Boldness to Approach God
Category : General
1 John 5: 14 (KJV)
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
In C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, the elder demon advises the younger demon to keep his man focused on himself and his present circumstances. And to not let him think about more eternal things. When we focus too much on our current situation, it’s hard to see beyond the trial. God gently lifts our heads and shows us the bigger picture of His kingdom. At times we are disappointed in ourselves or others who have let us down. Ideas fall flat, situations don’t play out the way we want them to, and goals are not achieved. Disappointment is inevitable from time to time. This brings us down, which can affect the quality of our decisions if we aren’t careful. While the old parable that “people who produce good results feel good about themselves,” the opposite is true as well.
Even great leaders like Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill struggled with depression and periods of despondency during difficult periods of their lives. While discouragement and even depression are normal human traits, it is important that we don’t let them get the best of us. So how can you avoid getting into a funk when everything seems to be going wrong? Is there anything we can do to prepare for life’s valleys?
It is said that Faith and prayer are not boldly to advance claims upon God; we must take heed that what we ask and believe for is agreeable to the revealed will of God. What we find promised, that we may plead.
Alford, “If we knew God’s will, and submitted to it heartily, it would be impossible for us to ask anything for the spirit or the body which He should not perform: it is this ideal state which the apostle has in view. It is the Spirit who teaches us inwardly, and Himself in us asks according to the will of God.”
According to his will – which is the believer’s will, and therefore no restraint to his prayers. In so far as God’s will is not ours, we are not abiding in faith, and our prayers are not accepted. Here we find the apostle commends the faith which he mentioned by its fruit, or he shews that in which our confidence especially is, that is, that the godly dare confidently to call on God. Paul also speaks in Ephesians 3:12, that we have by faith access to God with confidence; and also in Romans 8:15, that the Spirit gives us a mouth to cry Abba, Father. And doubtless, were we driven away from an access to God, nothing could make us more miserable; but, on the other hand, provided this asylum be opened to us, we should be happy even in extreme evils; nay, this one thing renders our troubles blessed, because we surely know that God will be our deliverer, and relying on his paternal love towards us, we flee to him.
This is the fourth mention of boldness in this epistle: as pertaining to the judgment in 1 John 2:28; 1 John 4:17, and as pertaining to prayer, here, and in 1 John 3:21,22. In a large degree, the Christian is himself responsible for maintaining a confident and winning attitude, an attitude to which he is fully entitled by the glorious endowments and promises of the faith. It is therefore incumbent upon him to speak enthusiastically of his faith and of the joyful service in the Lord, much in the same manner of a good athlete who “talks a good game” with his associates during a contest. The grounds of such confidence which John cited in connection with his admonition is that, after all, our God will answer our prayers! No greater promise could be imagined.
This is the proper and the necessary limitation in all prayer. God has not promised to grant anything that shall be contrary to his will, and it could not be right that he should do it. We ought not to wish to receive anything that should be contrary to what he judges to be best. No man could hope for good who should esteem his own wishes to be a better guide than the will of God; and it is one of the most desirable of all arrangements that the promise of any blessing to be obtained by prayer should be limited and bounded by the will of God.
God’s promise of answering prayer, however, is not a blank check, the qualification laid down here being only one of a number of Scriptural limitations on it. Others are: prayers must be offered in faith (Mark 11:24), in the name of Jesus (John 14:14), and by one abiding in Christ (John 15:7). Furthermore, only those who have forgiven (Mark 11:15); and only those whose prayers flow out of an obedient life (1 John 3:22), and who will not use their blessings for the gratification of their lusts and passions (James 4:3), may properly claim in confidence the answer of their prayers.
Have a Great and God filled Day