Mars Hill Staff Devotional
Read the Scripture: 1 John 3:21-24
Would you tag your relationship with God super vibrant? Ultra dull? Or somewhere in between?
This short message from Ray Stedman may shed some light on what makes the difference.
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him (1 John 3:21-22).
Part of the reason so many are finding Christianity to be boring is because they are not experiencing the kind of Christian living described in this passage. They have not entered into this kind of relationship, where each day they experience the glorious adventure of seeing a living God at work, answering prayer, and giving to them things that they ask. But in this passage we have a beautiful picture of the normal life of a Christian. It is all centered in prayer, because prayer is the most fundamental relational activity that a Christian can experience. Prayer is the expression of dependence on a loving God, and the whole Christian life is to be characterized by a continuous attitude and spirit of prayer.
Look at the earmarks of true prayer that John brings out in this passage. First, there is the spirit of prayer.
We have confidence before God (and the word is, literally, boldness); we have boldness before God. If you have boldness before someone, it implies that you are in a close relationship with that person, that you have a clear right to come before him or her. There is no fear of rebuke but a good understanding between you. Thus, to have confidence or boldness before God implies that you have a clear understanding of your right to come before Him.
Prayer is to grow out of such an understanding of the truth God has declared in His Word, that we have no questions about our right to come. We do not come on our own merit or position before Him, for we know that we have no such ground. We come on Christ’s merit. We come
in His name, and thus we can have boldness.
Notice also the purpose of prayer.
We have confidence before God and receive from him… That is what prayer is for. It is that you and I might be on the receiving end of God’s grace. God is a giving God; He delights to give. He has all the resources of a superabundant universe from which to pour out to us. You know the figures that Scripture adopts in order to make clear to us how full God’s riches are. Paul, in writing to the Corinthians says,
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). This is God’s purpose, to make us rich. Not in material things always, for that is not where true riches lie. Many millionaires would give every cent of their money if they could have a little peace of heart or joy of spirit. But God loves to pour out true riches into human life. The riches of abundant life—that is what Christ came to give. There is nothing more exciting than to see an invisible God do in your life, visible things that only He can do; meeting your needs, satisfying your heart, doing what you could never do. If we are poverty-stricken it is only our own fault, for God has designed a wonderful process by which we might receive from Him. That is the purpose of prayer.
Thank you, Father, for the wonderful provision waiting for me to step into each day through prayer. May I have the simple faith to approach You boldly in prayer, knowing that You love to give to Your children.
Life Application: Nothing is quite so boring as Christianity without Christ. An intimate relationship is immersed in communication. Is our daily prayer free & flowing or merely formulated?
Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.