“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus replied to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’ The whole Law and the [writings of the] Prophets depend on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 (AMP)
As many around the world begin their 2017 New Year resolutions to conquer, some will never meet their goals. I myself don’t like making resolutions, just self-examination of myself to see if my prior commitments were met. Without being hard on myself, through prayer I repent for those things that have not changed and praise God for the things that have changed. I will than ask God what needs to change and how He desires to use me for the coming year. Not resolutions, but commitments.
Matthew 22:36-40 is the scripture that not only we should know, but understand and hold fast too. In this chapter, Jesus sums up our walk with Him. I have learned that in my life as well as others that unforgiveness will keep our prayers from being answered. The enemy knows exactly how to keep us in bondage and keep us from living a life of freedom. When Jesus was dying on the cross, He cried out to His Father and said, “forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”. When we do not forgive others, we reject the forgiveness that was given to us on the cross. The grace that was released by the Father through the Son is an example how we are to treat others who hurt and wrong us.
My prayer is that when you go into the new year, don’t allow any unforgiveness to rob you from receiving God’s best. As believers we like to receive the blessings of God. We also seek to walk in the authority He has given us. However if you hold anything against anyone you will only hurt yourself.
Mark 11 speaks to us (AMP);
20 In the morning, as they were passing by, the disciples saw that the fig tree had withered away from the roots up. 21 And remembering, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi (Master), look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered!” 22 Jesus replied, “Have faith in God [constantly]. 23 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea!’ and does not doubt in his heart [in God’s unlimited power], but believes that what he says is going to take place, it will be done for him [in accordance with God’s will]. 24 For this reason I am telling you, whatever things you ask for in prayer [in accordance with God’s will], believe [with confident trust] that you have received them, and they will be given to you.
In Mark 11:23, Jesus used this moment to emphasize to the disciples that a person’s confident, abiding faith, combined with God’s power can produce absolutely amazing results, if the request is in harmony with God’s will. God is fully capable of doing that which man regards as impossible.
However verses 25 and 26 drive the point home why many of our prayers are not answered.
25 Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him [drop the issue, let it go], so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions and wrongdoings [against Him and others]. 26[“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.”]
Matthew 6:15 (AMP); But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.
If you are a person who likes making resolutions or are committed to make any changes in your life for the coming year, I pray that you make forgiving others your first priority. God loves you and wants the best for your life.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Efrain Cardona is an Elder and ordained licensed minister at Abundant Grace Christian Church in Rutherford NJ. Serves as the leader for the church’s Men’s Ministry, anointed to operate in various spiritual gifts; teach the word of God, prayer intercessor, and unique discernment in the prophetic.