What were you thinking?
Days of Our Lives
But today is Peter's day. Like a classic competitor, Peter waits for the other disciples to give all the wrong answers.
Then he nails it on the first take. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. Of course our Lord probably should have stopped there, but he didn't. I find Jesus' excitement very understandable. After all this is chapter 16 of Matthew's Gospel.
It's about time that one of the disciples got something right! Matthew has recorded a lot of Jesus' teaching by now. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. You can almost see Peter visibly begin to swell up with all this high praise.
Start Confessing ‘Good Things’ About Yourself!
And that conviction has certainly been cause for a great deal of disunity in the Church of Jesus Christ! But Peter doesn't quite get it as will become painfully clear in verse Peter is not the rock.
Jesus is the rock, the cornerstone which the builders rejected. By himself, Peter will not be worthy to hold the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Peter will certainly not be wise enough or holy enough to forgive and withhold forgiveness on the basis of his own goodness. In short, Peter still doesn't get it, and he won't get it until sometime on Easter Sunday!
There can only be forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name if God's only Son, the Messiah, is crucified for the sins of the world. Jesus has to die in order to make the keys to the kingdom of heaven fit the lock. The answer may surprise you. He taught me how to pray. Those who really knew Lloyd-Jones will not find that answer surprising at all.
In particular, Lloyd-Jones, as a man of prayer, taught me how to pray in the Holy Spirit. My hunger for learning how to pray in the Spirit came from a perplexing problem. Lloyd-Jones served as a mentor for me in making this verse a living reality. He led me on a three-stage guided tour of discovery: 1 what it is not, 2 what it is, and 3 how it is done. First, he helped me see what praying in the Spirit means by contrasting it with its polar opposite: praying in the flesh. Prayer in the power of the flesh relies upon human ability and effort to carry the prayer forward. We all know what it is to feel deadness in prayer, difficulty in prayer, to be tongue-tied, with nothing to say, as it were, having to force ourselves to try.
Well, to the extent that is true of us, we are not praying in the Spirit. How do we overcome this difficulty in prayer? Praying in the flesh calls upon human ability and effort to push past the difficulty. If we are tongue-tied in prayer, we may try to overcome that difficulty with a stream of many words.
Jesus warned us against thinking we would be heard because we use many words Matthew If we struggle with wanting to give up after a short time in prayer, we may focus upon how long we pray. Success in prayer does not depend upon how much time we can log in prayer. Sometimes people try to overcome deadness in prayer by focusing on how well we can pray.
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We subtly trust in having perfectly composed, doctrinally correct prayers that rely upon the right diction, cadence, language, emotion, or volume. These attempts to push past the difficulty in the power of the flesh are attempts to imitate the liveliness that the Spirit gives in prayer.
The Spirit is a Spirit of life as well as truth, and the first thing that he always does is to make everything living and vital.
My Prayer for Today
And, of course, there is all the difference in the world between the life and the liveliness produced by the Spirit and the kind of artifact, the bright and breezy imitation, produced by people. Living Water , If praying in the flesh is the counterfeit or imitation of praying in the Spirit, what is the genuine article? The second part of the guided tour was discovering what praying in the Spirit is. Here is the key difference: in the flesh, we are pushing the prayers forward, while in the Spirit, we feel caught up in the way the Spirit carries the prayer forward.
Praying in the Spirit is experiencing the Spirit of life bringing prayer to life.
Praying in the Spirit means that the Spirit empowers the prayer and carries it to the Father in the name of Jesus. The prayer has a living quality characterized by warmth and freedom and a sense of exchange. The Spirit illuminates your mind, moves your heart, and grants a freedom of utterance and liberty of expression. Lloyd-Jones frequently used stark contrasts to make his point.
The Key of Life
He did not often go back and nuance the contrast between praying in the flesh and praying in the Spirit. He did not plot different degrees of experience; he simply posed sharp polarities to help us see the difference between the two.
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