Asking Rightly

[Jesus said,]“Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened. Or who is there among you, who, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, who will give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”       Matthew 7:7-12 (WEB, my emphasis)

You lust, and don’t have. You kill, covet, and can’t obtain. You fight and make war. You don’t have, because you don’t ask. You ask, and don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it for your pleasures.       James 4:2-3 (WEB, my emphasis)

It is interesting to me that the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is perceived to be such a “happy”, “feel good” passage of Scripture. Frankly, reading it doesn’t make me “feel good” until I bow in repentance. Jesus does encourage me but with the same words I am encouraged, I am also convicted of my sins.

There is so much that Jesus is telling us that flips the viewfinder of our world. A disciple of Jesus is a follower of His example. It is living my life and making decisions with God’s Kingdom as my first priority, not what I have for me. If in my prayers I ask and ask and ask God and receive no answer, my first response is to check if what I am asking lines up with His desire and plan for my life. How will I know that? Prayer, study of His Word, and checking with my accountability partners will reap wisdom.

Seeking God in every part of my life is the best beginning. But that beginning will mean nothing if I limit His plans and answers to only those that I find acceptable. It is a trust issue. Do I trust God that what He has planned is best? Do I trust God even when I cannot see His plan? The more time I spend with Him the more I know Him. The more I see His way in my life the more my testimony about Him grows along with trust.

No good parent gives a child everything he/she asks. A good parent may say “No” to their child and an explanation is not always understandable. Whether we are 5 or 50 we do not like to be told “No”. We understand the reasoning as a giver of the “No” but not so much as a receiver.

The apostle James clears up our questions that come after we have read this passage in Matthew. When we wonder why God did not answer our knock or seemed to have left on vacation when we called out to Him, James reminds us to check if our request lines up with what He desires for our life. Are we living our lives in obedience to His plan?

Jesus said that I am to seek His Kingdom first and everything else in my life He will handle (Matthew 6:33). I trust Jesus with my life and He faithfully cares.

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