Living a Balanced Life
(An In-Depth Study of First John)
Abundant Life, Prayer and the Word
1 John 5:14-17
During one of Jesus’ conversations with the religious leaders in Jerusalem he presented them with this purpose statement: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b) Eternal and abundant life is a profound promise. In order to live this life Jesus called abundant, one must be certain about the status of their relationship with the Savior.
In the verses just prior to this week’s text, John delivers the good news of the certainty of eternal life. If you are a child of God you are certain of eternal life. If your life is being lived in the light, in the likeness of Christ, loving unconditionally and giving sacrificially you can be certain that your real home, your eternal home is the Kingdom of God!
Now John gives us a look at another major aspect of our abundant life in Christ; God hears our prayers! To many American Christians, prayer is much like a Christmas list. Like letters to Santa, their prayers are simply lists of stuff they ‘know’ will make life better. They treat prayer as if it were the little bell one uses to call the butler to come fluff their pillow. Prayer never informs God. It is never the case that something is happening in our lives that God is to busy or distracted to see. Jesus taught us that God knows what we need even before we ask. (Matthew 6:8)
On rare occasions, we see accounts of people praying and God changing the course of their lives. Examples include Hezekiah’s prayer by which God extended his life by 15 years. (Isaiah 38:5) Jesus taught His disciples to pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1-8) However, the overwhelming conclusion one sees in all of Scripture regarding prayer is that prayer changes us. When John states that we receive whatever we ask in prayer he doesn’t leave us with the understanding that sinful requests will be delivered. There is a condition in this promise. If we ask ‘according to His will’ God hears us. (vs 14) And we can only ask according to His will if our will comes into alignment with God’s. This is one of the most amazing results of prayer. As we pray, we begin to hear and understand God’s will. In other words, prayer is less like a bell to call for the butler, and more like a war-time walkie-talkie. When the sergeant radios headquarters to report that the battle is getting intense, he is strengthened and renewed when he hears the General’s reply; “Stand firm, we almost have them surrounded, victory is minutes away!” Prayer changes us.
Prayer is Confidence (vs 14-15)
- Intimate relationship (1 John 4:16)
- Our wills align (with God)
- Members of the Family doing the will of the Father
Prayer is Power (vs 16-17)
- Prayer is to the Christian as Spinach is to Popeye (Joshua 1:6)
- Importance of Family [Body of Christ]
- Prayer’s power over a Brother’s sin
- Don’t waste prayer? [on sin that leads to death]
- ALL wrongdoing is sin [sin is not defined by government or culture]
Life Balance is always attained by Truth
Prayer and the Word is the ONLY source of Truth
The ONLY way not to live dirty and stupid is Prayer and the Word
Prayer and the Word is a means of Grace obtained in private AND in corporate