What blessings are you anticipating from God? Are you anticipating the blessing of a baby? Perhaps it’s healing from a long time injury. Maybe you’re anticipating His guidance toward future decisions…whether or not to take that job, sell your house, marry that person, or which school to attend.
In my devotion today, I quote 1 John 3:21-22. “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask; because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.”
Within this verse we find an important statement that must be considered in order for God to hear and answer our prayers.
1.) “If our hearts don’t condemn us, we’ll have confidence before God.”
A true follower of Christ has the Spirit of God living within. The Holy Spirit works like a heavenly referee. Our heart or our conscience, by way of the Holy Spirit at work in us, will express disapproval of a certain behavior or attitude in our life. For example: Before you and I made Christ our Savior and Lord, we could get angry with a friend and think nothing of it. Now that we belong to Christ, the Spirit of God convicts our hearts and conscience of our anger toward our friend. Until we deal with that wrong behavior or attitude, the Holy Spirit will press our hearts or conscience until we make all things right. The conviction of our heavenly referee is not to discourage us but to keep us right with God.
In order for you and me to approach our Holy God with confidence, our hearts must be pure and without conviction of sin. The prayer of David is a great example you and I can follow.
David cried out in Ps 139:23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”
Lately, I have been praying a similar prayer. “Search me, O God, and show me my sins so that I may confess them. Then, O God, lead me in your everlasting ways.” Can you pray a similar prayer, too? Once our hearts do not condemn us, we can go before God with confidence making our request known to Him.
If sin persists, there may be some things I need to “put off” and others I need to “put on” to maintain purity.
1.) What do I need to put off? (These would be things that are detrimental to your spiritual life or things that are good, but don’t lead to bearing fruit.)
2.) What do I need to put on? (What things can I do that will help me know and conform to the image of God and allow me to grow in and participate in His work?)
While unconfessed sin hinders our prayers from reaching the ears of God, those He blesses are those who “obey his commands and do what pleases him.” (Look back at 1 John 3:22).
Those who desire to please God will seek a renewed and steadfast spirit. This kind of spirit is passionate about God and serving Him. They do so out of love; not duty. They know their purpose in life, they walk in obedience out of gratitude to their God, … and they can anticipate His blessings on their lives.