Hindered Prayer continued...
Besides being gatekeepers of our own heart, we are also the gardeners, and soil tillers of our hearts. Yes, I know, with all the honorary titles we have it’s a wonder we get anything done, but alas, being vigilant and keeping one’s heart pure in the sight of God is of paramount importance as well as a fulltime job.
Perhaps it’s because we’ve minimized the importance of keeping one’s heart free of iniquity that we take so little time in searching our hearts, and discovering if something has crept in, or been allowed in that ought not to be there. It all begins with the heart, and whether the heart is focused on God, and the kingdom of God, or on this earth and the things of this earth, it will be proven out by our actions, our desires, our conduct and our motivation.
Before we can ask of God, we must make certain we are living out the gospel, and doing the will of the Father. God knows us and receives us not because we are more righteous than our neighbor, not because we are more penitent than our spouse, but because He sees His Son in us, He recognizes that which is of Himself, and responds to it.
If Christ is not in us, if He is not preeminently exalted and singularly glorified in our heart, then we cannot hope to have the ear of God, or receive an answer to our prayers.
If iniquity still resides in our heart, then Christ cannot be present therein. Jesus will not share space with iniquity. He will not cohabitate or coexist with sin, even though those stickers on the back of cars seem to infer as much.
Jesus is not interested in coexisting with sin. He is not interested in cohabitating with iniquity. He desires your heart in its totality, and will accept nothing less. One thing is certain throughout the scriptures: God does not compromise!
If God did not compromise for the sake of His own people, for the sake of those who called on His name, what makes us think He will compromise for the sake of a generation who is doing everything in its power to do away with the very memory of Him?
On our own, in and of ourselves, it is impossible to have a clear conscience. It is impossible to possess a heart absent iniquity, but with Christ and through Christ, all things are possible for it is He through His blood that purges our conscience, and cleanses our hearts.
Hebrews 9:13-14, “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
That which is dead must be purged from us, that Christ may live through us. We serve a living God; therefore we must be living servants, having done away with dead works, dead desires, and dead thoughts.
The third thing to hinder our prayers, as well as our prayers being answered is idolatry.
‘Alright, you lost me. I get disobedience being a hindrance; I even get the iniquity of the heart being a hindrance, but idolatry? Who practices idolatry anymore?’
Granted, we don’t have idols of stone, and steel and those carved in wood anymore, but countless believers practice idolatry nevertheless. What we fail to realize, is that anything that establishes itself upon the throne of the heart, can readily become an idol.
Ezekiel 14:3, “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?”
The idols were not in some temple, they were not on some high hill…they were in the hearts of men. I submit to you, that men are as much idol worshippers today as they ever were, if not more so. From idolizing musicians, to sports figures, to politicians, to actors, to spending countless hours and untold amounts of money pursuing certain hobbies, all these things are idols of the heart, which God looks upon with distaste.
‘Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?’
God asks Ezekiel this question rhetorically, because He already knows the answer to His question. If God did not let Himself be inquired of by those who had set up idols in their hearts, and He changes not, can we not then conclude that if we have likewise set up idols in our hearts He will show us the same unresponsiveness?
Make no mistake; anything that takes the place of God in our hearts and lives is an idol.
Colossians 3:5-7, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you also once walked when you lived in them.”
In one fell swoop the word of God identifies every proponent of the prosperity gospel as an idolater. It is right there in the word of God, and you can even look it up for yourself if you’d like. Covetousness is idolatry, and what the prosperity gospel preaches is essentially covetousness, meaning to have a strong or inordinate desire to possess or obtain some supposed good.
Don’t tell me there are no idolaters in our day and age… by how the Bible defines an idolater, the church today is full of them.
Not only will God not allow Himself to be inquired of by those who have set up idols in their hearts, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience because of these things.
Once, we also walked and lived in such things, for we were in the darkness groping for the light, but now that we have been sanctified and reconciled, we must make certain that our members which are on the earth have been put to death, that He who was and is, and is to come might shine through us all the more.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.