Saturday, April 25, 2015

If Our Heart Condemn Us Not


Do you realize we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to getting an answer to our prayers? Jesus just said that when we pray the Father, if we believe, we will receive that which we ask. We have an active part in receiving an answer to our prayers. We must believe. 




Mar 11:22-24  And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.  (23)  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.  (24)  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
 
We must put our faith in God and trust that he will answer our prayer and give us what we ask for. But often there's a barrier to answered prayer that we erect ourselves. We have faith in God but sometimes deep in our heart we may not feel confident that God will answer our prayer.


1Jn 3:18-22  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.  (19)   And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.  (20)   For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.  (21)  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.  (22)   And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.


This passage generally speaks to showing love and compassion toward our brother but our heart can also condemn us in other ways and cause us to doubt in our heart even though we do our best to keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. What is it that causes our heart to condemn us?


We may do our very best to keep his commandments with the help of God's Holy Spirit. We strive diligently each and every day to do those things that are pleasing in His sight, yet our own heart betrays us.


We may diligently repent of our sins and receive God's forgiveness every single day yet our own heart reveals a fault we may not even be consciously aware of.


Jesus said that what things soever we desire, when we pray, believe that we receive them and we will have them. We know that these things must be in accordance with God's will too yet how often do we seek God's will? (The reason why we don’t seek His will lies at the core of the reason we erect that barrier to answered prayer.)  


How often do we ask God for what we want without ever considering what He wants? Quite often God's will is an afterthought. In fact, sometimes it's less than that. It's a hedge against receiving what we asked for. It's an insurance policy that we take out to protect what we claim is our faith.


I have heard prayers offered, and you have too, usually in extremely dire circumstances, an accident has put someone's life at risk, someone is on their deathbed, or there's some situation that only God's intervention can remedy. Toward the end of the prayer these words are added, "But your will be done Lord".


We don't think God would actually intervene on our behalf because our request is too great or the result would be too miraculous. So after we make our request, we slip in the words, "but Your will be done" as kind of an out in case of failure so our faith is not put on the line. We take out an insurance policy just in case it doesn’t work. We wouldn’t want it to appear we had a lack of faith, so it must have been God’s will.

Why would we only pray "thy will be done" when it involves something we have little faith is likely to happen? Shouldn't we pray "thy will be done" all the time? Do we believe God wants what's best for us? Do we believe that all things work together for good for those that love him, (Rom 8:28) even if that means his answer is "no"?


Why would we limit our God with our lack of faith by adding "but your will be be done Lord" in a spirit of defeat and resignation instead of trusting that God's will is what's best in the first place? We need to trust that God's will is the best outcome even if we don't understand it at this time. Even if the person dies.


Do we believe God loves us? Do we believe our faith is strong enough? Maybe on a personal level we have doubts about both. Maybe we feel that if God were to answer our prayer it would be way out of proportion to the small amount of faith we feel at the time so we have little or no expectation that he will.


Maybe the way I've been acting lately, neglecting my Bible studies, not praying often enough, or the way I've been treating people make me feel unworthy of such an amazing reward from God. In other words, God doesn't love me that much right now. Why would he intervene on my behalf?


We are to live by faith not by sight (Rom 1:17; 2Cor 5:7) so does it matter what we FEEL about whether or not God will answer our prayer. Can we take God at His word? Yes or no? He told us he will answer our prayers if we simply believe, if we have faith. But are we allowing our feelings to undermine our belief? Do we let our feelings of unworthiness undermine our faith?

Are we allowing our negative feelings to condemn our hearts and block receipt of the answer we seek? The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (Jas 5:16) But what if we don't feel righteous? We're never going to feel righteous. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. (Isa 64:6) We have no righteousness! We must put on the righteousness of Christ! (Rom 13:14)


We must confess our sins, our weakness, our inability to do anything in and of ourselves in this life on a daily basis. (Joh 5:30) Then cry out in the name of our high priest, our advocate that sits at the right hand of God and trust him to intervene on our behalf by praying in Jesus' name. (1Jn 2:1-2) Otherwise, our deceitful heart will condemn us and block our prayer. (Jer 17:9)


Do we believe God? I don't mean do we believe IN God. I mean do we BELIEVE God? (Heb 11:6) Do we take Him at His word? Do we believe his exceeding great and precious promises? (2Pet 1:4) We are told that all things work together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. Can we take God at his word or not? Of course we can!


When we pray to God and ask for his divine intervention it's perfectly okay to remind God of what he has promised as it relates to the matter at hand. Because you're not actually reminding God anyway. He doesn't need reminding. What you're doing is letting God know that you know and that you have faith in what he told us in his Word and that you trust him.


Now the answer may still be "no" so we need to reconcile it in our own hearts and minds that this outcome is the best in the long run because we trust God. God knows all things and can see all things even things that are not apparent to us at the time. It may be that if we had God's knowledge and perspective we would make the same decision.


We need to have a clear conscience before the Lord if we are to expect our prayers to be answered. (Act 24:16; 1Pe 3:21) We do that by confessing our sins and he is faithful and just to forgive. (1Jn 1:9) That's what his word says. God forgives us but how often is it that we don’t forgive ourselves? We have been forgiven through the precious blood sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ if we repent and ask God’s forgiveness.  We can then come boldly to the throne of grace to make our petition known. (Heb 4:16) But if we don’t forgive ourselves, it causes us to doubt and we don’t believe and it erodes our faith.


And here’s the barrier we erect. We intellectually can conceive that God loves us, generally speaking, but our heart condemns us on a personal level. I don’t believe he loves me and has my best interest at heart. Sure he loves US, but not me. I don’t have any sway with God. So instead of seeking His will for our lives and trusting in Him and what He has in store for us we try to win his favor so he'll reward us with what we ask him when we pray.  And in our heart we know we’re not good enough so the answer never comes.


But God does love us. Each and every one of us. He told us so. (Eph 2:4) God IS love! (1Jn 4:8) He loved us so much that he gave his only begotten son for us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8) We didn't deserve it! We'll never FEEL like we deserve it.


God's grace is a gift from our loving Father who loves us more than we can ever comprehend. (Eph 2:8) We have to trust in the cleansing power of Christ's blood shed for us to reconcile us to our loving God (Rom 5:10) so that we can come to him with our humble requests and expect to have an audience with him, that he will hear our prayers. (Heb 9:14) Not because of anything we’ve done but because of what Christ has done to clear the way for us to speak directly to the Father.


Heb 10:19-22   Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  (20)   By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  (21)   And having an high priest over the house of God;  (22)   Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
 
We need to stop allowing our hearts to condemn us if we have repented of our sins and strive daily to keep God's commandments and to do those things that are pleasing in his sight. We need to put our faith in the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, to purge our consciences (Heb 9:14) so that we may put on Christ and His righteousness so that we may confidently approach the living God in prayer.


Seek God's will and trust Him to have your best interest at heart. God does love you. He told you himself that he loves you. Believe Him!



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Reference Scripture:

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us notthen have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. (1Jn 3:18-24)

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Mat 7:7-11)


Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. (Joh 14:12-15)
  
And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. (Mar 11:22-26)

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (Joh 5:30)

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much(Jas 5:16)

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Rom 13:14)

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1Jn 2:1-2)
  
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith(Rom 1:17)

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2Co 5:6-8)

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him(Heb 11:6)

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isa 64:6)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer 17:9)

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2Pe 1:4)

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: (1Pe 3:21)

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. (Act 24:16)
  
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb 9:14)

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness(1Jn 1:3-9)
  
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psa 103:12)

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:16)

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us(Rom 5:8)
  
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God(Eph 2:8)

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us(Eph 2:4)

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love(1Jn 4:8)

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Rom 5:10)

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb 10:19-22)

According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him(Eph 3:11-12)
  
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end(Heb 3:14)

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming(1Jn 2:28)
  
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (1Jn 4:16-17)

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Rom 7:22-25)

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal(2Co 4:15-18)

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:25-27)



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I strive to be as the Bereans spoken of in Acts 17:10-11 receiving the word with all readiness of mind, and searching the scriptures daily, whether those things are so. Check up on me in your own bible. Should you find me in error please let me know immediately. We must prove all things (1Thes 5:21) and rightly divide the word of truth (2Tim 2:15) together lest we be deceived. (Matt 24:24)

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