Friday, October 14, 2011

The Difference Between a Believer and an Unbeliever

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
The difference between a believer and an unbeliever is his/her prayer. Unbelievers don't need to pray; they can make it on their own. They own the world, everything goes right for them, "Verily I say unto you, they have their reward," says Jesus. But those who "believe" in Jesus have a hard time trying to make it on their own; they fit right into the category of David who continually (almost) pours out his heart in prayer in the Psalms. He has all kinds of "enemies" that he is constantly begging the Lord to defeat for him (wait a moment: don't fall for this lie that David is paranoid: from every prayer session except one [Psalm 88] he emerges joyously triumphant on top of the world in his confidence in God who has heard and answered his prayer; that's not paranoia). That's why I said that "believers" have a hard time making it on their own; they know they can't, so they rejoice in their faith to believe that they can make it with the blessing of their Savior. (And they do!)

The Bible is really full of prayer. The lady in Matthew 15:22-28 who is begging Jesus to heal her daughter "vexed with a devil" is praying; He tested and stretched her faith before He did it. The man with the son who was devil possessed in Mark 9:17-24 is praying, "Lord, if Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us and help us." Again, Jesus tested and stretched his faith, almost agonizingly, before He granted his prayer.

Prayer is meaningless unless you learn to believe (a) that there is a God who is what He says He is ("merciful and gracious, ... plenteous in mercy," Psalm 103:8), and (b) that He hears and rewards those who take the trouble to "come" to Him (Heb. 11:6). The "coming" is a serious, intelligent, well-thought out interview with the Sovereign of the universe who tells you that He is your heavenly Father and you are His child; He meets you on your own ground, as sober as you are. No games, please.

It's not my business to guarantee anything on His behalf; but from some minute personal experience I can testify that He "receiveth sinners," even "eats with" them (Luke 15:2; yes, have lunch with Him!); "forgiveth all our iniquities" (Psalm 103:3); tells us what is wrong with us and encourages us to believe we'll get straightened out (John 16:8-11); gloriously enhances our sense of self-respect (Gal. 2:20); gives us the intimations of coming immortality through faith in Christ (Rom. 8:16-19); and lifts the burden that has been weighing you down for years (Matt. 11:29-30).

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 1, 1999.
Copyright © 2011 by "Dial Daily Bread."

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