Ask: Always Seek Knowledge
“Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.
Some of us read a verse like this, and we assume that the Christian life should be like a cruise- where we’re waited on hand and foot without a care in the world. When circumstances turn out to be not quite that way, we’re disappointed. But our walk of faith is much more like a challenging hike. We have to prepare for it, and there are many unexpected twists and turns. Parts of it are exhilarating, and other parts require tenacity to keep going.
What, then, does Christ’s invitation mean? It doesn’t mean He’ll make life as easy as a cruise; instead, He promises to equip us for the long hike. How? By giving us the knowledge and wisdom we need to take the next step at each point on the journey. All along the way we ASK, we always seek knowledge from God and about God. We ASK in order to take advantage of opportunities and to overcome obstacles. We ASK when we love life or when we feel like quitting, when we enjoy popularity or when we’re alone. In every situation and at every moment, Christ invites us too, into His heart and His wisdom. His plan isn’t to make life as easy as a cruise, but to give direction, encouragement, and the desire to enjoy walking with Him.
Far too many people have no idea of what they can do because all they have been told is what they can’t do. They don’t know what they want because they don’t know what is available to them.
Decision is the spark that ignites action. Until a decision is made, nothing happens.
Reading farther in this passage, we find that Jesus is talking about more than wishful asking, finger-crossed hope, or four-leaf clover luck. He’s talking about making a decision to ask, to seek and to knock. In the Greek, each verb is in the present participle and mean to continue without interruption asking and seeking and knocking. Someone would ask, “How many times do I ask, how long am I to seek, and how much do I knock?” The simple answer is until God speaks, and He will! Often we quit and walk away just before we receive or find or the door opens. What Jesus was teaching was perseverance in our pursuit of God’s wisdom and knowledge. Let’s read further:
For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will [instead] give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will [instead] give him a snake? If you then, evil (sinful by nature) as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him.
Jesus promises us that if we will make it our life goal to ask and seek and knock, that the Father will make His response to us through His love. Jesus illustrates this love by telling how a father, even though he may be sinful (Jesus uses the word “evil”); wouldn’t give his children harmful things, and neither will God respond to our requests with things that aren’t good for us. Some have erroneously attributed harmful things to God and even quote Romans 8:28 to justify it. Romans 8:28 holds the promise that if we ask, seek, and knock, God will take every situation in our lives and work through them to bring something good. Sometimes we suffer because of our decisions, sometimes because of someone else’s decisions, sometimes because life just happens or sometimes because of the devil. We can become frustrated if we spend our time asking why things are the way they are. We can live with guilt and remorse because we made a poor decision. We can become angry at that other person who’s decision adversely affected us, and we can throw up our hands in despair when we feel that we have no power to resist the devil’s work.
Or we can do as Jesus taught in this sermon. At every point, we can ask, we can seek and we can knock. Jesus said that if wicked fathers would respond to a child’s request with good things, how much more will our Heavenly Father who is perfect in all His ways.
Luke adds a phrase when he records this teaching of Jesus and I think it sheds light on the receiving from God.
“So I say to you, ask and keep on asking, and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking, and you will find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking [persistently], receives; and he who keeps on seeking [persistently], finds; and to him who keeps on knocking [persistently], the door will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you, then, being evil [that is, sinful by nature], know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”
There’s the secret. It’s not that God gives us everything we ask for, or reveals to us everything we want to know, nor opens up every door of opportunity, but what He has given us is the Holy Spirit, the Living Presence of God dwelling in us and overshadowing us. We get something better than an answered prayer or revelation or a golden opportunity. We get God living and moving and working in us continuously.
Most of us are familiar with a GPS. When we don’t know how to get somewhere we ask GPS, and then we follow, making each turn as we hear the instructions. Mine only gives the next turn and only after I take the turn, does it give the next step. We have been given heaven’s GPS- God’s Powerful Spirit- who leads us and guides us on life’s journey. Sometimes life gets dark and we can’t see our way, so the Light of the World shines in us and reveals truth and wisdom and knowledge. Sometimes life brings sorrow and suffering and the Comforter whom is the good gift of God gives us peace and hope and strength in the storm and encouragement that the storm won’t last forever. So keep asking and seeking and knocking and expect the Holy Spirit to be given to you just in time and He will bring with Him exactly what you need.
Finally, James says,
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].”
Dr. John Thompson