For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:3-4 NKJV
Some people look at their life and think that they need to do something to make their life work, especially as they start to get older. They believe there’s something to yet to do, somebody to see, or someplace to go to make their life work. But what does say?
In the Scriptures, the very first spoken Words of God are, “Let there be . . .” (Gen. 1:3), and Jesus’ first call given to Peter and Andrew who would become His disciples was, “Follow me and I will make you . . .” (Matt. 4:19). According to the text above, if you believe that your life is hid in Christ and that Christ is your life, then, what is God saying about your life? Perhaps God is saying, “Follow Me and let it be.”
God promised to show you the path of life when you live in His presence. There would be fullness of joy, and at His right hand, pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11). God’s path for your life includes living with an awareness of His presence, much joy, fulfilled desires and gratification forever. Thus, life was never meant to be stressful, strained, or a struggle. Life should be a flow living in the joyful presence of God, so it’s absurd to say that “you’re trying to make your life work.”
God is life. His life is your life; therefore, God lives in you, through you, as you (V John 1:4; 14:6). You don’t need to make your life work, you need to let God work doing what He knows how to do and what He is fully able to do in you, through you, as you (Phil. 2:13). You don’t have to figure out your life (Matt. 6:25, 27; 10:39). Your redeemed life in Christ is supposed to be about gladness and joy (Isa. 35:10). Hear the Word of the Lord saying to you, “follow Me and let it be!”
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy. 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, And joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying . . . 24 “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:17-19, 24 NKJV
Are the new heavens and new earth something that occurs during the Church age, or the Kingdom age, or the Millennium, or the Eternal State? It is easy to fall in error when you don’t know the Scriptures nor the power of God (Matt. 22:29). Scripture interprets Scripture, so what was apostolic understanding of the new heavens and new earth?
Apostle Paul was the first to write his revelation of the new heavens and new earth as outlined in 2 Corinthians 5:17-18. In order for anyone to participate in the new heaven and new earth, he or she must be a new creature in Christ. In the new creation, the Father knows the things we have need of before we ask (Matt. 6:8-10).
In the new heavens and new earth, before you call on God in prayer, God answers because the thing you desire already exist (Matt. 6:10). When praying, you are praying for what already exist (Heb. 4:3). You don’t have to seek the thing, it seeks you. The blessings of God will come upon you and overtake you (Deut. 28:2; Amos 9:13). You can’t outrun God’s favor and goodness (Ps. 23:6). The answer is waiting on your asking. Before you decided what you desired, God had already had it prepared (Ps. 37:4; Mark 11:24).
In prayer, while you are yet speaking to God, there is no need to cry, beg, beseech, or plead because God hears and answers because He already knows. For example, while Daniel was yet speaking to the Lord His God in prayer, God had already answered him and sent to him the angel Gabriel to give him skill and understanding that while you are speaking God answers (Dan. 9:3-5, 20-23).
Also, when Peter was imprisoned, he was under the guard of four squads of soldiers. The church came together to pray for him without ceasing. Peter was asleep in prison; bound with two chains, kept between two soldiers while the church was yet speaking to God in prayer, God sent an angel to supernaturally free Peter from prison. After being freed, the church was still in prayer not realizing that God had already answered their prayer (Acts 12:11-16).
While you’re yet speaking in prayer, God answers and it is done! (Ps. 33:9).
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind . . . 24 “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:17, 24 NKJV
In the new heaven and new earth, God promised to hear your prayer even before you starting praying. So, the new heaven and new earth, has it occurred or will it occur in the future? Isaiah the prophet, apostles Peter and John all recorded parallel revelations as regards the new heaven and new earth. Some of their respective passages in Scripture refer to the Church age, or the Kingdom age, or the Millennium, or the Eternal State, or a combination of all these dispensations (Isa. 51:16; 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:7; Rev. 21:1). But regardless the era or time, the Father knows the things you have need of, before you ask (Matt. 6:8).
It is likely that Jesus had the new heaven and new earth in mind when He taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). Also when He told the Pharisees that, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation . . . For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). If you believe that Scripture interprets Scripture, then you must consider Apostle Paul’s apostolic understanding of the new heaven and new earth. Paul wrote that in order for anyone to participate in the new heaven and new earth, he or she must be a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17-18). God answers your prayers before you call because the new heaven and new earth is within you.
In prayer, you need to always be cognizant that before you call, God will answer, and further realize that: the things you desire already exist (Matt. 6:10). When praying, you are praying for what already exist; you don’t have to seek the thing, it seeks you. The blessings will come upon you and overtake you (Deut. 28:2; Amos 9:13). You can’t outrun God’s good and favor (Ps. 23:6); and, the answer to your prayers is waiting on your asking. Before you decided what you desired, God had already had it prepared (Mark 11:24; Matt. 7:7). Before you call, God will answer!
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God . . . Hebrews 11:1-2 NKJV
Faith is now (in the present tense); it is substance; and, it is evidence. The evidence upon which we base our faith is not in the facts we see, but in the truth of God’s Word (Heb. 11:1; Rom. 10:17). Faith is the “title deed” that provides access to all the riches in the kingdom of God, and the key that that unlocks the doors of the kingdom.
Bible faith is always placed in a person not an outcome (Mark 11:22; 2 Tim. 1:12). Faith is not believing something; it is believing someone, i.e., Jesus Christ. You cannot exercise faith to manipulate circumstances to bring about a preferred outcome or get God to do what you want. Faith is trusting God no matter the outcome—trusting God to meet your need no matter how little your faith may be. It is obedience to act on God’s Word, i.e., the present-tense voice of God (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:8-10). For example, by faith in Jesus’ Word, Peter walked on water (Matthew 14:25-31). Never believe the enemy’s lie that you don’t have enough faith because faith was given to you from God and is placed in God. Again, faith is focused on God not an outcome. Could we ever have enough faith to buy, exchange, or trade for God’s favor? No. Faith is a gift from God given by grace and God always give us what you need (Rom. 12:3; Eph. 4:7).
God has given us faith. He has put faith on deposit in us to respond to every circumstance that arises in our life. God didn’t make a mistake and not give you enough faith (Rom. 12:3). Faith operates the same way for daily living as it did when you received Jesus as Savior and Lord (Col. 2:6). The focus was God then and it is still on God now for daily living by faith (Matt. 6:11). We weren’t saved by works and, ergo, do not live by works. We live by faith (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38). God’s blessings and favor are free, unearned and undeserved. We cannot earn them or buy them. Faith is responding to the grace of God (Eph. 2:8). Self-efforts and works cancels out faith (it is opposite of faith; see Romans 4:4-6). Remember the man born lame that was healed at the Gate beautiful in Acts chapter 3. His healing is an example of faith obtained by grace in response to God’s grace (Acts 3:16). As Paul testified to the Elders at Ephesus in Acts 20:21, not only is repentance toward God but faith is also toward our Lord Jesus!
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him . . . In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven . . . 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:7-10, 31-33 NJKV
There is an inseparable connection between prayer, the kingdom of God, and righteousness. An answered prayer begins with the foreknowledge and omniscience of God and understanding who God is when you pray (Ex. 3:14; Heb. 11:6; Rev. 1:8; 4:8). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus introduced God has our heavenly Father who knows what you need even before you ask. So, in prayer, why should you be anxious, confused, or in doubt because the need is already provided for. This is the power of prayer,
“Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8). Because Father knows, you can ask with an attitude of gratitude. No need to ever beg; seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (the character and quality of being right or justified by faith); and, knock with consistence and persistence—never abandon your prayer request. Continue to thank God for the answer. Father knows and He rewards them who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
In our text above, Jesus connected answered prayer with the coming of the kingdom here on earth. Therefore, every time you pray, you’re asking for a manifestation of the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:10). Prayers are consistently answered with the coming of the kingdom and in righteousness (Luke 17:20-21; Rom. 14:17; Gen. 15:6). Trust God our heavenly Father and take him at His Word. Father knows all and Father knows best!
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. 25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:24-26 NKJV
The Scriptures teach us to have strong confidence when approaching God in prayer. If we ask anything according to God’s will, He hears us. And if we know that God hears our prayer — whatever we ask — we also know that we have what we’ve desired of God (1 John 5:14-15). In prayer everything is possible according to God’s will except for when there is doubt or unforgiveness in our heart. Doubt confuses faith in God, and unforgiveness hinders faith that could otherwise “move mountains (Mark 11:23). God first and foremost forgives us and we must forgive ourselves and others. Forgiveness flows from God to us and faith flows from us to God. Unforgiveness clogs up the flow of faith in the “prayer pipeline.”
Unforgiveness is like a spiritual poison. Poison is any substance that causes harm, sickness, or death if it gets into our body. When unforgiveness gets in our heart, a root of bitterness, animosity, ill-will and resentment toward the unforgiven one will spring up to trouble us and defile our faith (Heb. 12:15). Unforgiveness poisons prayer.
When you stand praying, forgiveness is a basic condition for an answered prayer. Could this be God’s paternalistic way of dealing with us, His children—as our heavenly Father—to administer reproof and correction? (See Matt. 6:10, 12, 14-15). When we harbor unforgivness in our heart, we deny the character and nature of God and deny His character and nature in us; we basically bind love and acceptance and loose anger, animosity, ill-will, ill-feelings, and even rejection (Matt. 18:18); and, we empower the unforgiven one and while depowering ourselves. Unforgiveness poisons prayer and our fellowship with the Father and hinders the flow of blessings when we pray (Mark 11:25-26).
And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. Mark 11:22-24 KJV
Jesus instructed His disciples that when you pray (Matt. 6:6), believe that you receive whatsoever you ask for (Mark 11:24—(it goes without saying that the “what things soever” must be consistent with God’s promise). But before you can believe God’s promise, you must first conceive it in your heart, i.e., have faith in God (Mark 11:22). Faith responds to the promises of God, and the promises of God is our foundation—the solid Rock on which we stand, and faith is the key that unlocks the door to all the blessings, riches, power, and kingdom authority.
So, when you pray, how do you “believe that you receive”? When praying for your desire, lay hold of (appropriate or claim) what you believing for and reckon yourself to have the desire rather than just begging for it (John 1:12; 14:13-14; Rom. 8:14, 16). By faith, imagine the thing desired and act as though it is so (Eph. 3:20; Rom. 4:17-21; Gal. 3:29), and, do not hesitate to lose yourself in your desire while praying. Feel the joy and continue to name it, claim it, confess it and possess it (Heb. 10:23).
Caveat: when you pray, if you’re conscious of the problem more than you are of the promised in God’s Word, you’ll be rewarded with more of the problem (Matt. 13:12; Joel 3:10). “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you . . . [a]sk and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt 6. 6; 7:7-8). Ask, seek, and knock. Conceive it; believe it; and, receive it!
Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10 NKJV
Social scientists have said that, “man is the sum total of his experience.” There are times when life brings varied adversities rather than prosperity—times, figuratively speaking, when the rain fall, floods rise, and strong winds blow (Matt. 7:24-27). And, it seems like there is one thing after another, and you may have asked yourself: does it ever end? I heard a great man of God say that these experiences are the CATS, i.e., Circumstances, Affliction, Tests, trials and tribulations.¹
When the bad times come, do you maintain your faith in God and hold fast to the integrity of His Word? Or, do you reel in doubt and unbelief and begin to question God and your faith? Do you foolishly and sinfully curse God and die? Absolutely not! God is still a good God during the good times and the bad, and somehow He makes all things work together for your good (Rom. 8:28). Remember, God is greater than any of your circumstances, tests and trials, and He promised never to leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5). Your choice is to decide to stand on the Rock or get rocked!
The adversities of life serves, often times, to reveal who you are as a person, what you really believe about God and His Word, and help you draw closer to God. God is always the solution to every problem and bad situation whether you understand it or not. In fact, God calls your problems in life a temporary light affliction which works for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17). The apostle Peter taught that God is the God of all grace—the good and the bad—who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, just like Job, after you have suffered a while, God will perfect you, establish, strengthen, and settle you (1 Peter 5:10). So, the next time you ask yourself: does it ever end? Also ask yourself, do you want to be made perfect, established, strengthen, and settle. God knows how much you can bear.
¹ Bishop James Williams, End Time Christian Fellowship. Toledo, OH
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:22-24 NKJV
The barren fig tree that Jesus cursed (Mark 11:11:13-14) serves as an object lesson about prayer. He told His disciples to have faith in God; to have the faith of God; to have faith as God gives—the God-kind of faith where everything is possible in prayer according to God’s will. Praying with the God kind of faith requires that you believe that you receive even before you can measurably see the answer (Mark 11:24).
Prayer without the God-kind of faith is, more or less, just religious form that is dead and empty (2 Tim. 3:5). So, what is the God-kind of faith? In responding to His disciples about cursing the fig tree that resulted in the tree withering from the root, Jesus clearly taught that in prayer you are to put your faith in God, not an outcome (Mark 11:22; 2 Tim. 1:12), and you must not doubt in your heart (Mark 11:23). Doubt enters in when we confuse what God is doing with how He is doing it (Rom. 1:17). In prayer, we must let God be God!
The God kind of faith, metaphorically, moves “mountains”, i.e., challenges, obstacles, problems, etc. The “sea” speaks of a place where the memory of undesired things are “lost at sea”, such as affliction, adversity, trouble, etc. (Zech. 10:11). This picture of a mountain moving into the sea (Mark 11:23) serves to teach that nothing is impossible in prayer when you believe that you receive (Mark 11:24). To believe that you receive requires that you put your trust and confidence in God’s Word (1 John 5:14-15), speaking and declaring the answer in the present tense according to His promise (Heb. 11:1; Gen. 1:1-3). The God-kind of faith is always now!!