…actually responding to God

22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.
1 John 3:22,23 (NKJV)

Asking God

God only asks that we love Him and believe on His Son. He also asks that we love others. In that obedience, we are faithful and in our faith we can be assured that we will receive what we ask of Him.

Listen to God

The next step is to listen to Him. Listening is an endless process and is always focused on what He may be speaking into our life. In our situations we tend to separate what we deem from God and just circumstance. Know that it is all God. When we realize and tune into the fact that all that is currently in our life is of God, then we are poised for obedience and listening.

Actually Responding

The next step is a response. In the triad of questions Jesus asks Peter: John 21:15-19

15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”
19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

  • Love God in His Agape love
  • Feed His sheep
  • Follow Jesus

Respond to these requests.

Peter eventually obeyed. He became a great leader for Christ because he followed Jesus. After His ascension, Peter stepped up to be a great leader – sincere belief was in him.

The above Scripture does not exactly fit the ask and respond model, however, it is an illustration of God’s persistence and our resistance – either purposeful or accidental. The point is that God will answer our prayer steadfast and tireless through His word, Spiritual conviction, or His voice. It is when we hear this or feel this that we respond. Peter did not fully grasp the depth of his walk with Jesus otherwise he may have responded correctly. Jesus asked Peter meaning Agape love and Peter’s response was using brotherly love. (See Greek concordance – agapao and phileo). Jesus eventually asked Peter using phileo. Why? Peter was grieved that Jesus came to Peter’s level rather that the reverse. Jesus already knew Peter would be a strong warrior for Jesus. Peter did not yet see but he would soon enough. (see Acts 2:14)

Do we have the sincere belief in God that when we ask He will speak and we will respond? We need to try to listen to God, seek answers from Scripture, and survey ourself to see how we may need to change. God will work on others. Ours is a one-on-one relationship with the Father. Pray for understanding and submit even deeper to your faith that every circumstance in your life can be God refining you on your path to perfection. Praise Him for His grace.

Rick

2011

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The Test of Trust

20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.
1 John 3:20,21

Our hearts will condemn us, our emotions will try to steer our path, and our reason will soon follow to sort out our confusion and pain. Guilt and regret are the emotions that we carry as baggage ever slowing progress in our pilgrimage in Christ. The emotions of our heart and our attempts to free ourself through reason is a lack in trust in God. It is our human nature to quickly abandon trust in God and rely on our strength to fight through that which condemns us. The condemnation of our heart is a burden that we need to throw upon the shoulders of Jesus whose burden is light. That is His word. Emotions that condemn will bury us. Understand that God knows our hearts:

Would not God search this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart. Psa 51:10

My flesh and my heart fail; [But] God [is] the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psa 73:26

The verse above is a great parallel to v. 20. We will get let down, we will get buried in emotion, and we will fall from trust in God. This is the test of our trust. Remember we can have hope in heaven from God’s promises but we need to trust that how He works in our life is for our refinement and part of our perfection – another of the Lord’s promise.

All is from Him and we need always to focus on that lest our emotions deceive us. In our trust is confidence. This is an emotion killer and keeps our perspective in the right place. Our perspective is that of a child of a loving Father from whom we have ALL of our trust in. For we cannot do it on our own.

Peace and Love in Christ,

Rick Stassi

October 14, 2011