Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, March 30, 2015
Based Upon 1 John 5:14-15
Religious people often debate the issue of answered prayers. Certain groups have Bible evidence for their positions, while others misuse their feelings and experiences as a guide. The truth is that God is more interested in answering our prayers than we are in praying them. Moreover, our loving heavenly Father loves to give us the desires of our hearts. Now, before some of you become concerned that I am suggesting that God cosigns absolutely anything we desire, don’t worry. God is in the business of embracing all who come to Him as we are, and as He does so, He begins to change us into the people we should be. During this loving process, we begin to receive the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5; Ezekiel 36:24-27). As we abide in Him, learning to think His thoughts after Him, our desires become holy. We prioritize His will for us above our independent will for ourselves. Thus, it is possible and safe for God to give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4).
Since God is Sovereign and knows the end from the beginning, there are some prayers He simply cannot approve. He always has our best interest and His divine cause at heart. Our prayers are always much bigger than we are. There is so much more at stake than the narrow focus of our requests. Yet, there is a prayer that God can approve 100% of the time. Our theme text highlights the fact that our confidence in God and His attention in our lives are inextricably linked to making our requests subject to His will. This is a key that is often overlooked, but will unlock many blessings. We will only highlight one—freedom from sin.
Do you realize that God wants every single human being to live with Him in His eternal kingdom? Death and separation from God was never His desire for us. The difficulty arises when we embrace sin as a lifestyle. Notice what the Bible says: “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, And your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1–2). Concerning Jesus’ apparent delay in returning to save us, the Bible also says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Now, let’s tie a bow on this and celebrate affirmative answers to prayer. We just read that God’s will is not that anyone perish, but that everyone have godly sorrow for sin, and turn our hearts away from it. Therefore, anyone who asks God for victory over sin in our lives, is already in alignment with His revealed will, and will be abundantly granted that request.
Have you struggled with a sin habit for years and wonder if God is willing to help you? Do you feel like you have gone too far and cannot be saved? Be encouraged, dear friends. The only reason we are even aware of our sinfulness is because God reveals it to us in order to liberate us from its grasp. Our ability to sin cannot possibly be more powerful than God’s ability to save. “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant” (Romans 5:20, NLT).
Ask your loving heavenly Father to keep His promise in your life today. Ask Him to bolster your confidence in the fact that He hears the sincere prayers of those who desire to do His will, but do not know how. Ask Him to teach you to trust that it is His will for you to live eternally, and He has already promised to grant the petition you have desired of Him. In these things, the answer is always, “Yes!” Believe it . . . by faith.