Some may think I focus on sin too much. Give it a break, they might say. Sometimes I think that way, too. I usually end up regretting that. In hindsight, I find that is when I start to drift. As my friend David Jongeward once told me, “We far underestimate the magnitude of our sin.” I find I am continually underestimating the magnitude of his statement!
Why is it such a big deal? Because we lose out on so much when we become complacent. I’m starting to think we have lost sight of this promise of Jesus:
John 14:12-14 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
Matthew 21:21-22 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask, in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.
We think statements like this are ridiculous, don’t we? Be honest. Does that mean Jesus is a liar or rather that we have a lack of faith? To get to the faith we need, we must ground ourselves firmly on what exactly it is that Jesus does. Check this out.
John 5:19-20 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him.
Jesus didn’t go around zapping this or that all willy-nilly. No, he was intentional.
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
John 12:49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment – what to say and what to speak.
So, let’s look at one more verse.
John 14:15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
You and I are to do greater works than Jesus. We are commanded to believe Jesus and in Jesus – who he is and what he does. We are supposed to do greater works than Jesus. Are we? I would say we are not. Why? Could it be that we are not hearing the Father like we should? What might it be that is keeping us from hearing him? I think we have a pretty good clue in this:
Mark 11:24-26 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Unforgiveness is a sin. It would seem to be an impediment to hearing God’s will and, therefore, answered prayer. Should we think that unforgiveness might be the only sin that keeps us from hearing God clearly? Hardly.
Honestly, when I have dealt with my sin properly, I am much more inclined to read my bible and get something important from it. I am much more inclined to pray. I am much more inclined to pray meaningfully. I am much more inclined to hear what God has to say.
The sin in our lives is like static in our ears. Do you think Lauren Daigle can think straight nowadays? Might the noise in her mind have been quieted had she made a firm stand for biblical truth? How about the Boy Scouts of America? I understand they have now filed for bankruptcy. Why? Sexual abuse allegation, declining enrollment, and recent policy changes regarding sexuality. My guess is that no one in that organization can think straight for all the noise! But, what about me? Do I have noise in my ears that keeps me from hearing God the way Jesus commands me? I think so. Now, I have a lot to learn about prayer itself, don’t get me wrong. I also have a lot to learn about the magnitude of sin. And, that is why I am so vehement about the softening of the church’s stand on sin.
Father, keep teaching me. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers