Monday, January 4, 2016

Jesus Answers Whatever We Ask For, So Come with Bold Confidence (1 John 3:21-22)

Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will received from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him
(1 John 3:21-22, NLT).

A person who has what we call a ‘troubled conscience’ is an unhappy person – feeling guilty about practically everything, rethinking and reliving situations, hanging on to past hurts. Living the past today. When I was in campus, I know a person like that. No matter where he went, it was like small cloud was over his head, and it rained only on him. For everyone else, the sky was shiny and bright. So sad.

One of the ways we can grow as Christians is to share these troubles with God – “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7). We can have great peace when our consciences do not continue to trouble us more than they should. As we learn to trust God and take Him at His Word, God’s love continues to change us.  A troubled conscience can become a means through which we feel close to God and others – and even to ourselves. “If we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence.” This is the confidence that not only can we approach God with our needs, but that He will answer our prayers.

Earlier, Jesus Christ had promised: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You parents – if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:7-11). What a great promise! This is an unlimited answer to prayer. Do Jesus (and John) really mean that whatever you ask for you will get? Wouldn’t some people take advantage of this? Personally, I can think of all kinds of things I like to ask for myself!

But let’s put these thoughts in its context. Jesus said elsewhere, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” (John 15:7). In the fifth chapter of this letter, the Apostle John adds an important qualifying phrase: “If we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us” (1 John 5:14, Amplified Bible). In other words, we are not to ask for just anything that appeals to us. We should remain and live in Christ and get to know His will well enough so that what we want becomes what God wants for us. And we know that God wants what is best for us and what makes us truly happy (Besides our needs, it is always God’s will and joy that we ask for justice, mercy and humility. Pray for these!).

So, as we pray, God may answer “Yes”, “No” or “Wait.” That doesn’t mean that our prayers are not all answered but that God may answer them in His own special way and time. We may be surprised how much better God’s options are for us than what we pray for at first. God knows best. Keep on praying, and trust Him. Pray like this: “Lord Jesus, help me to want what You want for me. Help me to find out Your will. Right now, it seems that <immediate need> is the best option, but You know what is best for me. Thank You for the promise that You hear and answer my prayers. You know me better than I know myself. Thanks for what has been, and for what is yet to be. Amen.”

Friends, first “obey him and do the things that please him,
then “we will received from him whatever we ask.”

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