As we stand on the cusp of a New Year, what are you asking God to give you?
Matthew 7 verses 7 to 11 are amongst the most comforting verses in all of Scripture. And what makes them even more encouraging is that the one who makes the promise is the Son of God who has been given all authority.
We all face uncertainty in the year ahead, but we can face it with certainty in the promise of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus does not promise to remove our hardships and difficulties, he said so in John 16:33. But he always promises to sustain us and provide for us through the challenges.
In the early years of our marriage, Debbie and I prayed fervently for God to give us children. He didn’t give us the answer in the way we wanted. But looking back now, we are so grateful that God has given us far more than we could ever imagine in our two children.
What are you asking God for today that might not be in His perfect plan for your life? Will you have the faith to trust Him with the better gift that He has in store for you?
When we read Matthew 5,6 and 7, we are confronted by the incredibly high standard for Christian living that Jesus presents. In fact, the standard that Jesus lifts up in the sermon on the Mount, is so high it is impossible to keep without the help and grace of God.
And this is exactly what Jesus offers beginning in verse 7. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Think about this promise from Jesus in the light of living the Christian life.
This passage offers us three conditions to receiving this promise from Jesus.
Firstly, we need to recognize our need.
The fact is that we are born in sin. We are all separated from a relationship with our Creator. We all have the same desperate need, the need to be in a right relationship with God.
The Good News is that we can be reconciled to God through the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross. However, to be a Christian is not a onetime event causing us to be perfect for the rest of our lives. We all live imperfect lives, subject to failure.
We are saved when we make Jesus Lord of our lives, but the process of sanctification takes the rest of our lives as God, by His mercy, renews us into the image of His son.
The Greek verbs that Jesus used in Matthew 7:7 are in the present active tense. Jesus is saying, keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. There is a daily persistence in prayer, asking the Lord to help us. In fact, the Greek verb conveys urgency. This is an urgent asking, seeking, and knocking, desperate for Jesus to help us.
It’s the New Year and always a time when people make resolutions and lifestyle commitments. Many believers make commitments to pray more, read their bibles more and share the Gospel more regularly. But as we all know all too well, many New Years resolutions fade and are soon forgotten. The reason is that we don’t keep on asking for God to help us, we aren’t persistent in our cry to God for His strength to help us grow in our Christian lives (see Philippians 3:13-14).
If we were honest, this is where we struggle the most. We don’t have the persistence and the endurance. We need help.
Secondly, we see in this passage is that God is our Father.
In verse 11 Jesus said, “If you then, who are 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!”
We can get so familiar with our Christian terminology that we can easily miss how crucial this is for us. To say we believe that God is our Heavenly Father is one thing, but is it something we are conscious of on a daily/ hourly basis? Do we really get it?
What a privilege it is that we can come to the throne of God in prayer. We get invited to call on God as Father (see James 1:17).
But not everyone has the privilege to call God Father. The incredible privilege is only available to those who know Jesus Christ as Lord (see John 1:11-12).
Once we become His children, we receive all the benefits of being adopted sons and daughters. He watches over us and gives us good and perfect gifts. Your Heavenly Father is eager to bless you.
God will never give you anything that is evil, but just because God will never give us anything evil, it doesn’t mean that we will never experience anything unpleasant. There is still suffering and evil in the world.
Thirdly, God never makes a mistake.
Matthew 7:8 says, “…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him.” How much More! This is the overarching theme of the Bible; God is generous towards His children and he blesses them beyond their expectations.
But what is the best gift God can give us?
Solomon was offered anything he wanted, and he chose wisdom. But there is still a better gift.
Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount gives us the answer in Luke 11:13, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
In giving us the Holy Spirit, God gives us His very presence and we receive spiritual gifts. We receive everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).
The need for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is an ongoing need. Daily we are invited to ask the Father to be filled with the Spirit as we see in Ephesians 5:18. Daily asking the Father for a renewing, a fresh filling, to live the Christian life to the glory of God.
What are you asking for?
Are you asking for a fresh touch from God today?
Are you desperate for more of His presence in your life? (See Matthew 6:33).