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Ask, Seek, and Find

God is the Great Provider. James 1:17 states, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Few of us truly lack for what we need, though wants unfulfilled may sometimes lead us to question God’s abundant generosity. This societal confusion of want and need leads some to a crisis of faith.

As my thoughts move forward I want to make it clear that God’s Word commands us to ask for His provision. Jesus’ model prayer states, “give us this day our daily bread,” a passage indicating that we should pray daily for our daily needs (Matthew 6:11). I am not questioning that. However, an apparent contradiction or rich paradox exists in this demand that calls for a separate discussion. My concern here is what we ask God for and why.

So often we want more (or bigger and better) than what God has already provided. This is true in our relationships, careers, finances, belongings, and even in our health issues. The list could go on interminably. We repeatedly beg and plead as we use the “ask, seek and knock” model as the biblical justification or rationalization for our requests. (Can you see the link between such prayers and the vain repetitions of the Pharisees?) How many times do we lift Matthew 7:7 or Luke 11:9 out of context to place them on our man-created altar of self-gratification, consumption, and lust? This type of worldly self-indulgence is epidemic, and the virus is alive and well in the church. We often take the sovereign generosity and provision of God and turn it into a license to demand what we desire.

So what happens when we don’t get what we want? In that process we often become increasingly disappointed and distanced from God. Could it be that the gifts we ask for are not good in God’s eyes, much less perfect? Could it be that our selfishness keeps us from truly receiving what we most need? James comments succinctly in 4:3, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Despite our disappointment our sovereign Lord does actually know best. We need to embrace that reality.

Understand that sometimes the Lord does give us what we ask for―even when we ask for the wrong things with the wrong motives. When He does, we are often quick to call them blessings. But sometimes what we think we want is merely a distraction that can actually hinder us from seeking what we most need, God. Rarely do we recognize the distance these “gifts’ create between us and the Lord as we begin worshipping the gift more than the Giver. In seeking His hand we sometimes forget His face.

You see, the broader context of “ask, seek, and find” is authentic spiritual vitality through true communion with God. We really need to ask for and seek after Holy God, and we really need to knock on the door of real fellowship with Him. That’s why Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

Here is my interpretation of the “ask, seek, and find” concept: Ask for God and He will come. Seek after Him and you will find Him in all of His beauty. Knock on the door that is Jesus (John 10:7), and He will let you in to a feast of unimaginable fellowship with Him (Revelation 3:20). This is one desire that Scripture says will always be fulfilled: When we seek after the ultimate good and perfect gift, Jesus, we find real Treasure.

May God change the desires of our hearts and thus change our asking, seeking and knocking into actions and requests that honor our relationship with Him. May our passion for Him overshadow our temporal and fractious “wants.”

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