It Doesn’t Take All of That
“It doesn’t take all of that.” Possibly but, perhaps it does. Many older Christians are committed to religious disciplines. They don’t just pray, they fast and pray. They don’t just respond to an invitation, they tarry on the mourners’ bench. They don’t simply pray in faith. They use the acronym PUSH, pray until something happens. Today, students of the Bible often question these approaches. They often say, “It doesn’t take all of that.” They may be wrong. Perhaps, it does.
Traditionally, people who wanted something from God believed that they had to do something in order for God to act. Some of them subscribed to the idea, “If you take one step, God will take two.” They believed unless they fasted or tarried, God would not respond. Students of the Bible often reject their approach. God’s can act on his own. He operates out of love not just in response to people. For example, “In the beginning God created…”. “For God so loved the world that he gave…”. God does act on his own but, he also limits himself.
The Bible contains conditional statements. These are statements stating what God will do if or when people do something. Romans 10:9 says, ” If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” It starts with, “If you.” When people declare and believe, they will be saved.
series Another series of conditions is in 2 Chronicles 7:13,14. “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” It starts with “When.” When there is drought, a plague of lotus, or a plague of disease.” When these things happen to God’s people, then “If”. If Gods people humble themselves, pray, seek his face, and repent then God will stay his hand of judgment.
There is at least one other reason the old folk may have been right. It has to do with our hearts. Remember, God looks at our hearts not just our actions. One heart characteristic of fasting and tarrying is they indicate a seriousness in the person’s heart. I sometimes say, get serious with God and he will get serious with you. Perhaps as one
“It doesn’t take all of that.” Perhaps, it does.