The Sermon on the Mount: Day 24

Ask, Seek, Knock

by

Today's Text: Matthew 7:7-12, Proverbs 8:12-21, James 1:5-6, Revelation 3:19-20

Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:7-12, Proverbs 8:12-21, James 1:5-6, Revelation 3:19-20

My kids are constantly reminding me of how I behave with my heavenly Father—that is, like a child. It’s so incredibly humbling.

One such incident occurred a few years back, when we took our kids out for dinner on a Friday night. We were too stuffed for dessert, but when you go to the Cheesecake Factory and don’t order cheesecake, I’m pretty sure a puppy dies or an angel loses its wings. So we ordered a couple of slices to-go, my husband and I secretly planning to make a fun memory with the kids later that night.

It was already an hour past the kids’ bedtime when we headed home. Even so, as we drove, my oldest, who was seven at the time, grew concerned that his fun evening out with the family was coming to an abrupt end. He fretted and squirmed the whole ride home, even when we told him we had a surprise planned and encouraged him to trust us. But he just couldn’t. He made himself miserable worrying about the cheesecake and bedtime and other things seven-year-olds worry about.

Even if you’re an adult, my guess is you can identify with this, at least a little.  

The plan was way better than he could have asked or imagined. Bedtime would have been a perfectly practical choice, but Ryan and I had planned to park in our little downtown, find a pretty place to sit, and enjoy a ridiculously late-night cheesecake feast with the kids, by the light of the moon.

It was a pretty great plan. It was the plan all along.

Any amount of fretting and whining our kids did on the ride home, when they were certain they were going straight to bed, didn’t change what we had planned for them. We wanted to give them a sweet experience—not because of their good behavior, but because they are our children, we delight in them, and we wanted to give them a good gift.

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:11).

We have some pretty big ideas of how our lives should go. We feel strongly about what we don’t want to happen, and we’re perfectly willing to spend our entire lives fretting and fussing, not trusting that God is for us.

Our Father wants to give us bread and fish and moonlit cheesecake picnics. He also wants to give us appropriate bedtimes and vegetables. Jesus knew His disciples were going to need righteousness, purity, unity, wisdom, humility, and more to carry out the work that was coming. And so He’s essentially saying to them, and us, “Just ask! It’s all yours!”

He has a pretty great plan. It’s been His plan all along.

Do you lack wisdom? Is there something else you need in order to carry out the Father’s work? Do you trust that He will equip you with every supply?

The Father gives to His children generously and ungrudgingly (James 1:5). So go ahead: Ask. Seek. Knock. “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:8).

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  • Kristen Clegs

    John Piper said: “If you don’t spend much time in prayer, it is almost proof positive that you don’t know Him … If you knew Him, you’d ask!”
    God does not tire of us being in a position of need and dependence. He made us to lack so that we need Him. Imagine being sufficient and not needing God – wouldn’t that, in actuality, be a curse rather than a blessing? Yet I still find myself revolting against dependence, trying to be enough in my own strength. Then He whispers to me, “You are only complete in ME. In your weakness is when I come thru and make you strong. Only when you acknowledge your lack can I show you MY abundance. Just ask. I want to supply.”

  • This gave me a lot of reassurance that God is faithful and isn’t out to get us if we aren’t. That doesn’t mean we should let ourselves go. But that the Father loves us and wants to surprise us with beautiful great gifts throughout our lives. Then the ultimate with the ticket to Heaven, all because He loves us. What a beautiful thing grace and love are!

  • My elderly parents are currently at the airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico having survived Hurricane Maria. I thought for almost 4 days that they had died, or worse, one of them had and the other was stuck with the body… imagining every possibility. Since we found out they’re alive, we’ve been frantic trying to get them on any flight to the mainland America. As I read this, I await confirmation whether or not they will be boarding a flight in 2 hours. I’m reminded that for all my worry, a God has been and is in control. That he cares for my parents and all of Puerto Rico more than I could ever imagine. Sweet relief to be reminded that God hears my (literal) cry and that He is good. Thank you, Jesus, that you hear our moans and groans and respond with grace and goodness.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hawley, thank you for sharing this – we can only imagine how difficult these last few days have been. As a team we will be praying for your parents today, for provision, safety, and opportunity as well. So glad to have you in this community! – Abby, The SRT Team

    • Joanne

      Hawley, I am praying God will open the way before them and defeat every obstacle

    • Hawley

      Thank you all so much! With tears of joy, I can report that God did more and better than I dared hope. They did make it on to the flight, which was a full day earlier than our greatest hope (as standbys on a private charter) and flew to meet my aunt who treated them to a beautiful hotel room and all the food they could eat. They are now safe, on the mainland, and with food and water accessible, not to mention AC! Praise be to God for rescuing them from the destruction. Thank you all for your prayers and for the beautiful reminder that Christ is ultimately all we need, that God hears our prayers and that He loves to lavish us with even more than we desire. Psalm 37:4 Thank you, Jesus!

    • Julie McD

      God is good! Prayers continue for everyone in Puerto Rico. Hooray for sweet relief and those mighty hands!

    • Melanie

      Praise God for his provision and protection of your parents! So glad that they are safe and well <3

  • Meredith Lea

    Needed this! Doc found a lump in my breast and I had a mammogram/ultrasound Monday…still don’t know results but man have I been in worry. I need to shift from worry to trust in him!

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Meredith, we as team are praying for you today for peace even in the midst of the difficult waiting process. Thank you for sharing and being a part of the SRT community! – Abby, The SRT Team

    • Julie

      I will pray for you Meredith Lea! I just had a mammogram/ultrasound last Friday. I am going in for a core needle biopsy this coming Monday. Let’s keep each other in our prayers for negative results/benign. I too have been worried at times but then I remind myself to trust in God. He has us in his hands. Blessings to you.

      • Meredith Lea

        Julie – I am praying for you by name and for complete benign results! I still haven’t heard back from my doctor yet. :/ I’ve been staying busy and reading shereadstruth.com daily. Thank you for the prayers! Thinking for the future when I receive my results and they are benign I want to wrap my arms, support, and time around those who are battling!

        She Reads Truth – Thank you for the prayers and thank you for your amazing website that helps so many!

        • Julie

          Hi Meredith Lea~I wrote our names and a prayer and I put it on a sticky note in my bible next to Psalm 28:6-7. I am glad I checked back here. I keep praying for both of us. Yes for complete benign results! I will check back to see how you are doing. Thank you so much for your prayers too.

  • Got up early to do my devotions. I really needed to hear this this morning. But then life was interrupted when my son said oh no… I’m supposed to be at see you at the pole! So mom hurried my son hurried, got a quick breakfast and though he was late he made it. Thank God for breaks at work as I will continue my devotions there. I really want to dig deeper this is exactly what I needed to hear this morning.

  • This hit me in the right place today. My husband and I are moving from Cincinnati to Dallas and while we’re in Dallas this week for his training, I’ve had to learn to navigate the area and find a place for us and our toddler to live. All on my own, which is not something I’ve ever done before. I know God has given us a great opportunity here but I’m so overwhelmed that I’m having trouble appreciating His gift. Especially since we have left our entire support system behind in Cincinnati. So I’m asking for prayer that I can look past my fears of moving so far away and just enjoy this adventure. I’ve really had to lean on God this week, which has been awesome and a comfort. But I’m a roller coaster of emotion right now.

    • Erin Perek

      I love this post because I feel God led me to this so that I will learn to trust him while I take the next right step I need to. And Emily, I have a daughter in Frisco (north of Dallas) with two toddlers. I would love to be a support for you. I live in Houston and I love Dallas. Contact me if you want and Good luck with the move!

    • funkybodunky

      Emily,
      I can relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed to the point of not seeing the gift in front of us. Truly.
      To quote the devotion today, “We have some pretty big ideas of how our lives should go. We feel strongly about what we don’t want to happen, and we’re perfectly willing to spend our entire lives fretting and fussing, not trusting that God is for us.”
      Sometimes, I become so caught up in looking down at the fretting and fussing, that I forget to look up and see the glory around me!
      May you continue to look up and see the glory, enjoy the adventure, and lean on Him, who loves us and encourages us to ask, seek, and knock.
      Prayers for peace and safety as you and your precious family traverse this new chapter of your life!

    • Jessica

      We live near Dallas, also in Frisco :) Lived in North Texas my whole life. Welcome to Texas, Emily!

  • I absolutely loved the picture that was given with today’s word. God loves us for us, bc we are His children. Not because of how we act or what we do. He loves is just because. Because of who HE IS. I’m so thankful I only have to ask for His forgiveness and His love. That’s all it takes.

  • Diane Huntsman

    17 I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me diligently find me.

    Am I diligently seeking Him? I think my lack of experiencing His peace and presence as of late is directly proportionate to my seeking of Him.. oh I do my daily SRT studies and prayer times, but I diligently seek after lots of things but I can’t say it’s Him I’m diligently seeking.. I don’t want to put in the effort.. I just want Him to deliver His power and Presence.. but I have a part in the whole relationship thing.. I need to read His Words more than I scroll feeds… I need to think on truths more than I think about myself.. I need to pray with fervor and focus instead of lackadaisical habitual rote practice.. we are saved by grace not works this I know.. but there is effort that I’m to give and make in the way of my relationship with Jesus.. I want to diligently seek Him that I may find Him and experience all He has for me..

    • Kendra

      Yep, raising my hand over here! Thank you for your honesty, Diane. Praying alongside you for these things!

    • Lindsey

      So true. So convicting. Thanks for sharing Diane.

      • Jeannette

        Thank you Diane. I’m right there with you. I’ve been begging God for freedom in an area of my life, but not actually seeking HIM. He desires partnership with me out of his great love for me.

    • Kristen Clegs

      Yes, investing in the relationship, not completing a list of works! Needed this reminder!

  • aprilinsydney

    Even now as an adult, I struggle with seeing God as a (loving) father because of my own father, who was angry, violent and unapproachable. These verses have always been a point of confusion and hurt for me, because I know this must be an accurate description of God (as a good father) because it is in the bible, yet I cannot make sense of it from my own (earthly father) experience. My prayer today was for God to help me see and experience him as a loving father.

    • Megan

      You’re in my prayers this morning, April. I’m so sorry your earthly father behaved in that way. ♡ Keep praying and trusting; God really is the best adoptive father there is!

  • I love the analogy of giving gifts to children. I love giving my kids good gifts- it’s honestly one of my favorite things about being a parent. I love giving them gifts that they’ve asked for, but even more than that I love finding a gift that I know they’ll love because I know them! I love finding things that they didn’t even know existed but are perfect for them and surprising them with it. The analogy just WORKS- God is the same way, right!? Giving us the things we know to ask for, but also things that he just knows we’ll delight in. It also occurs to me that we’ve taught our kids, when looking at toys, to spot stuff that is just junk- things from the dollar bin that look kind of attractive but would only entertain for 3 minutes before breaking and causing frustration. I like to picture God shaking his head kindly when we ask for little stupid stuff that would ultimately just annoy us. He’s a good father and he knows what we actually need, what our heart really desires, and he’s always looking to delight us. I love that.

  • churchmouse

    I want a comfortable life where the house always has heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. I want to have hot water on demand for my shower and I want electricity always available for my hair dryer and other essential appliances. I want my car to always start, to never have a flat tire and never (please God!) to be hit by a deer again. I want my kids to always be healthy, have wonderful manners and be successful forever. I want my husband to be prince charming all the time. I want to lay on the beach once a year and sip a cold beverage with a little umbrella in it. I want peace on earth and good will to all men. I want, simply, “the good life.” Well… We know how often that works out, don’t we? Throughout Scripture I read of the lives of the saints who have gone before me and it is nothing like what I have described. It was hard and involved an awful lot of suffering. I’m sure they prayed for relief. But if I read what Paul says in his letters meant to encourage them, I note something interesting. He doesn’t pray for a change in their circumstances – He prays that they have a better understanding of God Himself so that they might persevere with hope. Hmmmm. Paul reminds me that the better I know God, the more I can trust Him. The more I trust Him, the more peace I can have in every circumstance. I may not like my circumstance and I will pray for relief but I also know He is with me in them. So… When life isn’t as I think it should be, when I’m uncomfortable, I will try to remember to pray for more of Him in the moment. Because that’s really what I need. I’ll ask for Him. I’ll seek Him out in my discomfort. I’ll knock on His door and invite Him into my latest mess. He’ll come in. He always does. He always will. And He brings the perfect house warming gift – Himself. Come, Lord Jesus.

  • Timothy Keller in his book Jesus the King expounds on asking, seeking, knocking. He compares it to a child wandering around the house looking for her father. If he’s in the same room as her, she asks. If he’s just in the next room, a bit farther away, she seeks. If he’s in his study with the door closed, she knocks. Jesus is saying that at all levels of closeness to Him, whether you are in the same room together, a bit away, or separated by a closed door, He will answer and He will open the door. I love this explanation as it demonstrates Christ’s desire to be near and available to all, with no preference given to those close any more than those who must knock to find Him!

  • My version (Amplified) reads, “Keep on asking and it will be given to you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and the door will be opened.” It is so easy for me to ask God for something once, but tough for me to keep on asking over and over again. This is especially true when it comes to praying for other people–I’ll pray for their tough situation once, but then I forget about it or just don’t revisit it. As Jesus is always interceding on our behalf, I want to be interceding for other people.

    • Claire

      My biggest failings as a Christian – faith things will be done/given and prayer petitions

  • So needed this reminder this morning – It’s very humbling to know we serve a God that literally has it all planned out.

  • Karen From Virginia

    I love how the Scriptures for today included not only ask and knock but also scriptures on wisdom. I have learned that is a huge prayer that often isn’t prayed. In much of our lives what we need is wisdom to make decisions and navigate our lives. The Lord is faithful to answer that prayer. He wants his children to be wise.

  • Maybe just because it’s early in the morning, but I’m a little confused by this one today. Raechel wrote that it’s not good to think about what we don’t want because it is not trusting that God is for us. However, then we see we are supposed to ask God for everything we want. So is it not Christian-like to ask God for something NOT to happen? But it is acceptable to ask him for something we DO want to happen? I’m just a little confused how she meant for those two concepts to come together. I know she meant something good, but I can’t figure it out today!!

    • Meg

      I think her point was mostly to ask for things and to ask in faith, knowing that God is for us, rather than just worry about a situation. I think when she was talking about how we feel strongly about things we don’t want, she was comparing that to her son not wanting to go to bed and worrying about his parents plan not being enough for him. So I take that to mean while we do have things we want and don’t want to happen (and a loving Father who knows how to give good gifts to His children) we should put the worrying aside and just ask, then trust Him to give us His best (which may or may not be what we asked for, but still better than any plan of our own we could have dreamed up.) At least that’s how I took it, hope that helps.

      • PursuedByHim

        Yes, I, too, think she is saying to trust God. I think that is what the scripture is trying to say also. God will give us what is best for us whether it is yes, or no, or wait for what we want our think we need. He loves us and will provide better than we could ever imagine because He always has a far greater plan!

    • Allison

      I think that what she is saying here, maybe, it’s early here too, is that we should pray and speak to God our heart’s desires, but we may not receive them necessarily if they are not His best for us. That is when we need to be trusting and ok with NOT getting what we want. I have often heard that if we are praying and living our lives in tune with the Spirit that eventually our requests will line up with what He wants for us because His heart’s desires become our heart’s desires too. Coming back to the Lord’s Prayer from last week, “your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” He tells us to boldly come before His throne with our requests, but we need to know that only His best for us is what we will receive because He is a loving Father. Not sure if any of that makes sense or not. Have a super great day!

    • Diane Smutek

      I understand this text as instructing us to ask for what we need, like wisdom or patience. The key is knowing the difference between needs and wants.

    • Robin W.

      I understood the message to be that we need to ask God for the desires of our heart. When we are the midst of a storm or some other uncomfortable situation, do we focus on that, or can we instead move beyond that and ask God for the blessing?

  • The awsome thing for me is, if I understand correctly is.. the answer is already in the wind… we only need ask. Seek. Knock. God would no more give us heartache when we have asked for love, or a frog when we’ve asked/ prayed for a prince charming.. a stone, when we’ve sought advice.. or locked the door when we’ve knocked cos we needed His help…
    He is always there waiting to give us the good and better gifts He knows we need…
    Looking to you Lord God..
    Asking, seeking and knocking… Lord God… for I know deep in my heart you have the very best plan for my life… in spite of my lack of trust, in spite of my rebellion, in spite of my ungrateful attitude …in spite of.
    Thank you Lord God that You are for me.. always,
    Amen .♡

    Hugs, sisters..with love…xxx

  • Thank you for this SRT, a beautifully written illustration of our amazing Father’s love toward us. So helpful today when the sting of rejection woke me early – to read this and remember that God is for us and only gives good gifts to his children.
    This study series has been fantastic, so applicable to our walk. Thank you ❤️

  • Alison MacFarland

    I feel so blessed to have found God at a young age. I want to do well for Him and I want to make Him proud. My life has become so much fuller and happier since I restarted my faith.

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