This week I have been some preparation for a course I teach at the Bible College. One author wrote this provocative statement:
“The Puritan Thomas Goodwin point out that our fallen nature is actually allergic to God and never wants to get too close to him. Thus our fallen nature constantly pulls us away from prayer (Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life, p. 155).
He makes a fascinating (and disturbing) point. While we are saved fully through the perfect work of Christ: we are forgiven, accepted and adopted; and his Spirit lives in us. However, until Christ returns to make all things new, we have a conflict within. Indeed, one author wrote that the true Christian is one who has both peace of conscience as well as war within (J.C.Ryle).
So we live in this tension. While the Holy Spirit draws us to God, to enjoy fellowship with him as we bring our praise and requests to our Father, indwelling sin seeks to draw us away, casting us back on our own massively inadequate resources and depriving us of the blessing of relationship with God.
What is the answer? Firstly we need to acknowledge that it is a battle. Know that sin is the enemy within. Knowing that it will draw us away from God is the start of the battle.
Secondly, see that our own resources are hopelessly insufficient. We try and draw power from a flat battery when through the Spirit we have access to the mains of spiritual life.
Thirdly, we must acknowledge that there is no need to shrink back from God. The writer to the Hebrews tells us, “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings” (Heb 10.22 NIV11). Christ has opened the way. Jesus’ Father is our Father and Christ died and rose to make this the case.
Lastly, use the resources he has given us. Ask him, as the disciples did, to “teach us to pray”. Ask for the Spirit’s help to draw near. Use the prayers of Scripture. And never overlook the blessing of family – join with your brothers and sisters every Sunday at 9.30am as we gather to pray.
Pastor | Trinity Church Brighton
0432 578 460 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Day Off Fridays