Any­thing?

Porterville Recorder - - RELIGION - TOM West

1 John 3:21-23 says; (21) Dear friends, if our hearts do not con­demn us, we have con­fi­dence be­fore God (22) and re­ceive from him any­thing we ask, be­cause we obey his com­mands and do what pleases him. (23) And this is his com­mand: to be­lieve in the name of his son, Je­sus Christ, and to love one an­other as he com­manded.” (NIV)

There is no doubt that the text says, re­ceive from him any­thing we ask. The Apos­tle John said it un­der in­spi­ra­tion of the Holy Spirit….any­thing! Does that mean that if I were to ask God to win the six-hun­dred­mil­lion dol­lar lot­tery I will win it be­cause he said that we can re­ceive any­thing we ask from him? I won­der how many peo­ple have asked for that lot­tery ticket and not re­ceived it.

Let’s un­pack this pas­sage and un­der­stand it in its lit­er­ary con­text. John gave us three qual­i­fiers in the text. First, our hearts can­not con­demn us. Sec­ond, we have to obey his com­mands and do what pleases him and his first com­mand is that we be­lieve in the name of his Son, Je­sus Christ. Third, we have to obey his com­mands and do what pleases him; specif­i­cally we must love one an­other as he com­manded.

If we are to re­ceive any­thing we ask of the Lord our hearts can­not con­demn us. My heart in the Bi­ble is my think­ing and my emo­tions. If my mind and emo­tion don’t con­demn me I can re­ceive any­thing I ask from the Lord. That is a lot like say­ing if my con­science is clear I can ask any­thing of the Lord and re­ceive it. My con­science will be clear when I get the other two qual­i­fies in place.

If I am to re­ceive any­thing I ask of the Lord I must be­lieve in the name of his Son, Je­sus Christ. In sum­mary that means that I live my life trust­ing in Je­sus Christ for ev­ery­thing. When I trust Christ for ev­ery­thing in my life I am go­ing to be fo­cused on him and what he wants and it should never cross my mind to ask for some­thing that is not his will. Liv­ing a life of faith in Christ as­sumes that I will be seek­ing things that fit his will. Why wouldn’t he give me things that are clearly his will?

If I can get any­thing I ask of God I must love oth­ers as he com­manded me. If I love oth­ers as he com­manded I would only be ask­ing for things from him that re­flect that kind of love for oth­ers. I won’t be ask­ing for retri­bu­tion from him for some­one I dis­agree with or hate. Why? I can dis­agree with peo­ple with­out hat­ing them. If I love oth­ers as he com­manded I will be ask­ing for his bless­ing even for my en­emy.

Fur­ther, if my heart is right and I live by faith in Christ and if I love oth­ers like he com­manded I rec­og­nize that He is God and I am not and He an­swers prayer on His terms be­cause He is in charge of the uni­verse as God and I am not. With a clear con­science, a life fo­cused on liv­ing for Christ by faith and a life based on lov­ing oth­ers I want God to do it His way and only His way!

I put it this way, if it is not from God I don’t even want it!

When I get the qual­i­fier in place it says that we have con­fi­dence be­fore God! Some trans­la­tions trans­late con­fi­dence with the word “bold­ness!” With the qual­i­fiers in place we can pray boldly know­ing that we can re­ceive any­thing we ask of the Lord, all the time know­ing that He will do it His way and that is al­ways best!

How does all this work out in real life? In 2012 I per­formed my sis­ter’s funeral. I was four­teen-and-one-half years her se­nior. Can­cer took her at 48 years of age. My prayer had been that she would be can­cer free. My as­sump­tion was that I was ask­ing for that in this life, but I al­ways un­der­stood that God is God and I am not him and He an­swers prayer His way…. As it should be!

My con­science was al­ways clear and I lived my life then and now by faith in Christ and based on lov­ing oth­ers. In my mes­sage at her funeral I ex­plained that my prayer had been that she would be can­cer free. I pointed out that she was in Heaven in God’s pres­ence…. can­cer free!

Any­thing? Yes, any­thing! Tom West is a re­tired pas­tor work­ing in auto sales at Porter­ville Ford and can be reached for com­ment at 602.758.1168

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.