It came to me eons ago in a reading of The Word…
And Jesus said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves;
for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;
and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything’?
I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs.
And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
For every one who asks – RECIEVES, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;
or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:5-13
IF you want and/or need something badly enough; you will do everything in your power to obtain it! Every waking moment even rest time (IF you can rest!) Is spent focused on your hearts desire.
Let me ask? What is your hearts desire? Is it ‘right’/legal? Then, the desire is ‘right’! A new life, live it right.
God has given us some very clear instructions in His Word as to how we are to live for Him. These include the command to love one another (John 13:34-35), the call to follow Him at the cost of denying our own desires (Matthew 16:24), the exhortation to care for the poor and needy (James 1:27), and the warning to not fall into sinful behaviors like those who don’t know God (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8). Jesus summed up a life lived for God when a teacher of the law asked Him the most important of commandments. Jesus replied, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).
Jesus’ prayer prior to His crucifixion also sheds light on our purpose. Referring to believers, He prayed, “I have given them the glory you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:22-26). Jesus’ desire is for relationship with us.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” A life lived for God glorifies God. We pursue God with our entire being – heart, soul, mind, and strength. We abide in Christ (John 15:4, 8) and therefore act like Him by loving others. In doing that, we bring glory to His name and also enjoy the relationship for which we were originally created.
Those who wish to live for God must seek Him in His Word. We must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to apply the Word to our lives. Living for God means giving up ourselves and desiring God’s will above all else. As we draw nearer to God and come to know Him more, His desires will more naturally become ours. As we mature, our desire to obey God’s commands increases as our love for Him increases. As Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15).
But, how much should we pray? How long should we pray for something? Are you like some people who may pray one time and that’s enough? Do you pray a few times about some need and then stop? Is it ever ok for us to stop praying? I guess when you get the answer, then maybe so. God has a lot to say about prayer and how much we ought to pray. In response to His disciples’ request for Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1), Jesus told them to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking. The Apostle Paul affirmed this in several of his letters. Romans 12:12 says we should “be constant in prayer”. Colossians 4:2 says to “continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving”. Of course, everyone knows 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that says, “Pray without ceasing.” Lest this important truth about not being prayer quitters should be lost on His disciples, Jesus told a parable to stress the importance of persistent prayer.
“Therefore, my brothers dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and my crown, so stand fast in The Lord, my dearly beloved.”
“Therefore” means that something important preceded this verse. Paul is referring to Philippians 3:20-21: “For our conversation (conduct, citizenship) is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21. Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” If we are to “stand fast,” or as the NIV translates it, “stand firm,” what we stand for should be worth it. I think that Philippians 3:20-21 gives us ample reason to take our stand in Christ. The notes on this verse in The Life Application Bible gave us the answer on what it means to “stand fast in the Lord.” “The way to stand fast/firm is to keep our eyes on Christ, to remember that this world is not our home, and to focus on the fact that Christ will bring everything under His control. Standing firm means steadfastly resisting the negative influences of temptation, false teaching, or persecution. It requires perseverance when we are challenged or opposed.” (page 2001) I am indebted to this note for the following points.
We are reminded to “stand fast in the Lord.” The footnote above told us to “keep our eyes on Christ.” When we take our eyes off of Christ, we put them one something, or someone, else. Whatever or whoever it is that has stolen our focus, it will definitely not help us in our Christian living. When I think of this, I think of Simon Peter walking on the water. (Matthew 14:22-33) Peter asked Jesus to let him walk on the water, and as long as Peter looked at Jesus he did fine. When he put his eyes on the wind and waves he began to sink. In other words, Peter did not stand fast because he took his eyes off of Jesus. When we let anything else take over our vision, our minds and our hearts, we waver and fall short of the Christian service that we can offer. We need to be careful about letting the problems of this life call our attention to them instead of Jesus. Satan surely wants us to do this.
We are reminded that “this world is not our home.” It is a fact that we are in the world but not of the world. We can’t help but live in the society to which we were born, but we should not let that society keep us from standing fast. When we get too enamored with the things of the world, we get side-tracked from our commitment to Jesus Christ. We have to be involved in the workaday world, but we cannot stand fast if we forget that this world is not our home.
We are reminded that “Christ will bring everything under His control.” We will stand fast if we remember that this world is passing away. It doesn’t seem like it is, but it is. We need to remember what John wrote in his first epistle verse 17: “And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever.”Everything that is of this world is temporary. It seems today that Satan is in control, and he is in control of the world system, but he is not in control of Christ and we belong to Christ. We need to remember that when we are tempted to move away from our commitment to Christ.
We are reminded that: “Standing firm means steadfastly resisting the negative influences of temptation, false teaching, or persecution.” We have to remember that the world system hated Christ, and He said that they would hate us as well. We should stand fast even when it is unpopular to do so, and it is getting increasingly so today.
Take Paul’s advice here and “stand fast in The Lord.” in prayer and faith, Amen.