It is important to be earnest which means having a deep sincerity in the pursuit of a noble goal or purpose.
The Apostle Paul, James the brother of Jesus and the prophet Elijah wrote about being earnest in different aspects of spiritual life. They wrote about being earnest in their prayer life, in their desires and in their seeking the excellent gift called the love of God.
According to the Word of God, if we are to get God’s attention, it is important to pray earnestly.
We should pray earnestly because there are rewards. In James, God answered Elijah’s earnest prayer.
[I Kings 17:1; James 5: 17-18].
The result of his earnest prayer was that it did not rain for three and a half years. Was Elijah supernatural? No, he was a man like we all are.
His prayers controlled the weather, the sky and cloud formation for three and a half years. This is a personal challenge to all of us.
“The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and produces wonderful results”
[James 5: 13 -18]
Isaiah the prophet, spoke of his great distress which led him to 'earnestly' seek the Lord with his spirit. He was in a desperate state of ‘soul yearning’ for God.
Paul wrote in his letter to the Hebrews [11:6] that if we earnestly seek God in faith He rewards us. In this letter the element of faith is introduced as the pre-eminent ingredient to reaching the heart of God. Faith in God means that we must believe, without doubting, that He exists and that He rewards earnest seekers. “Without faith it is impossible to please God”.
It is necessary that we be earnest and zealously desire these ‘greatest and best gifts and graces’ that Paul described in his first letter to the Corinthians [ch.11 – 13]
These best gifts are many. They are ‘the power to express messages of wisdom, the power to express knowledge and understanding, wonder working faith, perform healings, working miracles, prophetic insight, discernment, speaking in tongues, and the ability to interpret tongues'. “.. all these gifts are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same Holy Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually” [1 Corinthians 12:11].
We must desire those gifts earnestly.
However we are admonished by Paul to eagerly pursue an even greater gift. It is called love.[1 Cor. 13 - 14 ]
Love is “a more excellent way – one that is by far the highest gift of them all; the greatest of all gifts”. Without this God inspired love in us we would just be people making loud noises or more aptly useless nobodies making loud empty noises. [1 Cor. 12]
In conclusion, we are to ‘pray earnestly in faith’, we are to ‘earnestly pursue God’ and ‘earnestly seek to acquire His love’ which we would then use to love others.
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