Is prayer like going to the First National Bank of God? Do you have a blank check with God? Should you expect God to give you anything you want? If not, what does it mean that God gives you the desires of your heart?
2 Chronicles 1 & 2
First National Bank of God & the Desires of Your Heart
2 Chronicles 1 & 2:
A Blank Check with God
2 Chronicles begins with the reign of Solomon. One of his first orders of business was to build the temple that his father David wanted to build.
Also, in chapter 1 God appeared to him and said, “Ask! What shall I give you?” Wow! Can you imagine a blank check on the First National Bank of God? Of course, we know that Solomon asked for wisdom which God gave him in abundance to say the least! People came from far and wide to see and hear it for themselves! But because his prayer was for something pleasing to God, God blessed him with riches and honor, as well.
But what if Solomon’s request had contradicted God’s will? Would God still have answered? And is God bound to always answer our prayers?
In reality, as believers, we have the same “blank check” with God. John 15.7 says:
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
The question is, “Are we abiding in Him so that our hearts and desires are in line with His purposes in the earth?” You see, God always answers prayer (sometimes “yes,” sometimes “no,” sometimes “wait”), but the promise to “have what you desire” is conditional. Your desires must come out of abiding in Him. Even then, He may not always answer when and how you want Him to because He sees the big picture. Isaiah 55.8-9:
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Too many Christians have the idea that God is like a vending machine in the sky, ready to give them anything they want. Psalm 37.4 says:
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
God is a Father, the Perfect Father, and just as we don’t give our children everything they want, neither does our Heavenly Father. He’s more interested in our hearts and our spiritual growth. So, as we delight ourselves in Him, contemplating His Word and His character, He gives us His righteous desires and then He fulfills them.
Today’s Other Readings:
What Goes Around Comes Around
Sometimes God steps back and lets those He loves suffer the consequences of choosing to go their own way. There may be people in our lives who are suffering the consequences of their sinful choices. When it’s someone who has sinned against us, it’s tempting to have a “what-goes-around-comes-around” attitude, but we are to guard against that attitude. We are not to rejoice in unrighteousness, but to rejoice when the truth of God prevails (1 Cor. 13.6).
On the other hand, when the person suffering is someone we love like a child, a friend, or a sibling, it’s tempting to wonder where God is. When that person is a believer, we need to remember that God disciplines us because He loves us (Heb. 12.6) and with believers and unbelievers alike He uses consequences to bring people to the end of themselves so they’ll see their need for Him (Lk. 15.11-24).
Who Can Say …
Verse 9, “Who can say, ‘I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin’?”
Or as Paul put it in Romans, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” and “There is not one righteous, no not one!” Any goodness in us is Him!
Baptized in the Spirit
Peter had been ministering to gentiles and had seen many of them come to faith and be filled with the Spirit. When the Jewish Christians heard about it, they were shocked. Here in Acts 11 he returns to Jerusalem to report on what has been happening:
15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, “John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?
18 When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”
We were all “baptized into Christ” (Rom. 6.3; Gal. 3.27) when we were saved. That is we, too, were filled with His Spirit. But we are also commanded to be “filled with the Spirit” on a continual basis (Eph. 5.18). To be “filled with the Spirit” continually is to let the Word of Christ richly dwell within us (Col. 3.16), so much so, that it produces a walk of obedience and spills out on those around us.
What do you pray for? Are you abiding in Christ and His Word so that your prayers are permeated with a desire to please and honor Him?
What is your attitude toward those who are suffering the consequences of sin? Do you have to guard against a self-righteous attitude?
What are you doing to be filled with the Spirit? How do you let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you?
Don’t forget to sign up to receive the blogs everyday by clicking the links below:
Sign up to receive the daily “Bible in a Year” posts in your inbox.