The apostle John writes, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life”(1 John 5:13). Those words breathe hope. The apostle tells that we can know that we have eternal life, salvation. Too many Christians aren’t sure. They feel as if they are suspended between heaven and hell, swinging between the two, knowing that they will land, but not sure in which of the two destinations they will land. John says that we can know. We can have confidence.
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:14).
In these verses, we learn the first of two key truths that give us confidence that we can trust in the concrete love of God. When we coordinate our will with God’s, we begin to see answers to our prayers.
Some prayers don’t consider God’s will. They are all about me, what I want. What does God want? How and for what did he design us? God hears us when we pray in accordance with his will. My uncle owned a construction company. Originally the company built houses, but he converted it to a concrete construction company – they poured foundations for houses and laid level, firm parking lots. People depend on the proper balance between water and concrete mix when foundations are laid. If there is not enough concrete, the foundation will not be secure. The house will collapse. If my prayer is about what I want, and not what God wants, I will not succeed. In operating his company, my uncle learned that he had to listen to his customers and he had to take care of his workers. He had to follow government regulations. In our relationship with God, it is not just about you and God, or me and God.
“If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life – to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrong doing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death” (1 John 5:15).
There is the second key to confidence in God’s concrete love: Praying for one another. We struggle at times, and like the man I mentioned earlier, wonder if God hears our prayers. We doubt if we have hope. We need the prayers of stronger, more faithful Christians whose vision is not clouded by our lusts or our addictions, our dangerous friendships or improper relationships. If we are praying in accordance with God’s will, we need to pray that other Christians will grow to be spiritual giants and that seemingly incorrigible sinners will realize that their only hope is in turning away from their idols that are destroying them and turning to obedience to God.
God our father, you provide secure paths on which we may walk. You have given directions to guide us on our journey. As we travel through life, we navigate treacherous passageways. When we ignore your guidance, we find ourselves on trails that have not been maintained, where footing is not secure, and we risk falling into the abyss. We pray for others who travel, that they may keep their focus on you and your Son. We thank you for stronger disciples who spur us on toward safety with mentoring and prayers. We have an anchor, and in his name, the name of Jesus, we pray, Amen.
- All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.