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Friday, April 6, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 37

Prayers of Intercession continued...

James the apostle of Christ, also tells us that whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. By the same token, whoever therefore wants to be a friend of God makes himself an enemy of the world. We must love one and hate the other, and because there is a clear delineation between the two, one will be your friend, and the other will be your enemy.

The question is: who do you want to be a friend to? Do you desire to be a friend more to the world than you do to God, or do you desire to be a friend to God more than you do to the world? By the very nature of your existence you will be at enmity with either God or the world. One or the other will have preeminence in your life, you will devote more of your time either to God, or to the world, and by the choices we make on a daily basis, we gravitate toward one of the two.

I know it’s popular to slap a ‘coexist’ sticker on our back bumper, take the world by the hand, and dance the dance of friendship around a bonfire, but the word of God is still the word of God, and if it tells us that cohabitation is impossible, and that equally dividing the heart between God and the world cannot be done, then we must believe the word.

To some it may seem that I’m harping on this particular topic, but if I am, it is for good reason. A divided Christian is an ineffective Christian. When a believer allows the world to worm its way into their heart, and their loyalties become divided, they have been effectively neutralized by the enemy.

We are in the world, but not of the world. These words are far more profound than they seem at first glance. We live in the world, but our affinities, our kinships, our desires, our aspirations, and our empathies are not of the world. We do not see sin as the world sees sin. We do not see sin as something enjoyable and innocuous, we see it as God sees it, we see it for what it is, and we realize it is destructive, and detrimental to our spiritual man.

If we are friends with the world, then we are at enmity with God. If we see sin as an acceptable practice in the life of a believer, we are spurning holiness, and trampling on the blood of the Son of God.

Yes, it is that cut and dry, it is that black and white and I could continue with the clich├ęs, but yes, our Christian walk, our lives in Christ, are that simple. We are either for God, or against Him. We are either God’s friend or the world’s. We either strive and hunger after truth and righteousness, or we are lukewarm, compromising, Pharisees who know nothing of His love, grace and mercy.

We want the benefits of son ship without the requisite commitment. We want the blessings of God, without the worship of Him. Neither the blessings of God, nor the benefits of son ship can be had independent of being committed to Him and worshiping Him as Lord and King of all.

We, who belong to the Body of Christ, have received the words of Christ, the selfsame words the Father gave Him, and as such have been transformed by them. There is a difference between hearing the word, and receiving the word. Not only have we heard the word of God, we have received it, allowing it to take root in our hearts, and begin the work of regeneration in us.

We no longer walk in darkness, or the lust of the flesh, or the ways of the world, because the word of God has transformed us, renewed our minds and hearts, that we may be vessels of glory unto Him.

What does this have to do with prayer?

Everything! Christ intercedes on behalf of those who are His, whom the Father gave Him. Christ intercedes on behalf of those who have been born again, and God the Father hears the prayers of the righteous.

Our right standing with God determines whether He will answer our prayers. Our right standing with God determines whether He will intervene on our behalf.

If we are friends with the world, and by definition at enmity with God, how can we expect Him to answer our prayers, whether they be prayers of intercession, or petition?

John 17:8-9, “For I have given to them the words which you have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given me for they are Yours.”

Three things define those who belong to Christ. First, they hear the word, second they receive the word, and third they believe the word. Jesus gave the words which the Father had given Him, some who heard received them, and then they believed that truly, Jesus had been sent of God. It is those who heard, received, and believed the words of Jesus that He identifies as His own, as those whom the Father gave Him.

By understanding who the Body of Christ is, as identified by the word, we will understand His prayers on behalf of the Body, and we will likewise learn to pray for the Body that it might be what He intended it to be when it came into maturity. If Jesus prayed for the Church, if Jesus prayed for those who were His, then we must likewise pray for those of the household of faith. We must love the brethren as Christ loved, coming before the Father with prayers of intercession when we see our brothers struggling, going through trials, or coming under spiritual attacks. It is our duty to pray, and we do so with boldness, knowing that the Lord hears and answers our prayers.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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