Re-post. I guess this is around the time when I started taking sermon notes. Watch for the “so what” or “punchline” quote at the end!
The other Sunday, we were looking at Matthew 7:7-11, but what caught my attention most, were verses 7 and 8.
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (NLT)
Ask, seek, and knock. Or take it a step further, keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking. Ask, seek and knock, continuously.
Bear in mind, it’s very very very easy to take this out of context. This isn’t a get whatever you ask for. God’s not a vending machine, he’s not some infinitely filled bank vault for you to just take whatever you want upon request. We have to remember, that this is Jesus’ sermon on the mount. He’s not talking about asking for worldly possessions, he’s not talking about the materialistic. What does he care about materialistic things, things of the world? He can’t take it to heaven, and it will eventually disappear on Earth. No he’s talking about non-materialistic things. The things that you can’t buy or touch or steal, like growing more in him, like learning to be more like him, like learning to be wise, etc.
Also, it’s asking, not demanding. When you ask for something, it has a certain humility. You know, you ask a friend, or ask a teacher, ask a colleague. Ok, sure. We ask God for love, for happiness, for wisdom, for trials and tests even, and God delivers. Great.
But we must go further: seek. Seeking requires effort. We have to go looking for the answers. Just like in any school setting… you can ask the question, and the teacher will give you what you need, no problem. But then, you have to seek the answer with what you’ve been given. In the same way, God will open doors for you, give you plenty of opportunities for you to do what you asked him for, but you have to put in that effort and actually do it, and walk through that door. Seek, and you will find.
But we must go deeper still! Knock. Persistence and perseverance is key here. So we ask God for something, then we put in the effort to go after it, but now we need to persist, to keep it around because the world will do anything in its power to take it, snatch it away from you. So, knocking on God’s door. What good will that do? Well, the more you knock, the more it shows that you really really want this. Besides, when someone is knocking on your door, over and over and over again, even though you really don’t feel like getting the door, you get up and open it to stop that knocking. Now, that’s not saying that God will open the door only because he wants us to stop, no. It says right up there, that if we knock, the door will be opened to us. Why? Because God wants to see us, and he wants to see us succeed.
So, not just when you’re in trouble, but continuously ask, and it will be given to you, continuously seek and put that effort and you will find, and continuously knock and persist, and the door will be opened to you.
Rev. Joe shared with us this last quote that kinda sums up this whole thing up; the bottom line:
The value of persistence in prayer is not so that God will hear us, but that we would hear Him. -William McGill