“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? Matthew 7:7-10 (NIV).
A few weeks ago, as I was studying and preparing for a message based on this particular teaching from Jesus in Matthew 7, I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to me that I needed to pause for a moment and allow Him to reveal something to me that I hadn’t previously considered. (Don’t you just love it when He does that!)
At first glance, I had already assumed that He wanted me to talk about our need for PERSISTENCE in our prayer lives, for when Jesus said ask, seek, and knock He used the present tense, which indicates continuous, persistent prayer. In other words, He was saying, Ask and keep on asking; seek and keep on seeking; and knock and keep on knocking…” I mean, come on, this has persistence written all over it, right? Well, while this is an obvious understanding of this particular teaching, I quickly came to realize that there was more than I had anticipated.
Suddenly, it dawned on me that persistence was merely the secondary truth being communicated here; the primary truth leaped out at me from v. 11 where Jesus said, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
The focal point of Jesus’ teaching here really isn’t about how grand our prayer life is (our asking, seeking, and knocking) but about how good our heavenly Father is!
Here’s a truth you can hold onto…
THE GOD WHO CONCEIVED YOU AND I IN LOVE WILL ALSO COVER US WITH HIS AMAZING GRACE!
Psalm 84:11 says, “He gives [which means we cannot earn nor gain through human effort] us grace [favor] and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. (NLT)
He gives us good things, but also protects us by not giving us some things we may ask for. For example, if my son, Andrew (who is 9 years old) came up to me after church one day and asked for the keys to the van so he could drive us home, what do you think I’m going to say? If I say no, am I being a bad or unreasonable father? Of course not! In actuality I’m being a responsible and caring father!
HOWEVER… if Andrew somehow got the keys to our van and drove off and got in an accident, that would be called disobedience, which would very likely lead to his and possibly other’s harm.
Here’s the deal… Your heavenly Father is not only good (full of mercy and grace); He is also responsible, and will never provide something that will cause you harm! In fact, He will cover those who follow Him with grace.
“Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor [grace] as with a shield” (Psalm 5:12, NIV).
Take comfort in knowing that you serve a good heavenly Father that is gracious and kind toward you and who loves to provide everything that you have need of… yes, even when you don’t deserve it. After all, when have you ever deserved anything good from God? Isn’t that the very essence of GRACE?