7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Matthew 7 includes both words of judgment and words of encouragement. Jesus condemns the religious leaders of his time for their hard-hearted response to him. He encourages his followers to instead ask and receive; seek and find; knock and the door will be opened.
This is certainly not a blank-check request, contrary to the teachings of those who promote a prosperity gospel message. Other places in Matthew (and elsewhere in the Bible) make clear that following Jesus is costly; it is not a money-making scheme. But we are told Jesus hears our requests and answers favorably according to his will.
This same sermon by Jesus that tells us how to pray also tells us what to expect when we pray. Jesus does not tell us to jump through hoops or “get yourself together” before he responds. He simply says to ask.
Elsewhere in the Bible (by James) we read that we do not have because we do not ask. When we do ask, we do not receive because we ask with selfish motives. But Jesus answers the prayers of those who pray according to his will, seeking his glory rather than their own. There is much to be learned here, vastly more than can be expressed in one blog post, but the summary is this: Jesus said he will answer if we ask.
Are you asking? If not, why not start now? Let me know how God answers you today.
OTHER NOTES: Yes, as mentioned yesterday, I am now into Mark’s gospel, over ten percent of the way through the New Testament’s 260 chapters. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep up this pace, but it’s encouraging to hear from many of you along the way expressing your kind words at my attempt to draw attention to God’s Word by writing it out word-by-word. The stack of pages is growing!
I’d also like to thank Patheos.com for partnering with me on this journey. As of yesterday, they have begun featuring this “Holy Writ” blog on their main page. Since Patheos is one of the top spiritual sites on the Internet, this is a tremendous blessing to me. I continue to express my appreciation to the team at Patheos for their efforts.
More of you are starting to share these posts on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you! I would encourage you to continue to do so. You can also leave comments on the blog itself. These allow others outside of your Facebook world to see your thought and is a big encouragement to me.
Finally, if you know of anyone else who has recently handwritten the Bible or in the process of doing so, please let me know. I’m looking for other modern examples of this practice, but have only found one or two so far. I’m sure someone else out there is doing this and would love to know about it.
Thanks for enjoying the journey together!
Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.