitalize the word “OTHERS” in my article to help myself think beyond myself. By typing the word OTHERS in big letters, I am focusing on OTHERS. I am writing this article because I am thinking about OTHERS, and I want you to start thinking about OTHERS. God is very pleased when we put OTHERS before our self.
The Lord wants us to think about OTHERS. Jesus said that we don't need to pray for a long time, because God the Father already knows our needs (Matthew 6:7-8). Jesus wonderfully teaches praying for OTHERS in the story of the man who woke his neighbor at midnight, to beg bread for his friend come to him in his long journey. This parable teaches PERSEVERING PRAYER. Luke 11:5-6, “And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?” Most Christians selfishly pray for themselves and then get mad at God after a week if He doesn't answer. That is not how God wants us to pray. The way to get your prayers answered is to pray for OTHERS.
Do you know when God turned the captivity of Job? It wasn't when Job prayed for himself. It was when Job prayed for his friends. Job 42:10, “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” My friend, do you want to be like Jesus? Do you want to have the mind of Christ? Philippians 2:4-5, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Jesus looked on the things of OTHERS. The Greek word for “look” is skopeo and means “regard.” Jesus regarded the things of OTHERS.
Many people selfishly leave their shopping cart in the parking lot, throw their garbage on the ground, only buy a cold drink for them self, et cetera. Do you think such a person will weep tears for OTHERS? No way! The first step to becoming a Christian who cares and weeps for OTHERS is to regard little things, especially concerning OTHERS. There's no such thing as a perfect believer who always thinks about others. I dare say that even the best Christians spend 5% of their time thinking about others. Albeit, if you just thought about OTHERS 5% of the time, you'd be a very, very good Christian.
When I was in San Diego for my 2nd neck surgery, I asked the cab driver if he knew of a good pizza place. He told me about a place around the corner and I asked him if he'd please wait for me to get some pizza. It was deep pan from Pizzeria Uno. I bought two big slices for the cab driver and surprised him. That's how the Lord wants us to live all the time. I don't always think about OTHERS, and I get upset with myself when I don't. The Apostle Paul served the Lord with tears...
Acts 20:31, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”
2nd Corinthians 2:4, “For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.”
2nd Timothy 1:4, “Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy.”
The Bible teaches that we who are spiritual ought to pray for OTHERS who aren't. 1st Timothy 2:1, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” 1st Timothy 2:4 stresses the salvation of souls. This ought to be the heart of our prayer life, that is, getting souls saved. In Luke 11:5-13 Jesus taught about PERSEVERING PRAYER for OTHERS. The Lord tells us not to spend much time praying for ourselves (Matthew 6:7). But the Lord teaches us to prayer at length for OTHERS, which is what 1st Timothy 2:1 means. In his excellent book titled, Exploring Prayer With Jack Hyles, Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001) teaches concerning Priests And Intercessors. Few believers ever hear any teachings on praying for OTHERS, but that's exactly who God wants us to spend most of our time praying for.
An Amazing Truth About Prayer
God is pleased by our persistence in prayer. The following story is told by Jesus that “men ought always to pray and not to faint“ ...
Luke 18:1-8, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint [quit] ; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them [doesn't seem to answer]? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily [quickly]. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
Notice in verse one that the Bible tells us WHY Jesus is telling this story, that is, that men ought ALWAYS to pray and not faint. Then Jesus tells the story and concludes in verse eight, by asking if there will be any faith when He returns someday. Clearly the Lord associates prayer with the faith of the believer. Most believers don't pray 3-minutes a day. The story is a popular one, of the unjust judge avenging a widow to make her go away.
But here's something that I guarantee you never knew. This is an amazing truth that you're about to learn. Notice the phrase in verse seven “though he bear long with them.” The Greek word for the phrase “he bear long” is makrothumeo and means “to be long spirited, that is, (objectively) forbearing or (subjectively) patient.” My friend, do you know what it means to FORBEAR? It means not to do something. It means when God doesn't do anything in response to your prayer. The Bible is saying that when the saints pray, and God DOESN'T do anything, he is still pleased that you are continually to pray, and eventually God will answer if you don't quit.
Most believers pray and then quit because God doesn't answer right away. They don't understand the nature of God and prayer. It is standard for God not to answer right away, because the Bible plainly says He is pleased by our persistence. If we don't faint and quit, then Jesus said the Father would avenge us and answer our prayer. I wonder how many people have prayed 9-times for something, but then quit, and on the 10th prayer God would have answered. The Bible plainly teaches in Luke 18:1-8 that God doesn't answer our prayers right away because it pleases Him for us to have to ask repeatedly and continually. God wants our fellowship.
Your faith is greater if you are required to ask longer and hang in there. I believe that certain prayer requests from God require greater faith, and so we will have to pray longer and wait longer. So it is normal for God not to answer our prayers at the beginning. Jesus is teaching that God is pleased when we have to continue asking for something. Prayer is asking, that's for certain. The Bible says, “Ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2). So definitely, prayer is asking.
A Ministry Of Reconciliation
We ought to intercede for other men in a ministry of reconciliation as Paul taught in 2nd Corinthians 5:18, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” God loves humanity and sent His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world (John 3:16). No one loves people as much as God. It is so typical of our sinful nature to want to get things from God for ourselves, without ever doing anything for OTHERS. The very heart of God is that He loves mankind and wants as many people to get saved as possible. If we want to please God as we were created to do (Revelation 4:11), then He wants us to preach the Gospel, love our neighbor as our self, pray for our neighbor and shed tears for OTHERS.
Everything is about SELF these days, like “SELF” magazine. You'll never see a magazine called “OTHERS” (and if you did no one would by it hardly). Our prayer life, thoughts, activities and tears should be invested in helping OTHERS find the Lord and walk closer with God. Nothing will matter 100-years from now accept what each of the 6.8 billions people alive on earth today did with th Gospel. There will be more people saved and lost in the decades to come, than from all the 6,000 years of mankind's history. Never before have the fields been as ripe unto harvest as they are right now.
This website has been created in Jesus' name—the name above every other name (Philippians 2:9-10).
"Ye that love the LORD, hate evil..." —Psalm 97:10
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