My college roommate, Larry, loved Jesus. In fact he loved Him so much that many of my Christian friends found him a bit odd. To be honest he was a little strange. Sometimes Larry would be in his own little world with just him and Jesus. We would be together than Larry would spontaneously laugh. When questioned, he would just say Jesus told him a joke. Several times he would just walk away from the group in mid-conversation. When he returned he would tell us that Jesus told him to go talk to someone. Larry either had a special relationship with Jesus, or he was crazy.
As Larry’s roommate, I saw a lot of him. He was definitely quirky but not at all crazy. He did have a special relationship with Jesus and his life bore that fruit. He wanted everyone to know Jesus. Within one semester’s time, he had individually shared Jesus with everyone in our dorm, over 500 people.
1. Obedience is Evidence of Our Love for God.
When we love Jesus, we do things He wants us to do. It is not an effort to earn favor with God, but it is evidence of our love. “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18). Our obedience is to be an overflow of love. Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching” (John 14:23). ). If we are obeying God’s commands, we are positioned to abide in God’s love. To say this differently, if we are intentionally not obeying God’s commands, we are declaring we don’t trust in God’s goodness or His love for us.
How does this apply to prayer? Oftentimes we are praying for God to act when He has sent us to be the answer. The disciples saw the crowd in Bethsaida and asked Jesus to send them away so they could find food. Jesus responds for the disciples to feed the people (Luke 9:10-13). Our prayers generally ask God to heal loved ones, pull them out of bad situations, or lead them to the Gospel. Again, this is what He sent us out to do (Luke 9:1-2). We will find greater freedom in prayer if we don’t ask God to move as much as we ask how He wants us to step forward in faith.
2. Revelation is Evidence of God’s Love for Us.
The second point that gives freedom to prayer is knowing that God reveals things to those He loves. Many of us think it is hard to hear from God. Either He no longer speaks or He only speaks on special occasions to special people. The Bible tells us that the evidence of His love is God revealing Himself and what He does (John 5:20). Out of love He opens His heart to us that we may become more intimate with Him. He wants to reveal to those He loves what He plans, what He thinks, and what He enjoys. He shares secrets, jokes, music, poetry, friends, etc. He intends to be a real friend, not some distant God. If you love Jesus, you will be loved by the Father, and Jesus will also love you and show Himself to you (John 14:21).
If you have said yes to Jesus and opened your heart to Him, He sees your love and wants to start revealing more of Himself to you. You don’t have to struggle to hear God speak. His desire to communicate is greater than our lack of ability to hear. We have open access to His throne. He invites us to come.
Prayer is meant to be a partnership where we exchange our hearts, ideas, desires, and our entire lives with one another. Prayer becomes exciting when we stop trying to make God act and instead listen to Him speak. He doesn’t always share those earth-shattered truths that just blow you away and leave you trembling. More than often, He just tells you how much He likes you. He may share something He thinks is funny to get you to laugh.
Do you know what God thinks is funny? Here is a short list: the things you worry about, the plans of the enemy, and the lies you believe. He never makes you feel bad about any of these, but He will show you each one from His vantage point, and then you start to realize how funny those things really are. This paragraph may be a bit off topic, but it is a topic God seems to like to talk about. Once you start listening to Him, you will experience such freedom.
Revolutionize Your Prayers
The life of my college roommate, Larry, is not meant to be abnormal. God wants to be a close, personal confidant with you. As you start to allow these two truths to sink into your mind and actions, they will revolutionize your prayers. No longer will prayer be a struggle, but you will walk in the privilege of communication with God. Abiding in God’s love will no longer be a foreign concept; it will be a foundational truth where the rest of your life will hang. Let’s let our love grow and God’s love to become more evident.
I’m finally understanding more these days that I need to learn to love Jesus more because, as I do, I will want to obey him. When we try to obey from a position of “it’s expected” or the like, it is probably far easier to fall down on it. When we come from the aspect of love, we stand more chance of actually fulfilling it, obeying because we love and it’s not such a burden rather than pure duty.
Love the revelation part of this post too. I want to hear more jokes from God.
So much of our experience and how we interpret God’s commands is that we have to earn God’s love. I’m glad you are making progress. I still catch myself falling down that slide sometimes as well.
The jokes part of the post was an unexpected addition. I’m glad you resonated with it. I hoped it would be helpful to someone.