Reading Time: 4 minutes
“If you see a believer commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray to God, who will give that person life. This applies to those whose sins do not lead to death. But there is sin which leads to death, and I do not say that you should pray to God about that.” (1 John 5:16, GW)
If we don’t pay close attention to how the Holy Spirit works in us personally, then we will become spiritual hypocrites. We will tend to see where other people are failing, and we will turn our insight into painful, back-stabbing, criticism, rather than rendering our insight into someone else’s failings, into Spirit-filled intercession on the person’s behalf.
In Scripture, it appears how that the revelation of someone else’s failings, is not ever made to us through any supposed acuteness of our own minds, but by the direct penetration of The Spirit of God, and in a very personal way. If we are not heedful of the source of the said revelation, we will sadly turn ourselves into criticizing, complaining Christians. Then we will forget how God says:
“you will ask, and you will give them life for them that sin not unto death.” (1 John 5:16)
Especially today, in these crazy times we live in, we must take care lest we play the part of the spiritual hypocrite, by spending all, or most of our time, inside our head, or verbally, or by our actions, trying to set some other person right, even if just in our minds; before we worship God ourselves, through sincere, intercessory prayer for that person.
One of the subtlest burdens God ever puts onto Christians is this burden of discernment concerning other people’s souls. Jesus reveals things to us, or He permits them to be shown us some other way, only in order that we may lift the burden of these dear souls for whom Jesus also died, before God’s throne, and there, form the mind of Christ about that person. The goal of intercessory prayer is that we form the mind of Christ about the person.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Phil 2:4,5).
As we intercede on God’s direct line for a person who we have spotted making a mistake, God affirms that he will give us “life for them which sin not unto death.” (1 John 5:16) It is never that we bring God into touch with our minds; but simply that we open ourselves to God’s Voice, until God is able to convey His mind to us, about the person or persons for whom we are interceding:
Many people—even Christians—live only to make a good impression on others or to please themselves. But selfishness brings discord. Paul therefore stressed spiritual unity, asking the Philippians to love one another and to be one in spirit and purpose. When we work together, caring for the problems of others as if they were our problems, we demonstrate Christ’s example of putting others first, and we experience unity. Don’t be so concerned about making a good impression or meeting your own needs that many of us strain relationships in God’s family.
IS Jesus now seeing the exertions of His own Soul in us?How can Jesus ever see this, unless we are so identified with Jesus, that we are divinely convicted by His Holy Spirit, to have His view, about the ones we are divinely inspired to pray for?
When Israel murmured against God and against Moses because they could get no water, they accused him of leading them out to kill them and their children. God heard their murmurings and bade Moses speak to the rock, that the people might have water. Moses smote the rock in wrath and took the glory to himself. The continual waywardness and murmuring of the children of Israel had caused him the keenest sorrow, and for a little time he forgot how much the Lord had borne with them, and that their murmuring was not against him, but against God. He thought only of himself, how deeply he was wronged, and how little gratitude they manifested in return for his deep love for them. Moses did not have the mind of Christ about these people.
It is often God’s plan to bring His people into strait places, and then in their necessity to deliver them by His power, that they might realize His love and care for them, and thus be led to serve and honour Him. And then, to hopefully have the mind of God about others. But Moses had failed to honour God and magnify His name before the people that they might glorify Him. In this he brought upon himself the Lord’s displeasure, even though he was right in saying those people were wrong too. Two wrongs never make a right in the eyes of the Lord.
This thanksgiving, may we Christians remember to have gratitude for the things Jesus has shown us that make His image of the people which are in our path, in our daily lives, a part of our minds and of our image of that person, so that Jesus will be abundantly satisfied with us as intercessors.