It is far easier to offer up excuses for a lack of fruit than to admit we have not met the conditions, do not have the burden and put forth the effort required to have the fruit the Bible shows us we can have from our prayers, preaching and witnessing.
If someone were to pick up a Bible and read through it they would definitely expect to obtain the type of results the Bible says they can have. They would expect to see their prayers answered, souls converted, sick bodies healed, devils cast out, God’s kingdom advanced, His name magnified, and their society impacted.
Often however this does not happen and instead of putting the blame on ourselves where it belongs we conveniently offer excuses such as “not God’s will”, “people do not want the truth today”, “they do not believe”, etc.
The plain truth is usually sufficient effort is not put forth due to a lack of burden and a lack of desire and consequently there is a lack of Biblical fruit.
God always promises to fulfill godly desires based on His promises (Psalm 37:4, Psalm 145:19, Isaiah 44:3, Matthew 5:6, Mark 11:24).
These desires will be manifested in diligence, effort, sacrifice, and sacrifice put forth to obtain them.
God rewards those that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12).
And so, after he had patiently endured he obtained the promise (Hebrews 6:15). Patience means perseverance.
Our society has become so soft, flabby, and undisciplined we do not know much about diligence and discipline the way the Bible speaks of it and they way our spiritual forefathers did.
Jesus is the Son of God who never sinned and is our ultimate example. Even though He was God in the flesh and never sinned He still saw the need to fast forty days and forty nights and spend whole nights in prayer to accomplish the will of God in His life (Luke 4:1-18, Luke 6:12).
Jesus promised us we would do the works He did (John 14:12) and we have a record of men who did the works of Jesus in the book of Acts and history.
The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:12). God’s kingdom is advanced by the spiritual force and power that comes from those who stir themselves to take hold of God (Isaiah 64:7) until they obtain (Hosea 10:12, Isaiah 32:15) God’s power to get His work accomplished.
Jacob was a man of like passions as we are yet he laid hold on God, wrestled with Him all night in prayer, and would not let Him go until God blessed Him. As a result he prevailed with God and afterwards had power with God and with men (Genesis 32:24-32).
Jesus prayed with agony of desire (Luke 22:44), until He sweat blood and the Spirit of God longs for a willing available vessel to groan out the agonies and desires of God until His will is accomplished in the earth (Romans 8:26-27). Paul travailed in birth for men to be born into the kingdom and then again for Christ to be formed in them (Galatians 4:19).
Paul exhorts us to strive in our prayers (Romans 15:30), told us the grace of God within him labored more abundantly than all others (1 Corinthians 15:10), told us the Spirit of God within him strove mightily to bring men to perfection in Christ (Colossians 1:28-29), and Ephaphras labored fervently in prayers that men would stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Colossians 4:12).
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). His prayer was unceasing and fervent because he was burdened with desire for God’s will to be accomplished and it could only be accomplished by His power. Prayer was the only path to obtain it.
As soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children (Isaiah 66:8). Excuses abound as to why sinners are not converted and churches that preach truth remain empty but the above verse removes all the excuses. No burden, no agonizing, no concern, no travail and so no souls born into the kingdom.
Persistence overcomes resistance.
Cornelius prayed until his prayers came up as a memorial before God (Acts 10:4). There are vials in heaven full of odors which are the prayers of the saints (Revelation 5:8). When those vials get full they are poured out on the earth in answer to prayer. Most will not put forth effort to persevere in diligent prayer until they are filled up because they lack heart.
Our attitude is “I prayed, time passed, God did not answer, must not be God’s will”.
According to God we are to pray and not to faint or get faint hearted (Luke 18:1) thinking our prayers will not be answered and give up. Those who faint are not praying and those who persevere do not faint.
You fasted but fast again. You prayed all night but do it again. According to the Bible we must sow in tears if we expect to reap in joy (Psalm 126:5-6). Sacrifice, suffer, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ in order to obtain God’s promises, His power and advance His kingdom.
And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth (Luke 18:7-8)?
According to this parable the Bible faith the Lord Jesus Christ is looking for is the kind that cries mightily to God day and night and perseveres until it obtains the answer.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him: For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). God rewards those who diligently seek Him, taking whatever steps are necessary to put forth the effort to obtain the answer.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Galatians 6:9). Most give up, faint and quit before they ever reap anything.
“God and man unite for the task, the response of the divine being invariably in proportion to the desire and the effort of the human” (E.M. Bounds).
This lack of effort is perhaps most clearly manifested in the area of fasting and prayer.
Jesus told us all things are possible with God (Mark 10:27) but also told us all things are possible to those who believe (Mark 9:23). According to Jesus everything that is possible with God is possible to those who believe or have faith in God (Mark 11:22-24). The link between God’s omnipotent power and man’s impotence is faith in God.
Jesus made it plain that great faith in God comes from a life of prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:19-21). The disciples had cast out devils in the past but now came to a case they could not handle. They had not paid the price, met the conditions and put forth the effort necessary to lay hold on God in prayer and fasting.
And with GREAT POWER gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and GREAT GRACE was upon them all (Acts 4:33).
Notice the apostles had great power and great grace. They could have had little, some, more or great depending upon their desire, their burden, their asking and their effort.
Great asking, great need, great burden, great desire, and great effort result in great obtaining of (Luke 11:13, Hebrews 4:16, Psalm 35:13).
God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6) and David said he humbled his soul with fasting (Psalm 35:13). More seeing the need, realizing the lack will lead to more asking, beseeching, petitioning, supplicating, fasting, crying out to God for more grace and more power to accomplish the will of God.
Daniel saw what God had promised according to the calendar but did not see the promise coming to pass. He set himself to fast and pray and persevered until the answer came (Daniel 10). Elijah did not send his servant one time, get discouraged and quit but persevered with his face between his knees in prayer until the answer came after the seventh time (1 Kings 18).
King Joash was rebuked by God and Elisha for his lack of effort and slothfulness and as a result his enemies were not destroyed (2 Kings 13).
Souls are in bondage, darkness and pain spiritually and physically because Christians have not put forth the effort and sacrifice necessary to obtain the grace and power necessary to liberate them (Matthew 4:16, Isaiah 60:1-2, Acts 26:18). Will you?