Jesus didn’t save us by teaching us principles. He saved us by giving us resurrection power. If we understand that, we will pray desperately. We won’t need to be told to pray more often. Instead, we won’t be able to keep from praying. The more we see our desperation, the more we sense our need for prayer.
If you really want to embarrass the average Christian, just ask them to tell you about their prayer lives. Many of us can impress others with our Bible knowledge or our evangelism stories. But our private prayer lives? Not so much. Jesus himself lived with the constant awareness that even he could do nothing on his own (John 5:19). So how is it that what was fundamental to Jesus is merely supplemental to our churches?
Believer, you are chosen to pray. And part of that means that you have been sovereignly placed in certain situations where you can perceive God’s will and cry out to God, “Lord, fulfill this promise in this place! Lord, let your kingdom come in my family, my neighborhood, my workplace!” Far from undermining prayer, a true understanding of sovereignty moves us to pray. It gives us a divine confidence that we are where we are because God has prayers for us to offer there.
Suppose a married man says to me, “Pastor, the other day, at the mall, I saw a beautiful woman. And I knew I was supposed to resist lust, I wasn’t feeling it at the time. And isn’t forcing myself to do what’s right legalism? Well, I didn’t want to be a Galatian heretic, so I acted on my heart’s desires and got the girl’s number … then went home and believed the gospel to get God’s forgiveness.” Do you think I’d say to that man, “Great work! That’s exactly how I was hoping you’d understand and apply Galatians”?
People sometimes feel like this law of multiplication is unfair. They make a few bad decisions, and when life falls apart, they think, “Well, I know I haven't always made the wisest decisions, but I don't deserve all this.” You're exactly right. But what you are experiencing is probably not punishment; it is harvest. And the law of the harvest doesn't operate according to exact proportions. Seeds don’t stay seeds; they turn into massive trees. What we reap always comes back to us greater than what we sow.
It’s always a fun and informative exercise to look at the most popular posts on Pastor J.D.’s blog and learn some interesting facts. (For example, his post on what his teenage daughter read last summer was more popular than the post about what Pastor J.D. read last summer.) We’ve done the digging and found what you considered the golden nuggets of 2017. We hope you enjoy them again and glean even more wisdom and truth to equip you in your walk with Jesus in 2018!