I was fortunate to have been able to enjoy the MercyMe concert this past Friday. What a wonderful time! Nothing special in terms of effects, just music and a good, gospel message. Their songs get right at the heart, don’t they?
There are a number of people in my life that I am praying hard for. Why? Because I love them dearly. From my perspective, they could use what Jesus offers. So, I pray for that. I pray hard. I often get other people involved. Sometimes I get the church involved. Sometimes God answers, and sometimes I don’t see any immediate results. How involved I get depends on how serious the issue is. Sometimes it’s simple stuff, like safe travels. Other times, lives are at stake.
For the most part, I find myself praying that the person either come to know Jesus or come to know him better. In the end, that’s really what matters – their relationship with Jesus. Money, health, or relationships are problems that are answered in the name of Jesus. Right? That’s right.
But it’s not so clear-cut as that. Sometimes God doesn’t heal people. Certainly, we don’t want to think that if someone isn’t cured of something it’s because they lack faith. One could even take that further to say that those AROUND that one lack faith – because we are supposed to pray for others, right? If we pray for someone’s healing and it doesn’t happen, then what? Do we lack faith? No, that’s the wrong view on all this. God will act according to his will. Sometimes, he allows disease and death.
What about sin? Suppose someone is all tangled up on sin. What about that? Certainly, God doesn’t want sin to continue, right? That’s where I am having trouble. It seems to me that we have two types of people – those who are believers and those who are not. For those who are not, salvation is the real need. Yes, we may also pray that their sin does not harm others, but until the Holy Spirit resides in them, they are given over to the flesh. In one way or another, sin will rule them. Yes, drunkards can find sobriety outside of saving faith in Jesus, but sin still reigns.
On the other hand, we have believers who sin. In this there are two categories, or so it seems to me – those who are willing to have Jesus conquer and those who don’t. Or, better yet, those who choose to have Jesus conquer A PARTICULAR SIN and those who don’t. Ridding ourselves of sin is a life-long process and won’t be complete until we step through the pearly gates. But, it is painfully evident when we refuse to let Jesus cleanse us of a particular sin.
I have several people in my life right now that are in this situation. They may be blind to the problem. Heck, who am I kidding? Of course, they are blind. Why would someone intentionally stay in sin when freedom is so easily available? Still, we all do it. I call it temporary insanity. It really is. Now, some sin has more immediate, dire consequences than others. I know more than one born-again alcoholic who is currently drinking. Some people will certainly die an early death if they don’t soon change their ways. As much as I hate to admit it, believers also fall into sexual sin. On the other hand, there is some sin that isn’t so bad, right? Like gossip or swearing. Right? Well, no sin is acceptable in God’s eyes, so let’s not kid ourselves.
John has a very interesting passage regarding this. I’ve heard lots of interpretations.
1 John5:16-87 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life – to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Nobody likes to have light shined on their sin. We may deny or argue. Heck, I’ve even seen a believer break off a friendship when the other tries to talk about the person’s sin. It’s crazy. Temporary insanity, I tell you. So, what are we to do then? Walk away and quit praying, like the person wants? Isn’t that exactly what the evil one desires? To destroy a relationship, isolate the sinner, and get you to stop praying? That’s exactly his scheme.
I think it’s time to step up my prayer for some people in my life. Please do me a favor. Pray for me. I’m sure I’m blind to some sin in my life, too.
Father, let us not get tired of praying. First, encourage us to pray for salvation for non-believers. Second, let us get really serious to pray for believers who don’t want the healing power of Jesus. Let us continue to seek new avenues to pray. Guide us in what you want us to do and how to pray. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers