5. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full (John 16:24).
Okay, I am sure any sincere follower of God hates the prosperity Gospel, which treats God like a credit card without limit and turns His servants into spoilt brats, who think they are the boss of God! But the Jesus Christians went to the extreme. Theirs was extreme because they refused to ask God for what they really wanted... They feared to look into their hearts and ask God, like little children, believing they would receive... They couldn't reconcile this teaching of Jesus with His teaching for His followers to deny themselves and take up their crosses...(Matt 16:24).
They erred on the side of caution, and would be sure to ask God for only what they believed was REASONABLE for God to do, and within His will. They dared not test God nor apply faith that if they asked, believing they would receive, they actually would. For people who showed great faith in forsaking all things, selling up their possessions, dropping out of the world's systems, and living by faith...they truly lacked faith in God!
They lacked faith in His promise, and His goodness...and in His love. You could tell that, whenever someone wanted to take Jesus at His word here, they were always reminded by other JCs to pray according to His will, and even still, not to have great expectations! I don't think that's what Jesus is saying here at all. If He meant to say "ask according to My will", He would have!!!
And this mentality has been with me for the longest time. I have had great faith according to the world's standards...and yet little confidence and trust in God's ability or desire to bless me. I didn't want to take His grace and love for granted. I didn't want it to be about me. I didn't want to fall into greed. So, I rarely, if ever, have asked Jesus for something that I truly wanted.
But when you know God, when you walk with God, when you have a relationship with God like a Father and child, such barriers ought to fall away!!! PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT ALL FEAR (1 John 4:18). Even if He decides not to give it to you, because He knows better, any child who truly knows that their parent loves them will ASK and believe that they will honour their request, either by granting it, or by showing them why it is not something they should desire... Either way, they will get an answer. And they will learn and grow from it!
And if you truly believe, or should I say - KNOW - that your Daddy is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and owns every cattle on a thousand hills, and the whole world...what can you possible ask Him to do that will be too great for Him (Gen 18:14, Jer 32:27, Luke 18:27)??? You cannot begin to fathom it! So as it enters your heart, and you have faith - meaning you know that He is able (whether He is willing is another thing) - you will ask! And you won't be afraid that He will bite your head off, or ignore you, or rebuke you in any way. You know already that nothing can separate you from His love (Rom 8:31-39)!!!
Hence the teaching... The teaching is about having child like faith, which we must nurture in our walk with God (Matt 18:3). We must never lose sight of His love for us. We must never lose sight of His power and dominion. We must never lose sight of our dependency on Him! True followers of Christ don't mature out of this type of faith...they grow into it more and more, as they grow in knowledge and love of God! They become more humble, like Jesus, and more trusting and dependent on God. And so, their joy will be full!
Jesus wants a RELATIONSHIP! It's a heart to heart thing, not a mind thing! He has called us His friends, and treated us as family. He has given us His Spirit... Why should we doubt Him?
He said "...for verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith" (Mark 11:23). Is He a liar, or is He God? He is either one or the other.
You decide! And it shall be done to you according to your faith (Matt 9:29)! Where is your faith (Luke 8:25)? Do you have a form of holiness but deny the power of God (2 Tim 3:5)? Let us all examine ourselves, to ensure that we are truly people of FAITH (2 Cor 13:5).
Lord, please help my unbelief, and teach me to trust You more... Amen.
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