This classic sermon from Dr. Adrian Rogers should be mandatory for any discipleship 101 relationship. Listen in and then come on back to this blog for the rest of the story.
Click Here to Listen
The Scriptures he quoted are tough to take and he admits that. Read them again and then we will ponder a few more questions.
We have talked about this subject a lot in this blog. Dr. Rogers examined the typical response of human nature when presented with these verses, "But my prayer is so beautiful...." He uses generic sarcasm to point out that the flesh can get in the way of our prayers. Proverbs 15:29 describes our flesh with a harsh term - wicked.
Human nature again steps in and violently denies the label, "No not me!" Or we would rather soften it a little with more seeker sensitive wording. But we cannot escape the fact that God calls us (in the flesh) wicked. Yes, Christians who walk in the flesh can be downright wicked. Evil. As Dr. Rogers points out again with no holding back, Christians in the flesh can be servants of the devil. He asks, "So why should I pray for you to be healed just so you can go on serving the devil?"
Ouch. What do we do with that? Allow the Word of God by the dagger of the Holy Spirit to do its Hebrews 4:12 work. It is a good thing from the goodness of God. Fight the urge to deny and see your flesh as God does, or allow Him to show you.
Even though we are saved, God did not do anything to our flesh. It is still the same as it was before Jesus saved us from our sins. It is still completely capable of wickedness, evil, and sin. The point Dr. Rogers (and I) want to get across is for us to recognize and admit the utter depravity of the flesh and its consequences. It's solution is simple - walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
Rather than delve into just how wicked we can be, better I think it is to realize the consequences instead. It is enough that God will not hear our prayers. That means more than communication is shut off. It means that our "one" relationship with Him is also compromised (John 17:23). It feels almost like we are not saved. It feels just like we are wicked sinners again. The conscience feeling is correct. Don't ignore it. Instead, allow God to take it to its necessary conclusion - death.
I go back to what I have shared many times on this blog - die to self and sin (Romans 6:11). The victory over the flesh was enabled at the cross and it is our responsibility to do it - reckon yourself dead; I am crucified with Christ. Life in God only arises through death to the wicked flesh. If we let the flesh have its way, then I agree with Dr. Rogers. Why pray for things that will ultimately bring dishonor to God's name?
Pastor Rogers' next series on the Six Keys to Answered Prayer is an excellent follow-up. I encourage you to listen to that message as well. It's playing today here.