Jesus gave the disciples a powerful message in this section of scripture. It is so fundamental to everything we need to do, whether to receive anything, learn anything or understand anything.
The simplicity of Jesus’ words here is that we must do one thing if we want to find out or receive all we may need from God. We just need to…ask.
He doesn’t ask us to jump through hoops, be anything or do anything special to receive the gift of God…just ask. So let’s have a look at what we can and should ask Him for.
Here is the promise in this section of scripture in verses 23-24.
23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name.
24 Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Jesus says that whatever we ask in His name, it will be given to us. When we ask for anything according to the will of God, He will give it to us. So let’s consider some of the things we could and should ask for that are in accordance with the will of God.
Probably the first and most important thing we need to ask God for is forgiveness when we repent of our sins and our old way of life. When we come to Jesus we ask Him to come into our life and we ask Him to forgive all our past sin so we can stand before Him.
And guess what? He does forgive us when we ask!
That is part of the beauty and wonder of the grace of God. That when we ask Him for anything in the name of Jesus Christ, He gives us what we need…and we all needed forgiveness. We all needed a saviour to take us out of our lives of sin in this world and to bring us into the presence of God.
We can’t take forgiveness from Him, but if we ask He will freely give it to us when we ask in the name of Jesus and are truly sincere in our repentance. Repentance is in accordance with the will of God and so He will freely give us forgiveness and mercy. It is God’s will that all people would come to a place of repentance, so He encourages us through His divine grace by giving us what we need…forgiveness. As Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:9,
The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
The Holy Spirit
Having repented and been forgiven of our sins, the next thing we should ask for that is in accordance with the will of God is to receive the Holy Spirit.Luke wrote the words of Jesus where He said in Luke 11:13,
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
If you want to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, ask for it! It is the will and purpose of the Father to provide all the good things we need to be complete and perfect in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit does the work of transformation in us as He knocks off our rough edges, intercedes for us with God, changes the parts of our nature that we cannot change and teaches us how to walk in Christ
The Holy Spirit is the gift from God that allows us to know the love of God. No man can understand the love of God, but the Holy Spirit shows us the love of God for it says in Romans 5:5,
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.
When we receive the Holy Spirit we receive the teacher and counsellor who will show us the way of God’s love. His job is to transform us into the way of love so that we can live in Christ as children of God, grounded firmly in a foundation of love.
In order to understand and grow mature in the love of God and the ways of Jesus Christ we need understanding, insight and wisdom. Knowledge is important, but it is the application of the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ that transforms into wisdom that we can live by.
James wrote in James 1:5,
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.
This too is in the will of God that we may understand the gifts of God. With wisdom we know what is right and wrong. We know how to act and behave in all circumstances. We are not subject to the passions, emotions and desires of humanity that lead to sin, but instead use reason to understand all matters.
It is the will of God that we become wise in the things of God and so learn how to live in the face of opposition. It is the will of God that we become mature in Jesus Christ and can stand up to the falsehoods and lies of the opponents of Christianity.
As Solomon wrote in the book of Proverbs, we should seek wisdom like refined silver. We should bind it around our hearts and minds so that we are led by it rather than our emotions. Wisdom will protect us for it prevents us doing unwise things. So it is important we seek and ask God for this gift.
What if we Don’t Ask?
If we choose not to ask for the gifts of God we are foolish in the extreme. Jesus told us to ask. He wants us to ask. God the Father wants us to come to Him with our requests. So look at the outcome of not asking as shown in James 4:1-3,
1 What causes wars, and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members?
2 You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask.
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
Covetousness, fighting, evil human desire. All these things rage within a person who does not have something when the Lord says you could have had it if you just asked.
Where do such desires, passions and emotions lead to? Death! They will not lead to life so there is only one other place they can lead.
But the Lord does not want us to live under the power of our human desires. He wants us to find peace within, which you cannot have when your lusts and desires are raging. Instead He is telling us to ask for what we need and He will provide it. He is taking away the need for coveting and so on by offering us an easy way to overcome, simply by asking.
But He is also saying not to ask for things just because your passions are raging for that is wrong too. No…ask for the things of God, the things in His will and you will not need the things of the flesh.
Look at the things of the flesh that have the people of this world bound in slavery. Alcohol, nicotine, image, money, possessions, drugs, sexual desire, power and so on. When you are in Christ and walking in the ways of God, these desires fall away. He gives us victory over them as we walk and ask for His intervention because these things are not the things of God. And if we ask for these things, we are asking wrongly. Instead let us focus on asking for the things of God and see these evil desire pass away.
So in summary, Jesus tells us to ask and we will receive. And we are also told to ask in faith as James wrote in James 1:6-7 because if we don’t ask in faith, how can we expect to receive what we ask for?
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
7 For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.
We need to be firm in our faith, fully convinced that the Lord can and will do what He said He would do. Don’t let doubt creep in for that will kill your faith. Instead, come to the Lord in confidence knowing that it is will and desire to give you what you need…when you ask Him for it.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Sarah Kobunski)
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