"Those who obey My commandments are the ones who love Me. And because they love Me, My Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal Myself to each one of them."
- John 14:21 NLT
The other day, I received a heartbreaking letter from a woman who writes me occasionally for prayer and encouragement. She longed to have an intimate relationship with God, but she felt that whenever she prayed and tried to talk to Him, all she got was silence. She admitted that she was not living a godly lifestyle, but she was convinced that years of unanswered prayers had a lot to do with her lack of devotion. She said that the nature of God that was revealed in the Scriptures didn't match up with what she was seeing in her own life. How was she supposed to know God's will for her life, and follow His direction, if she couldn't even hear His voice?
I explained to this lady that even though God loves each and every one of us, not all of us will experience that love. Only those who humble themselves before the Lord with a truly repentant heart can have an intimate relationship with Him. Receiving Christ as our Savior is a part of this process, but we must go further than that. We must make Jesus the LORD of every area of our lives. That means that we must walk in humble obedience to His will for us on a day-to-day basis.
Look at this verse: "The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]" (John 14:21 AMP) Here, Jesus promises that He and the Father will not only love us, but that they'll REVEAL themselves to us, when we set our minds and hearts on obeying the commands of God. We cannot expect to experience the good plans that the Lord has in store for us if we refuse to obey His Word, or to follow the leadership of His Spirit. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me." (John 10:27 NKJV) This usually doesn't mean that we'll hear an audible voice when the Lord speaks to us, but that we'll sense little "impressions" in our spirit that will point us in a certain direction. If you are having serious trouble hearing from God on a regular basis, either you have not truly surrendered your life to Him and experienced the new birth, or you are not spending enough time in His presence and His Word. Psalm 119:105 (NLT) says: "Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path." If we don't have a working knowledge of the Scriptures, there will be times when it will be nearly impossible for us to discern the will of God.
I told this woman that even though it was God's heartfelt desire to bless her more than she could ever imagine, He wasn't about to do that when she was living an ungodly lifestyle, or compromising her Christian walk. The Bible says, "Your sins keep My blessings at a distance." (Jeremiah 5:25 MSG) For most of my life, I was a Christian who felt like God was always at a distance. When I finally surrendered my life to the Lord, and got serious about studying and obeying His Word, I began experiencing the presence, the power, and the goodness of God on a daily basis. I had to make a lot of sacrifices, and so will you. Is it difficult? Yes. Is it worth it? YES! The Lord wants us to get ready answers to our prayers. But He expects us to do our part. Jesus said, "If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you." (John 15:7 AMP) Even if you have prayed a salvation prayer before, I encourage you to pray the one below with all your heart, and open the door for God to do a new and mighty work in you--and in your relationship with Him--as your surrender your life to Him anew!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive me for my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and I receive Him today as my personal Savior and Lord. I surrender to You all that I am, and all that I have, holding nothing back. Make me the person You created me to be, and equip me to fulfill my God-given purpose and potential. Teach me how to live the supernatural, abundant, resurrection life that Jesus died for me to have. Thank You for filling me with Your Spirit, and making me a Christ follower and a world changer!
- J. M. Farro