Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 38

Prayers of Intercession continued...

We also learn how to pray for ourselves, and intercede for others from the words that Jesus prayed to the Father. Jesus never prayed that we be taken out of the world, but that the Father would keep us from the evil one while we are in the world.

Jesus prayed for our protection, Jesus prayed that we be kept safe from the evil one. Jesus prayed that the Father would keep watch over us, and act as a defense and a shield against the enemy on our behalf.

Because of the self-empowerment movement which has captivated the church for the better part of a decade, one of the most difficult realizations for some believers to come to is that in and of themselves they are powerless against the enemy.

We stand not in our own strength, we stand not in our own abilities, we stand not in our own understanding; we stand in the power of the Christ, we stand not because of ourselves, but because of the One who resides in us.

One of the surest ways for a believer to stumble and fall is to start believing they can stand in their own strength. We are dependent upon God for protection, we are dependent upon God for keeping us from the evil one, and just as sheep are dependent on their shepherd for keeping the wolves at bay, we, the sheep of His pasture, are dependent on our Shepherd to keep us from the enemy.

God is our defense, He is our shield, He is our shelter, He is our fortification and strong tower, and we come before Him with prayers of intercession for ourselves, as well as our fellow brothers in Christ, that He might keep us under the shadow of His wing.

Often times we realize the true measure of our impotence when it’s already too late. It is only after we’ve suffered a defeat, or a setback that we come to realize we weren’t really as strong as we thought ourselves to be.

Until the day of battle is at hand, every soldier fancies himself a hero, a warrior, one who will distinguish himself through valor and bravery. When battle finally arrives, some of those who thought themselves strong, unyielding, and courageous, realize what it is to be in the heat of battle, and their strength seeps out of them like water from a broken pitcher.

Our strength does not come from flesh, it does not come from ourselves, it comes from God, through the Holy Spirit, and only by being clothed in righteousness and having put on the whole armor of God will we be able to stand against the enemy, and not run from battle.

‘Lord keep us, Lord protect us, Lord shield us, for we are in constant danger, and the enemy we face takes no prisoners.’

It is not easy today, just as it has not been easy throughout the history of the church, to live an authentic Christian life. Living such a life requires discipline, it requires self-renunciation, it requires watchfulness, it requires obedience, and it requires much prayer.

John 17:17, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”

Not only did Jesus pray to the Father for our protection, He also prayed for our sanctification. To be sanctified is to be set apart, consecrated, purified, and holy. We are sanctified not of ourselves, but by the truth of God’s word.

When we stand before God on that great and terrible day of the Lord, He will not inquire as to what denomination we belonged to, His only concern will be whether or not we are sanctified, consecrated and purified.

The word of God is clear on the need for sanctification, the need to be set apart, to be different than those of the world in word and deed and action and creed. In the world but not of it; among them but not like them; the difference and distinction must be evident even upon the most cursory of inspections.

Jesus prayed that the Father sanctify us by His word, and we must likewise pray for the selfsame sanctification to take place in our hearts and lives. Not once in a while, not only on Sundays, but sanctified in perpetuity, wherever we might find ourselves, and whatever circumstance we might find ourselves in.

If we are to be the salt and the light, we must realize that these things cannot be hidden. You can taste the salt when it’s present in a dish, just as you can see light when it shines in the darkness. There is no such thing as undercover Christianity, and clandestine believers are no believers at all.

Yes, I’ve heard the theories that in order to attract the world we must become like the world, and act like the world, but if we’re merely attempting to attract the world to more of itself, is it worth the trouble?

Is it just for the increased revenue that churches are attempting to bring people through their doors, or is it that they might find the Christ, and salvation and redemption and forgiveness?

If it’s to find salvation, redemption and forgiveness of sin, then we must live according to the precepts of Christ, and not mimic the lifestyle of the world in order to attract those of the world.

We live sanctified lives, knowing that God will do a good work in those who come in search of answers, transforming them and sanctifying them by the power of His word.

When you see someone on the edge of a precipice, you don’t step up next to them, teetering back and forth in order to prove to them how dangerous what they are doing is, you grab them and pull them back, preventing their destruction.

We do not become like the world in order to attract the world, we become more like Jesus, so those in the storm might see the lighthouse and seek shelter.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Michael, this is SO well put, so true, and so refreshing! Amen and amen!