NON CHRISTIAN Resisters
[We all have friends and family that do not want anything to do with Christianity so it is up to us to pray for their salvation. Here’s an opportunity to pray for them. Fill their name in the blanks.]
FATHER, because JESUS, in His priestly role makes continual intercession I bow before Him. Compel ____ to draw close to You through CHRIST, for it is CHRIST who is able to save completely (Heb 7:25). May Your SPIRIT perform His sanctifying work in (him/her) (1 Pet 1:2).
____ satisfies (himself/herself) with adulterous pleasure. Like Israel, (he/she) loves raison cakes—delicacies that appeal “to the senses, and gratifies the carnal impulses and desires” Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament (ref#68, [Hos 3:1]).
(He/She) appears to be living a self-gravitating, dissolute life rejecting what (he/she) knows of You and choosing the way of self-discovery—deciding (himself/herself) what is right and wrong (ref#123, p31,33).
“God…never designed that the…immoral creature should sip its bliss at a lower fountain than Himself….Love to God…forms the grand requirement…of the divine law….no opposition of rival interest can lessen the obligation of every creature…to love…God with all his heart…” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, May 18th).
Even if ____ would turn and decide on (his/her) own to do good and make an effort to follow You, it would do nothing for (his/her) salvation. ____’s good deeds will not move You to accept (him/her) into Your kingdom. My prayer is not for ____ to amend (his/her) rebellious ways, but for You to call (him/her) to Yourself (Rom 9:16). Call to (him/her) in such a way that (he/she) will answer.
[Because we are Christians and live in the world we will always need prayer for our walk and for witnessing to others about CHRIST. Here’s an opportunity to pray for others or even ourselves. Fill their name or your name in the blanks.]
DRAWING CONVERSATION BACK TO JESUS
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (I Cor 2:1-5 ESV).
FATHER, I pray for ____ as (he/she) has opportunity to speak of Christianity. Restrain (him/her) from thinking and speaking in a worldly manner. There is no spiritual strength using words that put pressure on the will of the listener or to make an effort to engage emotions (#123, p116). “Paul does not threaten or merely exhort, nor does he lift up some shining example to emulate” Timothy Keller (ref# 123, p117). Prod ____ to make (his/her) message only be about “the limitless significance of Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins,…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Oct 15th).
FATHER, also keep ____ from toting a specific program of Christianity. This, too, is the world’s way to persuade, for it is easier to be part of a cause than to be an obedient CHRIST-follower. “It is easier to belong to a coterie which tells what Jesus Christ has done for me, easier to become a devotee to Divine healing, or to a special type of sanctification, or to the baptism of the Holy Ghost” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Oct 15th).
Again, prod ____ to proclaim the Gospel, testifying “to the matchless worth of the person and work of Christ” A. W. Pink (ref#152, p 167)—no sales pitch—no witnessing for CHRIST, but witnessing about CHRIST.
IMITATING MY ELDER BROTHER, JESUS
…FATHER, in Your Word You command many things of me. But if I look at Your commands as just something I need to do I am in the wrong frame of mind. I do not say, “I believe in JESUS” and then add hard work to my faith.
“Martin Luther’s old formula still sums things up nicely: ‘We are saved by faith alone [not our works], but not by faith that remains alone.’ Nothing we do can merit God’s grace and favor, we can only believe that he has given it to us in Jesus Christ and receive it by faith. But if we truly believe and trust in the one who sacrificially served us, it changes us into people who sacrificially serve God and our neighbors” Timothy Keller (ref#123, p123-124).
“Desire without knowledge is not good,…” (Prov 19:2 NRSV). “Sincerity and energy by themselves miss the mark (Rom 10:2)” The Reformation Study Bible (ref#56, p903 [Prov 19:2]).
“Religion operates on the principle of ‘I obey therefore I am accepted by God.’ The basic operating principle of the gospel is ‘I am accepted by God through the work of Jesus Christ—therefore I obey’” Timothy Keller (ref#123, p114).
Religion is “the default mode of my heart.” I have to deliberately and repeatedly set my heart to gospel-mode (ref#123, p114-115). I do that not by willfully doing good works but by feeding on the Gospel, digesting it so it becomes my motivating energy.
When the Apostle Paul gives a command, he doesn’t pressure directly on the will or on emotions but draws his listeners back to CHRIST and the work He did. As the hours go by in the day, if I keep thinking about how CHRIST lived out His life, I will soon realize how much His sacrificial love did for me—I will soon want to similarly sacrifice for others—be a comparable “elder brother.” In this mind-set I will complete jobs not to get them “checked off” but to do them because it is a joy to “do” for the One I love.
“Our problems arise largely because we don’t continually return to the gospel to work it in and live it out” (ref#123, p119). Let me repeat that: “Our problems arise largely because we don’t continually return to the gospel to work it in and live it out” Timothy Keller (ref#123, p119).
Looking through the lens of the Gospel my responsibilities named in Scripture become not heavy burdens but privileges to enjoy. There is no higher privilege than to work and suffer for CHRIST (ref#10, p244). It doesn’t get any better than that.
THANKS FOR TRIBULATION
“Some of you set sail in big ships; you put to sea to do business in faraway ports. Out at sea you saw God in action, saw his breathtaking ways with the ocean. With a word he called up the wind — an ocean storm, towering waves! You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out; your hearts were stuck in your throats. You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk, you didn’t know which end was up. Then you called out to God in your desperate condition; he got you out in the nick of time” (Ps 107:23-28 MSG).
FATHER, I have called to You in my distress and You have answered me. I am not grateful for tragedies themselves, but I would not trade the insight, character, and strength they have procured for me for anything (ref#132, p25). I have to admit that most of what I really need for success in this life and the next come through my most difficult and painful experiences (ref#132, p24).
I thank You for the irreplaceable seasons of personal and spiritual growth through trials. I thank You for Your steadfast love and the wondrous works to me. It’s a joy to extol and praise You to everyone (Ps 107:31-32).