Wednesday, April 6, 2016
“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. “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. Matthew 7:7, 12-14(NLT)
The Christian life is never easy. This is why God instructs us how to navigate that narrow road with prayer. It’s all asking, seeking, and knocking.
Not many people would openly deny the willingness of God to give to His children. Inwardly some of us want to buy the Father a calendar. But this asking is necessary. It shows our confession of faith in His willingness to give that which is good.
Prayer is natural in the asking department. A raven's chick stretches its neck out and screeches for mother to bring dinner. The mother is moved to put aside her own appetite and feed her young. A lamb's bleating not only brings Mom to the rescue, but the sound actually causes the milk in her udder to begin secreting. The cry of the child brings the response of the parent. One reason many prayers remain unanswered is the lack of asking.
What exactly is it for which I should seek? Well, what is it that your heart condemns? Are there promises you’ve not kept? Is there a bad attitude? Are you insincere?
Also seek for that which is truly the desire of your heart. At times we receive different answers because God is speaking to our heart, and our selfishness gets in the way. St. Augustine's mother prayed that God would keep her son with her until she could win him to Christ. But the boy left and went to Rome. It seemed like God hadn't listened. But in Rome Augustine met Ambrose, an eloquent preacher, and was converted, and became an important instrument in God's hand. What Augustine's mother REALLY desired in her heart, was given by a most gracious Father.
Action must always follow the seeking. This is where the rubber of prayer meets the road of faith. James (2:14-17) tells us that merely talking or wishing is not what comprises real faith. You must somewhere along the line INVOLVE yourself with what God wants to do.
Former President Ronald Reagan learned about decision-making early in life. An aunt took him to a shoemaker for a new pair of shoes. The cobbler asked him if he wanted square or round toes on the shoes. He hemmed and hawed, so he was told to stop by in a day or two when he'd made up his mind. A week later the cobbler saw Reagan on the street and asked if he'd come to a decision. Not yet, said he. Okay, your shoes will be ready tomorrow. When Reagan came to the store he found a pair of shoes, one shoe with round toe, and the other with square!
What is a step of faith like? The Golden Rule is magnificent, and belongs to Jesus alone. All the great writers in history stated it negatively. Jesus, in His divine wisdom, is the only one to say it positively. Note the difference....When stated negatively it is only common sense. If I don't want to get punched in the nose, don't punch anyone else in the nose. Simple; it almost works. But Jesus changes the Do no harm approach to Do help! It changes from common sense to Christian surprise.
In prayer, a step of faith is finding something for which you must be totally dependent upon God (ASKING), banishing self from the matter (SEEKING), and then finding something connected with the matter and helping out until God reveals His heart in the thing (KNOCKING).
The narrow road is a tight fit. The harness of Jesus may be light, but it will constrain you to go in the direction HE wants.