As followers of Christ, we are to take God at his word and accept as true what he says about us. This means our ‘old man’ represents someone who still seeks to be seen as right before God because of his own works. Such a man’s conscience continually brings him under guilt, but instead of repenting, he pledges to overcome his sin problem himself. “I’m going to change! I’ll start fighting my besetting sin today, no matter what the cost. I want God to see how hard I’m trying.”
Contrary to much of modern-day theology, God never promised us a life without trials and suffering, but rather one in which we would be refined and carefully molded into His image. He never intended for us to settle for the narrow life of living solely for ourselves with affections set on the things of this world, but rather to live with hands outstretched and hearts touched by the infirmities of others.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
I am writing to you today about God opening shut doors. Someone reading this message will relate immediately to this, because you face one or more closed doors. There it is, right in your face, a door that seems to be continually locked. It could be a serious financial situation, and you’ve prayed for the door of some opportunity to open. Yet everything you try seems to fail; the doors simply don’t open.
In the gospels, Jesus told his disciples, “…on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity…men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26, NKJV). Christ’s warning to them and us is “Without hope in me, multitudes of people are literally going to die of fright!”
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
When God tells us to come to his throne boldly, with confidence, it is not a suggestion. It’s his preference, and it is to be heeded. So, where do we obtain this boldness, this access-with-confidence, for prayer?
The Bible tells us that the Lord is no respecter of persons. And because he doesn’t show favoritism—because his promises never change from generation to generation—we can ask him to show us the same mercies he has shown his people through history. Even King Manasseh who sinned worse than any king before him yet when he repented, was restored (see 2 Chronicles 33:1-20).
God has given us an ironclad promise for life on this earth. He says that when our enemy attempts to walk over us, “Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore they shall know in that day that I am He who speaks: ‘Behold, it is I’” (Isaiah 52:6). In other words, God says, “When you’re in your darkest trial, I will come and speak a word to you. You’ll hear me say, ‘It is I, Jesus, your Savior. Don’t be afraid.’”
The Israelites groaned under the burden of slavery and their cries for help rose to their Father in heaven. God’s response to them should build our faith and increase our confidence in him: “God heard their groaning, and he remembered” (Exodus 2:24). The word “remembered” here means God was about to bring the reality of his promises to the forefront of their lives and his desires for them were going to become manifest. “He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act” (2:25). Even though Israel was in bondage, God’s promised realities were within their reach.