1 Corinthians 9:19-23(NIV) Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
One must have a passion for Christ to have a passion for souls. If our passion is rooted in our love for Christ then we will escape the disease of duty. Jesus used all He did to show the love of God for everyone. He met them right where they were. He didn't preach at them. He loved them. One cannot do that if one is not in a love relationship with Christ. If we love Him we cannot but love others; including the lost.
Jesus gave Peter the blueprint for having a passion for soul. We must be fishers of me. To be a true fisherman one must endure long, cold nights. Storms and nights that seem to yield no fish. We cast out the gospel and then the Holy Spirit uses our efforts to bring in the souls.
A fisherman learns patience, endurance and gentleness lest they lose their catch. Souls are far more valuable than fish but the principles that a fisherman uses to keep their catch from harm or injury should be the same ones we use in winning souls for Christ.
Lastly being a fisherman is often seen as a lowly job. It is not but the fact that being seen a common worker does not deter the fisherman from being a fisherman. So too we need to be humble in sharing the gospel. Remember we are no different than the lost except for the redeeming grace of God. This is the key to evangelism; seeking the lost and sharing the gospel with humility and love.
Then he instructed Peter to feed His sheep. This is the nurturing of the new believer and the older ones too. When we think of a shepherd with often think of King David. He was a shepherd before he was king. He had lived with his flocks and not only did he know them, but they knew him. He knew which sheep was easily frightened, which had a sensitive stomach to certain grasses and which one seemed to stumble a lot. As members of God's family our passion for souls does not end at winning them to Christ. It means we spend the time to build relationships with members of our Christian family. To be approachable, open and aware of the needs of others.
If we want to show passion for souls we must live among them so that they see Jesus in us daily. We must be willing to share our struggles . If we always are 'all together' then others may think because they stumble at times that they are not redeemed or worthy of salvation. We all are human and we all fall at times, but our salvation is safe in God's keeping. This is part of feeding the flock. Helping them see that when they stumble to seek forgiveness quickly and keep moving forward.
If we only lead them to Christ and desert them because we do not spend time seeing that they are nourished in the Word then we are not feeding His sheep. Sometimes the greatest witness to winning others is letting them see how we nourish Christ's sheep; young or old.
Jesus told us all to make disciples. This is one of our greatest failings! We lead others to Christ, give them a Bible and send them on their way. We would never do that to an infant, so why do we do that to a babe in Christ? In order to disciple someone we must invest real time and energy. Remember the disciples stayed in the communities that had new converts until the time they could stand on their own. Sometimes it was only months, but other times the disciples stayed with the believers for years.
Remember we are not responsible for the breath of our ministry but the depth of our walk. When we get caught up in numbers we miss the true mission of having a passion for souls. Many are scorched, withered and die because we fail to make disciples. Jesus said He would build His church so our job is to nurture those in our sphere of influence and let Christ add the numbers.
Lastly... Evangelism is sharing the wonder of God's great love and grace. We share the word and the Holy Spirit woos them into the kingdom. There are many books out there telling us how to evangelize the world for Christ. But when the focus is on numbers and human success, we have lost the message. Our job is to show God's love and plan of salvation in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Jesus is the one who said,' If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.' So we lift up Him and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.
Our job is to humbly seek the lost with patience, perseverance, and love. To nourish all the members of His flock within our lives with openness and humility. We are to search God's Word together so that we can grow in our faith. These are the marks of those who have a passion for souls.
A passion for souls springs from a passionate relationship with Christ.