What if Praying for More Isn’t the Answer

Key Verse: “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:15, ESV)

More of you Jesus, I want more of you. Have you prayed it? I have. Out of a longing to know Christ more, to be with him and near him and breathe his presence into the depth of my soul, I’ve earnestly asked Jesus for more.

More of him in my life. More of him in my soul. More of him in my heart and mind – penetrating my hard to reach spaces. My anxious spaces. My hurt spaces. My unsatisfied spaces.

But what if it’s not a matter of more but a matter of less.

Less of me. Less of sin. Less of filling my heart with the things of this world so there’s still room for Him.

Because the truth of the matter is, at the point of salvation we are not given a partial filling of Christ, as though I need more of him poured into my soul. We’re given a full one. 1 John 4:15 states, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

Not a little bit of God. Not a small portion of who he is. Not just enough to get us through until heaven. But all of God – in all of us. The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead in us (Rom. 8:11).  So we can know he is with us and for us and walking right there beside us.

“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” (1 John 4:13)

All of it.

Yet we walk in doubt. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)

Not because Jesus withheld some of it or forgot to give us a portion of himself but because we’ve left no room. Unawares perhaps, we push him aside for other things. Like when I’d rather sit and be mad than figure out a way to be God honoring through it.

Or when I hang out with envy and pride, and then discontentment shows up. And I’m completely stumped as to why Jesus didn’t come to the party.

Where did you go Lord? I need you. I need you right now to show up and be here. Yet I’m unwilling to give him any part of my day.

Give me the world and give me Jesus – this is the mantra we live by. But James reminds us, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

But in all honesty it’s not that verse that got me; it’s the next one – “Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us?”

His spirit. The very spirit of God choked, smothered, pushed back, one selfish decision after another. Stuffed underneath layers of calloused arrogance and self-righteous preoccupations, while we pray: More of you Jesus, More of you.

I get it now….

Exchange worship of self for worship of Him, and you will have more of Jesus.
Exchange time in front of the tv with time for him, and you will have more of Jesus.  
Exchange that which is dirty, and dark, and wrong, for that which is true, and noble, and right, and pure, and you will have more of Jesus.
Exchange the works of the flesh for the fruit of the spirit, and you will have more of Jesus.
Exchange sinful habits for holy ones, and you will have more of Jesus.
Exchange religion for a relationship, and you will have more of Jesus.
Exchange a prayer time for a praying life, and you will have more of Jesus.
Exchange the ways of the world for the ways of God, and you will have more of Jesus.
Exchange a love of money for a love of God, and you will have more of Jesus.
Exchange envy for contentment, and you will have more of Jesus.
Exchange my will for His will, and you will have more of Jesus.
Exchange pride for humility, and you will have more of Jesus.
Exchange bitterness for forgiveness, and you will have more of Jesus.
Exchange the heart of a master for that of a servant, and you will have more of Jesus.

We’ve already been brought near to God by the blood of the Messiah (Ephesians 2:13) There’s no reason to ask him to do it more. But there is every reason to ask him to make us less.

Less of me means more of Jesus. And more of Jesus means less of me. In the words of John the Baptist. If we want more of Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

Thy will be done Lord. Thy will be done. In Jesus name, Amen.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What exchange do you need to make today to have more of Jesus?
In what area of your life does Christ yearn jealously over your spirit?

More Encouragement:
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8a

6 thoughts on “What if Praying for More Isn’t the Answer

  1. Sweet sister in Christ, thank you so much for these words this morning. They are energy for a weary soul, so worn down by my own sin and confused about how to please my Savior. Your post is giving me encouragement this morning. Bless you

  2. Just found through P31. Reading through your devos and read this one and love it. I think you and I will be friends in heaven 😉 ! Less is more. I love that. I have all ready been given the full measure of salvation…I simply need to let God do His thing through me. I’ve got all of Christ already, I need to put away all the other childish/ temporal things so I can see it (and so others can see Him in me). What a profound realization as I have to tell a patient in 30 minutes that her cancer has spread. I pray for the full measure of God’s grace and mercy and peace as I speak with her, both on her and on me. I pray his complete clarity and wisdom as we search next steps. Thanks for clarity on this hard-to-see, foggy Austin TX morning.

    • Oh goodness Melanie! I will be praying for you!! I cannot imagine having to share that kind of news. And how about you we be friends now instead 😉 Go get em girl. The Lord has gone before you today.

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