There are two similar passages found in Matthew 7 and Luke 11. They both instruct followers of Christ to, “ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” These words have brought both encouragement and dismay. I have listened to the tales of woe from Christians who have “asked believing” and what they asked for did not take place. They are perplexed and discouraged. Have you ever found yourself in that same sinking boat of despair?
It’s all to do with reading in context. For example, many people cling to verses 7-8 in Matthew 7 but they pay little attention to verses 9-11. Let’s look at it: Matthew 7:7-11, “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. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You parents, if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him?” This same passage in Luke 11:13 reads, “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” There are both “fruits” of the Spirit and “gifts” of the Spirit. An example of fruits are love, joy, and peace. An example of gifts are word of knowledge and word of wisdom.
When Jesus is speaking to His followers in these passages, He is addressing, not the tangible, but the spiritual. Does God care about the tangible in our lives? May we pray for physical needs? Absolutely! However, never lose sight of the fact that the tangible is temporary and fades. The spiritual, by contrast is full of lasting power, comfort, and strength to get us through the tangible difficulties that come to us all. By way of example, let’s say a loved one is ill. Death seems imminent. You “ask” believing you will “receive,” but your loved one passes away. Did God not answer your request when He promised He would? No! He promised to give you everything of the Holy Spirit that you would need to get through the darkness moments of your lives.
I encourage us all to look beyond the tangible. Look to the power of the Holy Spirit. How could Paul and Silas sing in prison? How could Daniel remain calm when he was thrown to the lions? It was solely because of the power of the Holy Spirit. When we ask, seek, and knock, then we discover that our Heavenly Father gives us everything we need to get through anything at all. The Holy Spirit is the most lovely answer to prayer that we can ever receive.
Whatever you are going through today — ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door of everything you need will be opened to you. “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37) Remember, too, the words of Jesus in John 14:16-17, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.”
May we all engage in the instruction Jesus gave us to, ask, seek and knock, knowing that we will receive all we need through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, filling us, empowering us. That’s why nothing is ever impossible for us to get through with God’s own peace, joy, strength, and courage.