29. The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous.
Proverbs 15:29 NLT
Today’s Passage is as self-explanatory as any in the entire Chapter thus far. But in its simplicity, there lies the elephant in the room that many of us refuse to acknowledge. That elephant is Merited Grace.
Now, as Spirit-filled Christians, we often revolve our beliefs around God’s Grace or, in other words, His willingness to Bless us even though we do not deserve it. Without that Grace, we would never be able to claim His Love or Favor in our lives because it simply would not exist.
He Loves us like a Father, even when we not only don’t love Him back, but we actively repel His Affections. He Offers us Blessings when we claim that our own strength has affected those very Benefits. He listens to our endless gripes when we won’t even take a moment to thank Him for all that He has so selflessly done for us.
But if we take what this Passage tells us at face value, then that Grace we so enjoy is not necessarily what it seems to be. James 5:16 tells us that, “The effectual, fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much.” That is to say, efficient, efficacious supplications by virtuous individuals who Honor God are advantageous and will likely reap the benefits they request.
However, that also implies the opposite. Today’s Passage states, “The Lord is far from the wicked.” I suppose it can only be fair to understand that we cannot do whatever we please, ignoring God and His Commands and still expecting to receive His Blessings.
He may still choose to Bless us, but those Blessings are but a shadow of what we would enjoy if we adhered to Hid Word and actually acted in a manner becoming a child of God. How can we expect God’s Favor when we refuse to follow His Instructions?
The blunt and straightforward answer is that we cannot! There is a cost to God’s Favor, and it is Obedience. So many people today find that too high a price to pay, and they can’t be bothered to give a little to gain so much.
But what did Christ give for our Salvation? He gave everything! And we can’t give up a little bit of our will, a little bit of our comfort to receive His Blessings, not the least of which being Eternal Life?
Well then, I suppose if that is the case, we don’t really deserve His Blessings, do we? If we can’t adhere to His Requests for Relationship with Him, then we don’t merit the Benefits that come with it.
People that refuse to let go of their sin and sacrifice a bit of themselves, ignoring God’s pleas for Connection, can’t complain when they cry out to Him and He ignores them, can they? If you have never given God a moment of your time or your energy, and then you beg Him to help you, can you be surprised when He treats you like you treat Him?
Just something to consider as you enjoy your good times, which by the way, all stem from His Grace in the first place. Because you can be sure that the good times will not last forever, and what will you do, who will you turn to when things turn sour? To God? Well, should you expect His Answer? Have you earned His Ear?
Have a Thought-Provoking Thursday And Remember, Favor Is Not Fair, But It May Be Earned!