I got this from My Utmost today, and it’s too good to not share. My comments on the devotional are in italics.
Have you come to “when” yet?
A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I pray, “Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer— I will walk rightly before You if You will help me.”
I struggled with this part of the devotional because I thought, “hmmn, surely, there’s nothing wrong with making an effort to be right with God. Are we not called to be perfect? Are we not called to guard our salvation with fear and trembling? How else do I do that if I do not make an effort to walk right with God?”
But I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands, and then I can begin to pour my life out in the priestly work of intercession.
Aha! I cannot do it by myself. Sometimes when I pray “Lord, help me to love you,” I feel weird. I should not go around asking people to teach me how to love them, should I? Those who love me should love me out of their own desires.
But with God, things are a little different because His love is so perfect and we are so weak. And God can only work in us when we completely acknowledge that weakness. I cannot love the Lord by my own power. I cannot love Him by myself. I need His help. I need Him to help me. The best thing I can do for myself is to know and accept that.
There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement. Jesus is not just beginning to save us— He has already saved us completely. It is an accomplished fact, and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done.
He has already saved us completely! Jesus has done the work that needs to be done. He cannot love us more because He already loves us to infinity. He cannot love us less because that’s contrary to His nature! He is perfection, He can do nothing less than perfect. Don’t insult God by asking Him to do what He’s done already #deep
If you are not now receiving the “hundredfold” which Jesus promised (see Matthew 19:29), and not getting insight into God’s Word, then start praying for your friends— enter into the ministry of the inner life. “The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.” As a saved soul, the real business of your life is intercessory prayer.
Is it just me, or there are some times when you hit a plateau in your relationship with God? There are times of high stress in life, when we search for the Lord with everything because we’re barely hanging on to life. We desperately need a miracle so we’re panting after Him!
But what do we do when we’ve come into the promised land? How do we act when we get into Canaan? When we get into a new routine? Into a new place? When we’re still trying to figure things out? Pray for your friends. It’s like praise. Intercession takes your eyes off of you and places them where they really should be- on God and on others.
Whatever circumstances God may place you in, always pray immediately that His atonement may be recognized and as fully understood in the lives of others as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now, and pray for those with whom you come in contact now.
Remember, intercession takes your eyes off yourself and places them where they should be- on God and on others!
Featured image from here.