It is quite a thing when we notice those who are clearly NOT living for Christ (though they profess His name as believers) will become discouraged and even furthermore ANGRY at God for when prayers go unanswered, though the manner in how they live life upholds all of that which opposes God and His character.
There are many who even go as far to “fall away” from their faith all together and declare God as false or even nonexistent, simply because that which they prayed for never came to pass or their lives continue to be miserable, empty and without blessing (though they insist they are followers of Jesus Christ). And sadly, there are even churches that become cold and hollow, deteriorating into unblessed, unspiritual, unloving voids in society because God supposedly doesn’t hear. But this isn’t true, the Lord DOES hear the prayers of His people. The bible tells us plainly…”blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:28)… And does not God also RESIST the proud but offer grace to the humble? YES He does! (see Proverbs 29:23, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5)
Remember also what Christ said in regard to BOTH a Pharisee and a Tax Collector…
“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
The bible also tells us…”The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (see James 5:16), and also keep in mind…”But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) – So we see also that FAITH is also key and one must have faith in order to turn from that which opposes what we have faith in, which ofcourse would be in God. How could I claim to have “faith” in God while living in a manner which He hates? To seriously believe this would reveal how truly lost and confused I would be, and also determine how much I would need a Savior, one who I would hear, believe in, and follow as also my LORD. But, if I insist on wanting to walk hand in hand with BOTH Christ and the devil, than I am ultimately no actual believer or follower of Christ, but simply one who only keeps a focus upon my own physical desires, and enticed by something that has a complete control over me. And this comes not from God but from the tempter and deceiver of our flesh. Therefore, who than are we truly glorifying in such a scenario? Certainly NOT God.
Those who God doesn’t listen to are the willful, ongoing, unrepentant”sinners” as it says in the scriptures… “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” (see John 9:31). The word “sinners” in this scripture (where it reads…”God heareth not sinners”) is from the greek word “hamartōlos” which means in its biblical usage/definition various contexts such as: “devoted to sin” “pre-eminently sinful””especially wicked” and “not free from sin” which clearly identifies one without Christ. Specific groups of people are also identified as such (sinner/sinners=hamartolos), and these include “tax collectors” and “publicans” (see Matthew 9:10) whom the Lord actually sat at the same table with. But why than sit with those guilty of practicing what God hates? Because the Lord also tells us in the same chapter (in verse 13) the following…”But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” – After all…”But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
And in the Old Testament does the Lord also say…”Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23) No, He does not. God affirms this clearly under the new testament in 2 Peter 3:9 which tells us…”The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Therefore, this would be the reason we see Christ sitting with “sinners” which is NOT because He endorsed their sin, but because He wanted to set them free from it, in other words…..seeking for them to REPENT and follow Him rather than follow after the liar who entices and tempts human nature to sin. One is either an ongoing “child of the devil” (John 8:44) or a reborn and renewed “child of God” (see John 1:13, 3:3). But let us continue on the subject at hand…
It is important to understand that while God did send His Son into the world because He so loved it (John 3:16), God though does HATE sin. Consider also what is written in Hebrews 10:26-27…”For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” – And does not the Lord also say to those who claim to know Him and have done so many wonderful things in His name…“I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity?” (see Matthew 7:22-23) YES, He does. Why? Because they are workers (doers) of iniquity. Iniquity is SIN. Evidently, one must be a “sinner” in order to be a worker of it. With this said, why then should God obey the prayers of such individuals? Yes, it is true that God is a merciful God, but He is also a God of righteousness, justice, and He is a HOLY God. What does “sin” and “Holiness” have in common? Absolutely nothing.
The bible is clear…“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) – And it is also written: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”(Romans 10:10-11)
If than one is not ashamed of Him, would they not than live for Him?
It is also important to realize, people will be blessed and will prosper by the WILL of God, not by the WILL of ourselves. If I am someone who willfully commits adultery, who willfully cusses and has anger issues against others, who willfully obeys my own lusts, my addictions, and the carnal nature which would rule over me….how than could I expect a righteous and Holy God to hear and comply with my prayers and the desires of my heart if they be evil? Yes, while it is true….God is love, God is compassionate, and God is merciful, but God will also NOT be mocked or taken in vain. God is a God who embraces our sincere humility, not our self indulging pride. I was once a vile person, I was extremely self centered, insincere, and a man very much devoted to my sinful nature. I was clearly addicted to reckless living, doing as I pleased, and very very LOST. I was a chief liar, user, fornicator, I was into satanism and the occult, I was “bi-curious” and further explored being bi-sexual for a period of time, I also crossdressed, I was a racist, I had relationships with married women. I was a fetishist, a brawler, an enemy of christians, and a severe blasphemer of Christ. Not only did I absolutely LOVE my sins, but I opposed and hated the God who opposed my wicked nature. I insisted that God was unfair and evil, but now that I understand the path I walked, and I have a deeper and more clear understanding of God than I did years ago, I can say with all certainty, that it was ME who was unfair and evil, and also quite sick and confused.
I can promise you, you will never come to the knowledge of the God who created this entire world and universe through those things created. To have a relationship and knowledge of God, it must come within us, led by Gods Spirit, and with the faith and humility to say to ourselves….NO MORE! However, give me MORE GOD! It is only in God that we find our true purpose, identity, and permanent freedom. The Lord says…”The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) – And that THEIF is waiting, preying upon, and anxious to ruin us, even before we exit the womb and enter the world. He (satan) is there and willing to manipulate, deceive, and confuse us from the moment we are born until we breathe our last breath. However, there also exists CHRIST who is also there, desiring to give us that ABUNDANT life free from the vices of destruction and peril of this world.
Human beings are quite privileged to be HUMAN BEINGS. In the beginning we were made in Gods image, and God seen it as something GOOD (Genesis 1, 2). And this is all the more reason why the deceiver and the tempter wants us to never realize this nor care about it (see Genesis 3:1-7). Yes, there are indeed intense and fascinating “pleasures” in this world, and these pleasures truly do make us feel complete and alive through the appetites of our fallen and temporary physical nature. But, we must recognize that PLEASURE does not always offer a REWARD. And to indulge our flesh will never prevent starvation of the soul in death. We will never starve death because death will starve us. But, we will never comprehend this while we remain under the control of this temporary existence.
Love is not found through our lusts for one another, just as Truth is never found fully in world religions or modern science. Escape is never found through addictions nor is justice ever found through the brutality of human vengeance. Hope is never found through liars, and faith is never found in something unfaithful. This is why I no longer walk the former paths of who I once was, but I now seek to follow the paths made by God, and His paths are never roads to false destinations or places of broken hope. The paths made by God will give us the purpose and the truth we so desperately seek, whether we know it or not. The Lord said…”Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41). The human condition exists primarily because this world doesn’t know God nor His Holy Spirit.
Paul experienced the conflict we all face. He says in Romans 7:18-19…“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” – As with us all, though we are made to understand what is good and not good, we will still lust for that which is not good and perform it. In other words, we know the things called “sin” and though it is called as such, we continue to practice it regardless. Nevertheless, Paul also declares in verses 24-25…”O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – And of course, it reads in the proceeding chapter…”There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
I personally am no ones judge at heart, nor am I trying to be. I do not know the heart of any human being, so I am incapable of being a judge of any person internally. God is our judge. We will ALL one day face the Lord at His throne of judgement. But, what the Word of God does expect from us is to “judge” righteously (John 7:24), to “test” all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21), to “discern” (Matthew 16:3), and speak the “Truth” (Ephesians 4:25). Therefore, we do actually JUDGE but not in the manner we tell ourselves. This comes when we humble ourselves and submit to the good and perfect will of God and walk in the Spirit. The Bible is clear on this.
I never understood any of which I have discussed in this article. My eyes were simply CLOSED for the majority of my life. I never noticed anything else nor did I long for anything outside of my own lusts, desires, and selfish needs in life. In fact, that which my physical nature burned in lust for was the very things which actually robbed me of life, not fulfill it in any way! Sin is overrated and misrepresented in this life, we are manipulated and programmed to see only that which we want to see. But, when we have a true encounter with God, we come to know moreso what we NEED and not what we WANT. And when we embrace that which we need and let it dwell within our hearts, we learn that it is the true WANT in life that we NEED. Living for the Lord is nothing meant to harm us, mislead us, or to imprison us. We never truly know how to live, because we are to occupied with dying for Gods adversary. And because satan is such a crafty and masterful liar and deceiver, humanity insists that dying for the devil is the only way to truly live and be free.
I can promise you…no it is not!
It is written: “He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life, And he who pursues evil will bring about his own death.”…”For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Proverbs 11:19, Romans 6:23)
While God tells us in scripture “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 19:2, 1 Peter 1:16), and the bible says we all have sinned (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:23), and if we say otherwise the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). The bible also says in 1 John 2:4…”He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” – It also brings to mind what we see written in Titus 1:6 which says…”They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” And I will confess, I understand this condition all to well, as I too was someone who professed to know Christ, yet I still had lust in my heart, continued to get drunk, had nothing but profanity and gossip spew from my mouth, and struggled with being angry, holding grudges and hating people who I felt wronged me, even though I would preach on LOVE, FORGIVENESS, AND FAITH! I was a chief hypocrite and though I may have professed the Lord, my HEART was still far from Him! (see Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 15:8). I did not want to let go of my “sin luggage” and it made me a very POOR witness. And the truth of the matter is, there are many believers who are prisoners of this very same condition.
Believe this…I say this to all in love (not in hate, not in condemnation, not in unrighteous anger, and not with a legalistic or religious spirit) but in Godly LOVE that if we struggle in such a way, to take responsibility, humble ourselves before God, and allow His Spirit to work in us for the benefit of honoring and truly following the Lord, His Kingdom, for others, and even for ourselves. Continuously sinning willfully, without conscience, without a concern, and perverting Gods mercy and grace by making them condoners of such behavior is foolish and continuing to live in denial. The bible says clearly…”What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2) As it also says…”Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
While God is a merciful and forgiving God, and He even teaches us to forgive those who sin against us “70 x 7 times” (see Matthew 18:21-23) which is evident that He also is as forgiving, but even so…this clearly does NOT mean we go out and purposely sin “70 times each day” because we think it is perfectly acceptable in Gods eyes. No, in this regard it would not be and clearly demonstrates what dwells within ones heart, and the HEART is what God searches (see 1 Chronicles 28:9, Jeremiah 17:10, Revelation 2:23). Perhaps we all are not “perfect” and yes we ALL do stumble (James 3:2). But we should never cease from pursuing to be perfect and to avoid the stumbling blocks. It isn’t a matter of who falls. What truly matters is who will get back up again when they do. Some never do, while others will get back up, pick up the cross and follow Christ. (Matthew 16:24)