UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., is an updated version of his blog originally posted on March 28, 2015. Mark is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Approaching God Daily with Confidence”
1 John 5:13-15 (ESV)
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
Many people see eternal life as just a fairy tale ending to the gospels and something that doesn’t impact our day-to-day lives. We can mistake the resurrection as simply a happy ending to a life filled with sin, discouragement, stress, and heartache. Since all of us go through difficulties in this life—literally all at the same time amid the present pandemic—it’s tempting to see eternity as nothing more than a way of escape. However, the resurrection of Christ is far more than just a guarantee of life after death: It also guarantees that we will have sufficient power to overcome this world and to find joy in the present age. I love the pastoral cliché, “Christ came not to add years to our life, but life to our years!”
A great part of our joy in this life comes from having confidence that God hears and answers our prayers. Some of the most amazing experiences that I have had spiritually have come as a result of answered prayers. I’ve always wondered how we will pray in heaven without the presence of pain and sorrow because so many of our prayers are driven by difficulties. From that perspective, praying presently with an eternal mindset is one of life’s greatest gifts. Our personal assurance of eternal life allows us to approach God daily with confidence.
However, there is nothing that hinders this relationship with God faster than a lack of conviction, because, ultimately, mistrust ruins relationships. If we are not convinced that a person is trustworthy, or convinced that he’s genuine, then our relationship with that person will fall apart. Our relationship with God and our prayers to Him need to be based on conviction. The resurrection of Christ gives us the power to believe that God is everything that the Scriptures tell us, that He sent His only Son to take the sins of this world, and to bring the hope of the resurrection. We need to believe and live out the impact of eternal life here and now. And we will need plenty of this conviction as we all are entering the uncharted territory of post-COVID world. So, remember the resurrection of Christ and continue to approach God with confidence.
Prayer: Father, we ask that You give us the confidence to approach You daily with all our needs and struggles. Teach us how to trust in You and to pray with the assurance of eternity in our hearts. As we receive answers to our prayers, help us to be content and satisfied with Your will and that we would imitate the prayer of Your Son, “Not my will but yours be done.” Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 42
Lunch Break Study
Read James 5:13-18: “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”
Questions to Consider
- How does James teach us to pray for the sick?
- What is the connection between sickness and sin?
- Who has the power to pray for healing?
- James accents the need to pray in faith for the sick. Obviously, we should always pray with faith, but the prayers of faith are most visibly noticeable in our ministry to the sick.
- The Scriptures frequently allude to sin as a sickness. There is clearly a connection between sin and physical maladies. Emotional sins like unforgiveness, anger, resentment, and bitterness are often the cause of headaches, back pain, and other ailments.
- This passage reminds us that the prophet Elijah had a nature just like ours (sinful and human), and yet God answered his prayers miraculously. We can have the same conviction that God will do the same for us when we pray according to His will and purpose
How is your prayer life? Do you feel like God is hearing you or do you feel as if your prayers are hitting a spiritual ceiling? Ask the Lord to search your heart and to give you the desire to pray according to His will in faith.