The Prayer of Jabez Part #2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Very sadly, these imaginary blessings extend to those who think they are saved. They base their salvation on an emotional experience, on church membership, on water baptism or on the prayers of others. There is a great difference between the presumption of salvation and the full assurance of salvation. If you trust in your heart in Jesus, then you are saved; but if you merely say, “I trust in Jesus,” it doesn’t save you. If your heart is renewed, and you hate the things which you once loved, and love the things that you once hated; if you have really repented; if you have been born again, then you can rejoice, because you are a child of God. But if there is no change in your life, no inward godliness, no love for God, no prayer, no work of the Holy Spirit, then you're saying, “I am saved,” is only an assertion. Our prayer should be, “Father, bless me indeed, with real faith, with real salvation, with a real trust in Jesus. God, protect me from imaginary blessings.”
For those who are saved, there must be a caution-pray that you will learn to distinguish between those things which you think are spiritual blessings and those which are blessings indeed. Let me show you what I mean. It may not be a blessing to get an answer to one of your prayers that you prayed from your own mind. It is always best to qualify your prayers with, “Not as I will, but as you will.” You could be asking for something that may be dangerous for you. Here is a story that I read, that may make this point.
There was a good woman whose son was about to die. She begged a minister to pray for him. He prayed sincerely, but added, “If it be thy will, save this child.” The woman said, “You must pray again, and don’t put in any ifs or buts.” “Woman”, the minister said, “You may regret the day that you set your will against God’s will.” Twenty years later this woman had to watch her son put to death as a criminal. Although she got to see her son grow up to be a man, it would have been much better for her if the child had died, and if she had left it to God’s will. Remember, joy and happiness are not always signs of His blessings. Perhaps, it would be a greater blessing for me to have a broken spirit before God.
All these various experiences that we have, that take us from the mountain top and a joyful spirit to the valley of despair, may be blessings indeed to us. For if we were always rejoicing, we would see no need for God. We should not envy those who always appear calm, even in a storm, because there is a calmness which arises from callousness. Those who say they have no doubts may be that way because they are not searching. They don’t have anxieties because there are no desires to stir them up. They don’t have any pains because there is no life in them.
Let’s pray that God will lead us, so we don’t envy anyone who has His gifts or His graces, much less those who have better outward circumstances; but if it is His will, that He bless us indeed.
Christ is to be our all-in-all. Let’s leave the manner of our blessing to Him. We must leave it to God to give us what we shall have, not the imaginary blessings, the superficial and apparent blessings, but the blessing indeed!
And as far as our work and service are concerned, I think our prayer should always be, “Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed.” We should “plod on” as we work to build His church, even if we never win a soul. No matter what we build for God, if it is gold, silver or precious stones; it will last. Those works which are built in a hurry with little effort are like a wooden house filled with hay and stubble; it only takes a little spark and they are gone. What God establishes will stand, but what men build without His establishment will certainly amount to nothing. “Oh, that thou wouldest bless me indeed!”
Sunday school teacher, this should be your prayer.
Tract distributor, the preacher, whatever you may be, whatever your service is, even if only to pray, asks the Lord to bless you and to bless your work.
The last thing to mention, before we end, is that the blessings of God’s grace are blessings indeed, and it is right for us to seek after them. We are told, “By these marks shall ye know them.” Blessings indeed are these: blessings that come from the pierced hands; blessings that come from Calvary’s bloody cross; pardon from sins; acceptance by God; Christ in us and us in Christ...these are blessings indeed. Any blessing that comes from the Spirit’s work in us is a blessing indeed.
If Christ convinces you of your sin, it’s a blessing. Anything that He does, accept it; do not doubt it, and pray that he will continue to bless you. Whatever leads you to God is a blessing.
Now, let’s end with three words.
“Search.” See whether the blessings are blessings indeed, and don’t be satisfied unless you know they are blessings from God.
“Weigh.” That is the next word. Whatever you receive, weigh it and determine if it is a blessing indeed, causing you to abound in love and in every good work and word.
And lastly, “Pray.” Pray that whatever God gives you, whatever He withholds; that you may be blessed indeed.
“Oh, that thou wouldest bless me indeed.”
Amen! Let’s close in prayer.