Sunday, April 10, 2011

Praying for Godliness

I've been in the desert eight years now, and I've come to love our weather. But there's one thing I miss in the spring time: flowering bulbs...daffodils, crocus, and tulips. I've read that if you want to make bulbs grow and bloom in a warm climate, you must dig them up and store them in your refrigerator for a certain length of time. The cold is necessary for the blooms.

In our spiritual lives, growth in godliness often happens during a trial—we might call it a chilly season or a storm.

In the book of James we're told that the trying of our faith produces patience. I've heard Christians say that we should never pray for patience because God will answer us by sending trials. I can understand a bit of the logic behind this idea, but I am not sure that it takes into account the wisdom and love of God. He wants what is best for us and what will bring glory to Him. I cannot believe that He has a stockpile of troubles He's just waiting to pour on us if we pray the wrong prayer.

We know that He wants us to pray for godliness (Paul prayed that his converts would grow spiritually) and I believe that we can trust Him to follow His good plan for us. Trials will be a part of that because we live in a fallen world, but God in His grace and wisdom speaks to us through the tough times, using the chill of troubles to produce beautiful blooms of godliness.

If God has prompted you to pray for a certain character quality, a specific fruit of the Spirit, or godliness in general, rest assured that He is working within you, and He has already arranged or allowed the circumstances and now He's preparing you. He will be with you every step of the way, whispering His words of love in your ear. You can pray confidently!

I pray this: that your love will keep on growing
in knowledge and every kind of discernment,
so that you can determine what really matters
and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ,
to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-10)

We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit. (Col. 1:10-11)

We always pray for you that our God will consider you worthy of His calling, and will, by His power, fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)

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