I read a great statement that my niece posted from her church, Woodland Heights Christian Church, in Crawfordsville, Indiana. They said, “God sides with you against your sin; not against you because of your sin.” This comment harkens back to the promise God made to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29:11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.“
We may be weary
With the enemy and the world fighting against us, it’s easy to feel burned out or isolated while doing God’s will. If we give an inch to this emotion, it is easy for us to slip out of God’s will; to sin. When we become weak, we become easily led astray by thoughts contrary to God’s will.
We may feel desperate for a return to some past experience when “life was simple.” We may wish for old friendships. Or, we may be so frazzled that we long for a quiet bubble of rest from God. One thing is sure, just as our immune system becomes weaker when we are down or exhausted, so do our spiritual “deflector shields” (nod to Star Trek) collapse from exhaustion, repetition, and alienation.
The cure for spiritual weakness is time alone with Jesus. We may think, “I need to talk with so-and-so.” or “I need to step back from some of my commitments.” You may be correct but first go to your “prayer closet,” lock the door, and talk with Jesus.
You may say, “Why? It never works for me!” Well, there is a well-established approach. This approach has been recommended by great Christian leaders such as Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, and Franklin Graham.
What I’m about to write should not be taken as a formula or recipe but as guidance from people mightily used by God.
Before we can “hear from heaven,” we have to unclutter our minds; rabbit trails are the antidote to prayer! To clean a cluttered mind, we start with confession. We need to tell Jesus everything – this is transferring our burdens to Him and becoming “clean vessels” for the Holy Spirit.
Then it’s good to thank God. Our thankfulness is a declaration of faith, acknowledging our trust in Him. Our gratitude can easily transition to praise. We may not be able to carry a tune in a bucket, but it’s uplifting to sing to God. God doesn’t judge us on the quality of our voices. “God inhabits the praises of His people.” (Psalm 22:3)
Hearing from God
Now, with uncluttered minds, forgiven souls, thankful hearts, and God’s presence, we’ve prepared ourselves to hear from Jesus. Jesus is the Word (John 1:14), so it’s good to open God’s Word to a personally familiar and meaningful passage. It might be John, chapter one, or the “Beatitudes” in Matthew, chapter five, or perhaps it is Psalms 32.
Before we begin reading, we can ask the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to receive the living Word of God; then we read, pondering each word, each phrase, asking the Holy Spirit to makes these words alive in us.
As we read, we also quietly listen. Soon we will become aware of the presence of God, and He will open His Word to us; His Word will feed us. His abiding presence is medicine to us. Being in His presence heals us, strengthens us; He refreshes, renews, and rejuvenates us. We can linger with Him.
God sides with you
When we come out of our prayer closets, we will be spiritually refreshed. Having a regular time for meeting with Jesus is better than going to a gym! There’s some value in regular exercise, but so much more value from a consistent prayer time. (1 Timothy 4:8)
So when we sin, let’s remember this post. Do not forget that “God sides with you against your sin; not against you because of your sin.”
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