From the moment both of our girls were born, I wanted them to be able to communicate their need. It wasn’t enough for me to know that Sarah’s body would produce the right amount of milk for their appetite. It wasn’t enough for them to feel the comfort they had in the womb by being wrapped tightly in a blanket. It wasn’t enough that their immune system would fight off the germs they would be exposed to or that the stripe on their diaper would change color when it was time for a change.
I wanted MORE for my girls. Even when they were in the womb I prayed over them that they would know this blessing of more.
This weekend we conclude our series with a promise that holds the biggest punch so far. I think it is the promise that all of the other promises we have to look at points to. It’s found in Matthew Chapter 7, Verse 7.
As Jesus was delivering amazing insight into the meaning of giving to the needy, forgiving others, putting aside worry, even a lesson on prayer…. Jesus describes this blessing of “more”, the same blessing I have been praying for my children since they were conceived, and He gives us this promise: Matthew Chapter 7, verse 7: “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)(NIV)
I can see the people leaning in as Jesus tells them this on that hillside. What Jesus is promising is far more than a wish list of temporal things. It’s a radical transformation in how we think and how we live. He is telling us there is more insight, more understanding, more blessing, more life for the having… And three things unlock this: He says - “Ask”, “Seek”, and “Knock”.
Here are three truths we are going to mine together this weekend:
I do not have because I do not ASK God.
James chapter 4 verse 1 gives us this insight into Jesus teaching when he writes: “What causes fights and quarrels among you (and within you)? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.” (James 1:1-2) (NIV)
I’m one who believes that God often does give us what we ask for, but I wish He wouldn’t because we ask out of an often very poor perspective. We either ask out of desperation, self-interest, or a lack of understanding what is most important at the moment….. Fortunately, even when we do, God is patient with us and gives us more. But is there a right way to ask?
James continues with this insight in verse 7: “Submit yourselves to God. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.” (James 4:7-10)(NIV)
Recognize who He is and decide today who you will serve – him or yourself, but don’t be double minded. Admit your condition of filling yourself with what the rest of the world has and humble yourself before Him and he will do the lifting.
Here is the second: The blessing of more is found only as I SEEK to join God in what He is doing.
Jesus wants to live in us. He wants our ways to be his ways. He wants us to find that He is at work in every situation, every circumstance, every need and there is more in store for us than what we see on the surface. But we must seek him out… The Psalmist wrote: “The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:10)(NIV) “Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart” (Psalm 105:4)
God is not selfish, begrudging, or stingy. He gives us what we need, what is best. His followers don't have to beg or grovel when they come with their requests. He is a loving Father who understands, cares, comforts, and willingly gives good things to those who ask him.
Jesus says, Ask and it will be given. Seek and you will find. And then he concludes the promise with “Knock and the Door will be opened to you.”
KNOCK boldly knowing that what is on the other side of the door is good.
To “knock” paints the word picture that “who and what” is on the other side of the door is something or someone that we want and we want it enough that we will go to the door and knock until someone opens it.
As you and I ask the difficult questions and seek to understand the heart of God, to know His Character, we will find ourselves more boldly knocking on His door, more boldly walking through life’s situations willing to forgive, be humble, make peace, feel hurt and pain, show mercy, all the attitudes that Jesus taught in his sermon on the mount, but most importantly lived before us while walking in our shoes.
One of the things I wanted most for my youngest when she was an infant, was I wanted her to be able to speak her basic needs. I wanted more for her than for me to know she was hungry – I wanted to know what she was hungry for. I wanted more than to know she was thirsty, I wanted her to be able to ask for a drink anytime she wanted it. When that day finally came and she began, first with sign language – the first word we taught her is “more”. Then when the words began to form, I was thrilled. I’m still thrilled to hear her speak her thoughts and needs. But now that she is getting older, what I want most for her today is to know WHO to ask, who to seek, and to whom she can go with anything. And there is only one who can give her more than me and that is her Father in Heaven.
His promise to us? Ask, seek and knock and you will receive far more than you can hope or imagine.
I look forward to seeing you this weekend. Dave