Friday, 7 May 2021
Title: Jesus is praying for us
By: Ps Cheng Cheung
John 17:9 “I pray for them . . . ”
All of us live our Christian lives in the context of an unholy world. Some face extraordinary temptation amid openly corrupt and morally debased behaviour. One who works in a secular commercial environment is often under tremendous pressure to compromise ethical standards to satisfy the greed of their employers. Christian business owners are tempted to bend legal rules and compliance requirements because it is more convenient. The Christian student often circulates in an environment polluted with crude language, sensuality and even a lack of sexual abstinence.
We have read that James says that religion that is pure and undefiled . . (is) to keep oneself unstained from the world. And Paul, in the context of Christians being the temple in which the Holy Spirit of God dwells, quoting Isaiah, says in 2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore ‘come out from their midst, and be separate,’ says the Lord, ‘and touch no unclean thing, and I will welcome you.’ He is advocating that believers not be “mismatched” or “unequally yoked” with non-believers.
Immediately, two questions arise:
(1) What encouragement can we draw from God’s Word that the Lord will enable us to set ourselves apart from the world?
Jesus’s prayer in John 17 shows the Lord’s tender concern for His disciples. And it is not just for the first century disciples, but He prays for all of His disciples through the years, including all present-day believers. Verse 20: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word” And we can be sure that the Lord is also praying for us, NOW, while He is seated at the right hand of Our Heavenly Father. He prays for our preservation from moral evil (v 11-15), our sanctification (v 17) and our unification (21).
(2) And how are we to l͟i͟v͟e͟ i͟n͟ t͟h͟e͟ w͟o͟r͟l͟d͟ and yet not be o͟f͟ t͟h͟e͟ w͟o͟r͟l͟d͟ ?
It may sound simplistic, but there is no better way than to understand, “man shall not live by bread alone” means, and to resolve to live by His Word daily.
On a personal basis, various struggles, and temptations to “take things easy” in my walk with the Lord used to bother me regularly. Some still do, from time to time. But would you believe me if I shared that since last year, preparation to write the daily devotion caused me to read God’s Word much more intensively and with greater scrutiny and focus than I had in the past? Those portions of scripture and their application to my own life literally came alive!
For example, very honestly, until last year, I had not appreciated Psalms very much. But I sought to understand David’s many struggles and his intimate relationship with God as he expressed himself openly before God. This helped me identify with his many shortcomings and emotions. It also helped me understand why God dealt with David the way He did – with great compassion and yet uncompromisingly. I could identify with David. He is very much a man like you and me. But through his struggles and trials, he drew closer and closer to God. Similarly, I believe you and I would also be able to have an intimate relationship with the Lord and hear His voice and allow Him to guide us daily.
We don’t need to grit one’s teeth and thereby resist the world’s subtle, eroding influence on our own. But we do need to strengthen our spiritual life by feeding on God’s Word. This is what the Lord Himself prayed to the Father: John 17: 15 & 17
“I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them safe from the evil one. Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth.”
May we seek to draw close to God daily through His Word.
My Prayer today
Lord Jesus, thank You for praying for me daily. Thank you for upholding me when I am spiritually, emotionally, and mentally weak. Thank You for providing a way of escape whenever I am tempted.
Draw me nearer to You daily. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.