7 “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door[a] will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8 CSB)
The verses above require effort. We are told that we must first ask to expect anything to be given to us. We must then seek so that we can find. And lastly we must knock once we have found.
The idea here is that prayer has more actions beyond the asking. There is an effort God expects from us to actively work with him to finally reach what is expected from us. Once we are there we must knock, again actively doing something in fulfilling our end of the prayer bargain.
The faith life is an active life, make no mistake.
9 Even my friend[a] in whom I trusted,
one who ate my bread,
has raised his heel against me. (Psalm 41:9 CSB)
Life can, at times, feel like we are going through it alone. That even our closest friends have either turned against us or walked away from us. While this can be the case it is just as easy for us to allow our inner darkness to distort reality.
Often we are the cause of our own isolation. We believe we are in this life alone and must muddle through without any support. For most of us this is not the case. We have friends and family close at hand if we will but open up to them.
Isolation is one of the enemy’s favorite tools. Do not isolate yourself from those who care most.
12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12 CSB)
There is a gap between us and God. While he is with us always in the form of the Spirit a gap exist. But that gap is there to help us understand that we are not God. Yes, God is with us but we are not to exalt ourselves above God. We are to be humble and understand the gap between faillable man and infaillable God.
The beauty of this gap is that God bridged it with Christ when he died for us and forgave all of our faillability. Every single failure he paid for, in full.
As I have written many times, a humble nature solves many problems. It allows us to see others in a different light. Not as better or worse off, but as equals in every aspect. Providing insight and wisdom into how we might serve God and man.
5 For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 CSB)
To be set free. The reality is that most of us do not realize what we are a slave to. Yes, sin, but what about the other subtle forms of slavery. The busyness of our jobs, debt, addiction, materialism, overindulgence; when we consider these more subtle forms which we often embrace we can see it in a totally different light.
Looking at where we spend our time, our talent and our treasure will give us a clear picture of what we are a slave to.
Have you taken the time to inventory these things and in what you invest them?
It can be an extremely revealing endeavor.
What do you need to be set free from?
8 Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8 CSB)
This can be a really difficult scripture. Do not owe anyone anything. Wow.
There are some things, of course, that we typically have to owe on. Homes and cars come to mind. However, really cars can be saved for and homes can be doubled up on and paid off quickly.
The idea here is that we cannot let debt rule us. We must be free to love and when we are focused on our ever growing debt this is difficult.
Taking a humble and minimal mindset and being good Stewart’s of our funds is what God wants.
20 And the one sown on rocky ground—this is one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy. 21 But he has no root and is short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he falls away. (Matthew 13:20-21 CSB)
We use the term “Faith” to most often refer to something religious in nature or something we must trust in. Trusting without seeing.
But faith is an interesting thing. Sometimes our faith is strong and at other times the simplist thing can rock it deeply.
It is only when, in a religious sense, we stand firm and allow the roots of faith to grow deep within us that we can stand the test of life. Not falling away even when the trials are deep and seem to go on for a long time.
Deeply seated faith is best born lightly but never shallowly.
27 “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28 CSB)
These are two of the most difficult scriptures in the Bible to try to apply. Our nature is not to love our enemies, not to do good to those who hate or mistreat us.
Yet, how much better would the world be if only half of us practiced these scriptures? Would not the other half be summarily disarmed? Have you ever noticed how a calm and quiet word turns aside another’s anger.
Our natural response to an affront is to push back. But how much better if we simply bend to the negativity and replace it with something positive.
The world would literally begin to change.