“Well, I think God answers prayers all the same. Just because you’re an honorable person doesn’t mean you’re better than people who are not honorable,” says Nick, 9.
Nick has fired the first volley in one of the most hotly debated questions ever asked in this column. Before we hear from the other side, let’s hear from Nick’s defense team.
“God loves everybody the same. God answers prayers from the heart, not from how honorable you are,” says John, 9. “God would not be unfair like that,” adds Weston, 10, suggesting that God’s very integrity is at stake if he doesn’t answer everyone’s prayers.
Rachel, 9, sums up Nick’s side by saying, “God will answer your prayers, no matter what kind of person you are.”
Nick’s team presents a powerful case, but like so many arguments, they sound good until you hear the other side.
“I don’t think God would bless someone who wouldn’t be honorable to him,” says Joseph, 9. “The Bible tells us that by living an honorable life here on Earth and following God’s works and words, we store up many treasures in heaven.”
Joseph, do you mean there’s more than just going to heaven? Are you saying there will be distinctions in heaven? Would God do that? You bet!
Could it be like sitting in box seats with all the amenities at the seventh game of the World Series versus the bleachers? Everyone is happy to be at the big game, but what a difference box seats make! It’s hot dogs in the bleachers versus grilled salmon in the skybox. And, it’s not just for one game. It’s forever.
Heaven is a kingdom, not a democracy. Some will arrive in style with heavenly rewards, and others … well, they’ll just be glad to be there.
“If you are honorable to God, then he knows that you trust him,” says Joanna, 11. “God will be able to trust you, too, when you honor him.”
Bravo, Joanna! If you honor God, you will be an honorable person. Our attitude toward God determines how we treat other people. Our attitude toward God also determines whether he trusts us. Why would God give more territory or greater responsibility to someone he doesn’t trust?
You see, God’s love and justice don’t compete against each other. Yes, God loves everyone, and he proved it by sending his son to die on the cross for our sins. But just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean God is obligated to grant all your requests. God is merciful to deny prayer requests from impure motives.
Are parents unjust when they deny their children’s requests? Would any child survive if every whim were granted?
Abraham was known as the “friend of God.” Jesus told his disciples that they were no longer servants, but friends. It’s a privilege to walk in the light of God’s glory and to honor him by walking in paths of righteousness.
“God commands us in his word to be filled with the Holy Spirit,” says Dianna, 10. “God promises that he will forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness if we confess and repent of our sins.”
Think about this: There’s no honor in living a self-centered life. It’s so common and boring. Being filled with the Holy Spirit means being controlled by God’s indwelling presence. God wants to bring us into a larger place. It’s a kingdom where honor, righteousness and love reign supreme in his son.
Memorize this truth: “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor you will surround him as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12).
Ask this question: Will you live a small self-centered life or a big life that honors God?
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Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
COPYRIGHT 2006 CAREY KINSOLVING