30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. (John 12:30)
Many times as we read the gospels, where Jesus is walking among the people, he says something similar to the quote above. Lazarus died so that God could reveal Himself through Jesus to the people. The quote above was when Jesus entered Jerusalem on His way to the cross and God audibly confirmed that His name has been glorified through the Son. God speaks out loud as Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan so that people would hear. We can think about the fact that any time Jesus prayed out loud to the Father it was for the sake of those who were witnessing it. He was part of the trinity, He is God, so any audible prayer was said so that you could hear what a perfect heart sounds like in communication with its creator.
Now think about the times that Jesus did things for the people’s sake and they would or could not comprehend it. He was indignant as He went to the tomb of Lazarus to raise him because the people could not understand. They cried because they could not comprehend that ‘the Resurrection’ was walking in their midst. “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26) Now imagine how His heart must have ached knowing that He was going to go to the cross to be crucified for a world that did not understand. Even His followers could not comprehend the way the events were unfolding at that time. Jesus went to the cross for our sins willingly but imagine His hurt when He was unable to help them understand. He did all thing for their sake even though they could not receive the message.
We are called to be the image bearers of Jesus and to be witnesses to His life and message. Do you sacrifice yourself for the sake of the lost? Do you take the extra steps to allow the spiritually immature to draw closer to understanding through you? We are called to live not for ourselves but for the Kingdom. That command sounds very big and might be intimidating since we are saved by a Savior who sacrificed His life literally. We can rest assured that the Spirit of God will make it possible, but also that our obedience to the Kingdom could be as simple as being patient and smiling while we explain the truth of God or being calm and showing the believers who are dependent on milk how to cut their spiritual teeth on the meat of God’s Word. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready (1 Corinthians 3:2) you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food (Hebrews 5:12) Take the time to love others for the sake of God’s Kingdom, let that love show even when it’s hard for the sake of the immature or lost, let your heart reflect the light and love of God for your sake as you draw closer to the perfect image of Christ. As you reach out to the world remember the blood poured out for your sake so that you could pour out love for someone else’s.
Dear Heavenly Father,
How mighty, infinite and holy is Your name. I humble myself in the idea that You are above all things and beyond what I could ever comprehend. Never let me put You in a box. Allow me to see You at work in all things. Please reveal more of You to me every day. Let me rest in this thirst that can only be quenched by You. May it never be quenched until the day I join You in eternity. Please give me the wisdom to see things from Your vantage, the discernment to see Your work and determine Your will from anything else. Guide my steps as I hold Your right hand. Make me strong in my weakness, wise in my ignorance, joyful in my struggles, and faithful in my doubt. Be the only provision I need and the foundation on which I stand. Let me seek You first always so that it is always You that I fall upon. Allow me to be closer to You every day as I sit at Your feet, growing in faith and righteousness. Draw close to me as I draw close to You so that I may be filled with Your love and grace. Let Your praise always be the first on my lips. I submit to your will and ask that you shape me like clay so that I may be fit for the purpose I was created for. Thank You for calling me out of the darkness and choosing me to be a child of the living God as I walk in the salvation and sanctification available only through my Savior Jesus Christ. It’s in His precious and holy name I pray.
Amen, Amen and Amen
We must allow God to fill our hearts with His Spirit and His Word to fill our minds with His truth. We have to be open to receive truth, in any way it is given to us. It may be through difficult times, quiet times, joyful times, times of fear, times of anger, times of panic. It may come through a person we love, someone we are fearful of, someone we respect, someone who is the opposite of what we desire to be. God is always speaking to us, always giving real life examples of His word. Are we always listening? Are we always available to find the application of His truth? Do we expect God to tailor His infinite wisdom to accommodate our closed mind? If He did, would we receive far less than He was willing to provide? We must use knowledge to help us receive God’s provision, and understand how it can mature our spirit, fill our heart, and direct our minds. We must finally enter into God’s Wisdom, God’s viewpoint. We can use the tools He makes available to us to enter into sanctification, holiness. Seeking God daily opens the doors to the life God desires for those who will enter into His kingdom, enter into His Glory.
(2 Chronicles 15:2) The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.
The other half of seeking God is knowledge that can lead to wisdom. God puts questions on our heart that spur us to deeper knowledge of Him, His Word, and His Will. We must always hunger to know what the Sustainer of the universe has for us. We must allow that curiosity to drive us to seek God. Our first action is allowing the questions of our heart to drive us to learn about, not to doubt, God. Seeking the answers of God drives us closer to Him as our Heavenly Father. We must spend time with God in prayer, time with God in His word (the Bible), and time with God living out our faith. We must always seek to go deeper and never be satisfied with what is around us. We will miss the unique relationship God desires with us and the plan He has for us. Knocking indicates repetition. We ask questions to determine God’s will, we seek to find His face and learn about Him, and we do this Daily. As His mercy is renewed daily, so should our hunger and thirst to stay close by His side. Close enough to hear His whisper to our hearts, close enough to receive His provision and light. A heart seeking God repels sin and temptation as it is filled with God’s Spirit and Love.
Many know that part of prayer is receiving the provision of God. Many have an unrealistic expectation of what that looks like. Receiving an answer to prayer involves an overlooked aspect of prayer: silence. We should spend the same amount of time and energy listening as we do speaking to God. God communicates in whispers to your heart. You must allow for God to reciprocate in your prayerful conversations with Him. Finding is a process of understanding God’s answer. People get lost as they look for God to answer them according to their expectation. The answer flies by as they look for their ideal, as opposed to being open, in submission, to the provision of God that surpasses their imagination. The process of finding also allows God to redirect our path by using His provision as a guiding light. Allow God’s provision to lead your heart into deeper communication and better understanding of His desire for you. You are now led to the opportunity to enter into God’s kingdom. Not Heaven yet, I mean to take your place in His kingdom where you can be used to show His light to this world. Through persistence and perseverance God will develop you to receive His provision and be directed to the place in His kingdom design specifically for, and available only to, your submissive heart.
As believers mature in their prayer life they begin to discover the purpose of prayer. God knows what we need but wants us to ask as we submit to His will and admit our dependence on Him. God waits to give to us what we humbly ask Him to provide. Our first action, as desired by God is to simply ask. We are next asked to seek. This action is meant for the believer to look for the opportunity to see and experience answered prayer. The important thing to remember is that God answers prayers the way we need them, not the way we want or expect them. An important criteria for seeking God’s answer is an open heart and mind. This is possible through the same submission with which we initially asked. Then we must knock. Knocking signifies a persistence and an expectation. We must pray consistently in submission as we wait for God’s answer, in God’s time. We must also wait in humble, faithful expectation. Any prayer in submission to God’s will and for His glory will be answered. Continue to knock as He develops you in perseverance to receive His provision for you.
Many people neglect prayer under the assumption that God’s Will is done regardless. While this is true I’d like people to realize that our God is a God of blessing. We have to have fellowship with God in the form of prayer. We will never be able to tell Him anything He doesn’t know, or has not known since before time. Prayer does not inform God of your desire or needs. Prayer is Praise. Prayer is a believer expressing dependence and obedience. God’s plan far surpasses our imaginations of what happiness looks like. God is Joy. Joy doesn’t vary based on emotion like happiness. Joy is a choice and can only be found in submission to our Creator. Don’t pray to God like He needs to hear anything from you. Pray to God like you need everything from Him! God has blessing upon blessing waiting for us to ask.
Our God does all things for His Glory! He is willing to give His children all the things of the world, in fact – He did! He was willing to come to earth and die in order that we might know Him and be reconciled to Him. God does not choose to blindly throw blessing to all of His children. He wants our recognition that He is the source of all blessing. He wants us to recognize that we are only able to mature our spirit as co-laborers, yoked to our Savior. God is the source of all that is good. He just asks that your eyes are toward Him as the source and your prayers are many, as a reflection of your heart.