IS IT WRONG TO ASK GOD FOR THINGS???
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
The word ‘ask’ is the Greek word ‘aiteo’ (G154). It means ‘to ask; to crave; to beg; to desire; and to require. It is found five times in Matthew 7:7-11 here in the sermon on the mount. It is God’s will that we ask, and that we have spiritual goals, blessings needed, to do the ministry that the Lord has given us.
We are also to ‘seek’ with our whole heart. That means to do more than to ask, we get about doing the work of the Lord, seeking for that which will help us maintain His calling. We have asked, and if we truly have faith in His power, we know the answer is coming. Therefore, as we minister, we seek to see the answers to our asking.
While we ‘ask’ and then ‘seek’, we will come to doors, wondering if this is the way we are to go, will this door be opened for us to minister therein? At those times we are to ‘knock’. The door is not opened in the East until the one who knocks is questioned. When we ‘knock’ in our requests, the Lord will question who we are? are we in the kingdom?
To ‘ask’ implies the desire. To ‘seek’ showed the expectation. To ‘knock’ shows the fulfillment of the will, we are at work in the ministry, finding doors of opportunity. We ask with hope, we seek with expectation, and confidence, and we knock with perseverance.
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
There are no exceptions given by our Lord, and we trust Him to be the ‘Truth’. Therefore, there will be, for those who follow Him, and live for Him, a receiving, a finding, and an opening. If we do not receive, we did not ask in faith, if we do not find, we may have wavered in our seeking, and if we do not find openings to the answer, we did not knock with importunity
Luke 11:5-8 (KJV)
5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
The answers will come, but sometimes the answer may be a ‘no’ if we ask out of His will.
The ‘asking’ is the part
most of us have done well.
Many have long prayer lists, with many requests. Unfortunately, many of those requests are not the will of God. God answers those by leading us toward what is His will, showing us that our will is far less than what His will is for us. Some will ignore what God is showing them what is best, but never cease to ask for what is their will. Asking, they have down well.
Seek is what they need to do.
Yet, the ‘seek’ has been less well done. ‘Seek’ means to go where God is. So, when ‘asking’ alone does not get the answer, we need to get nearer to God and ‘seek’ His presence. As we ‘seek’ Him, His will, His wisdom of what is really best for us, we find then our ‘asking’ changes to His will for us.
Then comes the ‘knocking’.
Once you have arrived in God’s presence, and you are the ‘door’ of the answer, the ‘knocking’ is necessary. The ‘knocking’ causes the ‘door’ to be opened. Too many are ‘knocking’ while far from the door. Did you ever ‘knock’ upon a door from the ‘highway’ in front of the house? No, our arms are not long enough. We need to get up on the porch, near the door, standing right there at the door. Then we can knock.
If we knock from across the street, the knock is not heard, so God does not unlock the door. If we ‘seek God first, we have then ‘crossed the street’ and found Him and His will, and the door we knock upon is where the answer is.
The Lord has promised to give us ‘good things’, and if we ask for things ‘bad’ for us, He has to wait till we seek Him and His will.
"How much more shall your Father Who is in heaven give good things to them that ask..."
There are two principal Greek words
translated "prayer" in the New Testament.
The first is "eperatao" which means "to ask, to inquire." This infers the asking for an answer. We may at times need to know "what", "where", "who", "when" or "why" from God. This is "eperatao". This kind of ‘asking’ is asking for God’s will, seeking is included in the asking here.
The second is "aiteo" which means "to ask, to crave, to call for." There are times we know a need in our lives that needs supplied, and God can and will do it. When we ask for it, this is "aiteo." When we ‘ask’, ‘aiteo’, we need to ‘seek’ to be sure what we are asking is the will of God. To ask and not seek God’s will is a failure. We do not get to the ‘knocking’ and having the door opened, unless we get the ‘seek’ between the aiteo asking, and the knocking.
We should ask and expect God to answer. And He will. We can ‘ask, aiteo, and see God begin to reveal His plan, His will. As we draw near to Him, and to His will, we find we get to the door of the answer, and can ‘knock’.
"...he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."
Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will He give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will He give him a serpent?
Jesus goes on to assure us that if we ‘ask’ and then ‘seek’ to be sure we are in the will of God in our prayers, we can be confident that God will give us good things, not bad things for us. A father who is asked for bread will not give a ‘stone’ if He loves. A father who is asked for a ‘stone’ for a meal, will explain to the child that the ‘bread’ is edible, and good, but the stone is inedible and not good for a meal. This is how a loving father would do it, and so would our heavenly Father.
Our God will give us what is best for us. He will deny what we ask if we ask for things bad for us. He will lead and guide us to understand what His will is, if we will learn to ‘ask, then seek His will, seek Him, and then we come to the door where we ‘knock’ and have it be opened.
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father Who is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?
If wicked fathers see that children are fed, clothed, cheerful, and protected, how much more will the heavenly Father do the same for His children?
The Lord wants to give to us, to deliver us from dangers, to preserve us frm evil, to heal our ailing bodies, and to provide sustenance for us. We can ‘ask, seek, knock, and then receive. We have a loving Father.
WHEN GOD GIVES,
WE RECEIVE ENOUGH
FOR US TO GIVE TO OTHERS
When we receive from the Lord, whether it be talents, spiritual gifts, or financial blessings, there is always more than we need. We share our talents, we share our spiritual gifts, we share our financial blessings.
Jesus pointed out we are not to share with the ‘dogs’ and the ‘swine’. Those hypocrites are not to share our blessings from God.
In Jerusalem, needs had arisen, and Paul was anxious to be sure that the saints in Jerusalem were given the food and financial aid that they needed. The saints in Jerusalem had been excommunicated from Judaism. They were being persecuted, and deprived of their jobs. They needed help desperately. Paul pleaded their cause.
It is good for Christians to be concerned with more than their own local affairs. We are apt to become near-sighted. It is a human trait. Correction is often needed in most churches to correct short-sighted and selfish thoughtlessness. Our own problems seem so great, and the problems of others, we tend to ignore, or to not be personally concerned. We need to remind ourselves of the obligations each of us have for the other parts of the body of Christ.
We will always have the poor. The church has too often been emotionally moved by the needs of the poor in other countries, or to the unsaved poor heathens in the world, and ignored the poor within their own midst. We are bidden to do good to all, but especially to those of the household of faith.
"For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."
The way Jesus taught us to exceed the 23 and a third percent tithe was for us to give our all to Him. We call this "stewardship." Jesus told the rich young ruler to give His all. He had the disciples leave their all, and follow Him. He expects us to give our whole lives a "living sacrifice", admit to the ownership of the Lord of everything we used to call "ours"!
The subjects of giving, tithing, offerings, and financial collections of the churches has been debated for many years. There are many heretical teachings being propagated, and many of their adherents have not studied the Scriptures enough to even know their error. They have trusted tradition, denominational dogma, and avoided a real search of the Scriptures to even test their chosen doctrines concerning giving.
"Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Behold, we have forsaken all and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily, I say unto you, That ye who have followed Me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life. But many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first."
Some like to quote this sermon of Jesus to promise 100 fold financial gain in this lifetime, but if you will note, it is in the millennium, and on the new earth that the 100 fold blessings are promised. Also, note that the disciples had given all, everything to their Lord and Savior. They did not offer Him 10%, or 23 1/3 %. The Lord wants us to give Him our all. Note the event that preceded the question of Peter about what they would receive for giving all to Jesus.
"And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?... Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give it to the poor, and thou shalt have treasures in heaven; and come and follow Me."
Jesus requires a totally committed life. He does not want partial converts, but He wants "living sacrifices." Too many in the Christian movement are like the rich young ruler, and want eternal life, but not at the cost of giving everything. I have no doubt that he would have made a sizeable gift to the Lord for eternal life. Jesus could have named 10%, or 23 1/3% Yet, the Lord said that this was insufficient. 100 % must be given, for eternal life.
To follow Jesus is not an avocation, it is not an additional challenge in life. It is a total life change, a totally new direction. We give our lives, our possessions, our talents, our whole being to Jesus when we become a true Christian. There are many counterfeit Christians out there who are not so committed.
We are commanded to seek heavenly treasures. We are likewise commanded to not, definitely not, be concerned with gaining earthly treasures. Then why are many ministries trying to tell the saints how to gain in earthly riches? Why all the emphasis on 100 fold returns? How did we get so far from the message of the Lord?
"Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also."
The church of Smyrna, spoken to by our Lord Jesus in the book of Revelation, is told:
"I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou are rich.)"
This shows that the Lord may allow us at times to be poor in the carnal things of this world, but His real interest is to have us rich in spiritual things, and in the realm of heaven to have great treasures laid up.
The Lord has promised to reward us greatly for our labor for Him. He gives us treasures and payment for every Christian act. When we labor, we receive a great reward.
I Corinthians 3:8
"...every man shall receive his own reward according to his labor..."
I Corinthians 3:11-15
"...every man's work shall be made manifest...
if any man's work abide (the fiery test)... he shall receive reward."
II Corinthians 5:10
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ;
that every one may receive the things done in the body,
according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
We do receive heavenly treasures, and they await us. We often receive earthly blessings, upon which we do not set our hearts. Rather, we give out, in appreciation to the Lord. We must beware of covetousness, and share our talents, gifts, and even carnal blessings.
"And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
Too often, Christians fall into the trap of being covetous, and want to gain riches. They flock to hear teachers who will tell them how to give "this much," and receive "this greater much" back. They will avoid those who teach, as I am here, and will ignore the Scriptures that I am pointing out. They are trapped with the sin of covetousness. Heavenly treasures are second thoughts to them, and the anxiousness for the rapture is also missing, or hindered, for they are bent on achieving a "heaven" on earth blessedness and prosperity here. They are doing all the things that these verses warn us against.
There is a greater danger for rich saints, than for the poor ones, for there is the constant temptation to measure one's worth by such wealth, and to hoard, save, and not be a giving and generous person. Instead of giving to poor saints, they are easily tempted to flaunt their wealth before the poorer saints. They will tend to feel more worthy, and more deserving of prestige, honor, and position in the church.
We are not to seek riches. If God abundantly gives us riches anyhow, it is because we are to be used with the gift of giving. The gift of giving is one of the spiritual gifts mentioned in Romans 12:6-8:
"Having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us... he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity (outward show of pride)..."
This gift is the supernatural bestowment of goods upon a person for the purpose of giving in abundance to the Lord, to His church, and to others in need. This gift is to be done contentedly, liberally, sometimes sacrificially, with wisdom and cheerfulness.
Just as God bestows the ability to teach to one with the gift of teaching, and it is that person's responsibility to use that gift for the Lord; in the same way, some are given financial blessings by the Lord, and they are to use this gift for Him. Some who have received the gift of giving from the Spirit, have buried this talent. Some think their blessings are for hoarding, and building up bank accounts.
Have you been blessed? We are not to lay up treasures here on earth. The prosperity we receive here is to be used for the Lord. As the priesthood of believers, we have given to the Lord, our all. By giving what we receive, we will lay up wealth in heaven. Those who have been given the gift of healing, seek out the sick to pray for and share the gift with them. Those who have been given an abundance of material goods, are to seek out the needy, and provide.