ARAsk, Seek, KnockJesus is always there for you. The question is, are you willing to ask for His help, to seek His will, and to knock on His door?We are not the only ones asking, seeking, and knocking. God is also asking, seeking, and knocking, and so is Satan. Communication is a two-way street. As Christians, we need to discern between God’s calling and Satan’s deceit.
A few years ago, I was
engaged in a project at work where every team member was under a lot of
pressure. As everyone worked hard to finish their work, people became
impatient with each other and started to make rude comments to each other.
The entire work atmosphere became very unpleasant. This situation occurred
because the team members did not keep up good communication with each other.
Like human relationships, our relationship with God also requires good communication.
As Christians, we often communicate with Jesus through prayer, telling Him
our needs and asking for help. Jesus encourages us in Matthew 7:7-8,
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and
it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks
finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."
Sometimes, though, it may seem like our communication with Him
is "one-way"—that is,
we do all the asking, seeking, and knocking, but there isn’t much of a
response from Him. But in reality, God does communicate with us—we just
need to understand how He communicates. And whether we like it or not, Satan
also communicates with us. We need to be aware of how he communicates, so
that we can avert his temptations and not fall into his trap.
Our Communication with God
When we need help, we
obviously go to someone who can help us, not to someone who is incapable. In
the same way, we can only ask God for help if we recognize that He is
greater than us and that He is able to help us. God wants us to recognize
that we are nothing and that we need Him. Through our asking, we practice
humility and acknowledge God’s greatness.
So what should we ask
for? Basically, anything. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6, "In
everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests
be made known to God." There is no request too small.
In September 1999, my company sent me on a long-term out-of-town assignment.
It was corporate policy to assign housing in pairs, but I really wanted to live alone because
I was dealing with some personal issues at the time and needed a place to
pray. When I approached my supervisor with this request, he refused because
it was against company policy. I put this matter in prayer, and when it came
time to assign my housing, the human resources department offered me a
single apartment without my asking. God knew the desire of my heart and
granted my request.
Imagine what would happen if God gave us everything we asked for. Perhaps we’re angry with a
friend and say, "I wish he were dead"—and the friend falls over
and dies. Or we’re frustrated at work and say, "I wish I didn’t
have to work"—and we lose our job. It would be pretty frightening if
God answered every one of our requests.
For this reason, it’s important to seek God’s will when we pray. We should
not only ask for what we want, but also seek His will—His kingdom and
His righteousness. Jesus set the best example in the Garden of Gethsemane
when He asked God to remove the bitter cup. But Jesus prayed, "Not as
I will, but as You will."
In seeking God’s
will, His answer will be "yes" or "no" and sometimes
Luke 11 describes a
man who, in the middle of the night, goes knocking on his neighbor’s door
because he needs bread for a guest. Initially, the neighbor does not open
the door because he’s already in bed. But because the man keeps knocking
and knocking, his neighbor gets up and gives him "as many as he
This story teaches us the importance of persistence. When we pray
to God about something, we need to keep knocking on God’s door. If we pray
earnestly with persistence, God will open the door and give us "as
many as we need."
But persistence aloneis not enough. There’s one more condition for God
to open the door, and that is we must be holy. 1 Timothy 2:8 says, "I desire
therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and
If we are home alone
and a well-dressed man vs. a man with a shotgun came knocking on our door,
for whom would we more likely open the door? Probably not the man with a
shotgun. In the same way, we need to first we put away our anger, hatred,
and filth when we come knocking on God’s door. We need to make sure we are
holy because without holiness, we will not see God (Heb 12:14).
God's Communication with Us
There is a children’s hymn that goes, "Jesus is a gentleman, he never forces his way
in." Even though our Lord Jesus has all the power in the world, He
never forces His way into our lives. Though He knows what is best for us, He
does not force His will upon us. Instead, Jesus shows us His will by
"asking" us nicely through His Word, the Bible. If we want to hear
God’s voice, we have to read His book!
God also speaks to us
through the sermons at church. If we humble ourselves and listen carefully,
we can hear God’s voice through the voices of pastors and other speakers.
God may also speak to us through church literature, like magazines,
articles, booklets, and study guides.
Sometimes we may have
wandered so far from God that we don’t read the Bible anymore, and our
hearts may be darkened so that we can no longer hear His voice through
sermons or literature. During these times, God will come looking for us.
Luke 15: 4-10
describes a shepherd who leaves his ninety-nine sheep to look for the one
lost sheep. When he finds it, he lays it on his shoulder and carries it
home. He invites his friends to rejoice with him because this one sheep was
lost but now is found. This shepherd really loved this sheep. God loves us
as one of His precious sheep, and when we stray from His fold, He will come
looking for us. He will travel a great distance to look for us, to forgive
us, and to bring us back home.
God is spirit, so He
probably won’t physically go looking for us. However, God may come looking
for us through some important people in our life. Probably no one else loves
us more than our parents. No matter what we might have done, our parents
will always accept us and welcome us home. Besides our parents, God can also
come looking for us through spiritual friends, like church ministers, or our
brothers and sisters in Christ. These people genuinely care about our
spiritual well-being, and will come looking for us and will welcome us back
to God’s fold.
God wants to live in
our heart and be the king of our lives. But instead of forcing His way into
our life, He will stand at the door of our heart and knock until we open it.
Revelation 3:20 says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone
hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him,
and he with me."
How does God knock on
our door? The Holy Spirit knocks on the door of our heart; and if we open
it, God’s Spirit will come in and live in our heart. The Holy Spirit will
give us direction and strength to complete the journey of salvation. It will
also remind us of God’s great love and kindle the fire within us to work
But before the Holy Spirit comes into our heart, we must first clean
it up. No one likes to stay at a filthy, dirty, and smelly house. Similarly,
God’s Holy Spirit will only come in and stay if we first clean up our heart.
Satan's Communication with Us
No one likes to be
forced into doing anything; we all want to be asked nicely. We want to feel
like we are making decisions for ourselves. Satan is not stupid; he is
actually very crafty. He will subtly draw us away from God by asking us
nicely. He "asks" through the various temptations around us.
Satan did not say to Eve, "Eat that fruit or I’ll kill you." Had he
threatened Eve this way, she probably would have run the other way. Instead he asked her
nicely, telling her how beneficial it would be to break God’s rules. He
made her think it was her own decision, but it was really part of his plan.
"ask" us in the same nice and subtle way. He will use different
temptations to make us think how beneficial it might be to break the rules,
that it is okay to break God’s rules. He will make us think we’re making
our own decisions, but it’s all really a part of his plan.
The devil plants so
many temptations in our world: television, movies, music, literature, and
the Internet. Satan tempts us in any way he can because he wants us to
depart from God, to lose our eternal glory, and to suffer eternally with
him. Knowing his plan, we ought to be more watchful and ask for God’s help
to stand strong in God’s word.
As Christians, we may
be able to resist the temptations of this world and stay out of Satan’s
trap. But Satan does not give up there; he often comes seeking us. Satan
especially looks for us when we are most vulnerable. This may be late at
night when we are alone, when we are looking for something new to enjoy, or
when we are lonely. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us, "Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking
whom he may devour."
Since God and Satan
are two opposing forces, any time we are far from God, Satan will be seeking
us. Just as God does not physically come looking for us but seeks us through
the people around us, Satan often seeks us through the people we associate
with. People often say to us, "Try this—it’s really good," or
"Go see that—I think you’ll like it," or "Let’s go do
this or that."
invitation will come seeking us through people close to us—even family
members, friends, or church members. It is the invitation of our family and
friends that is the most difficult to say ‘no?to. But no matter who is
looking for us or inviting us—stranger, friend, family member, or even
church member, we need to distinguish whose invitation it’s really from:
God or Satan.
Just as God wants to
rule our heart, Satan wants to live in our heart and be the king of our
lives as well. In Matthew 12:43-45, Jesus says, "An unclean spirit goes
out of a man, looking for a place to live but found none. So it decides to
return to the house from which he came. When he comes, he finds it empty,
swept, and put in order. So he goes and takes with him seven other spirit
more wicked than himself and they entered and dwell there; and the last
state of that man is worse than the first."
It’s good that we
clean our heart, but we need to actively fill our heart with God’s Spirit,
otherwise Satan will come in again even worse than before. One or the other
will be the king of our heart and ruler of our life—God or Satan.
The last thing Satan
wants is for us to draw closer to God. The closer we are to God, the more
Satan wants to attack. Sometimes Satan will try to knock us down and make us
lose our faith in God by giving us tribulations and hardship. Other times he
will interfere with our spiritual growth, especially when we are preparing
ourselves to serve God.
There was a young
brother who, after attending a church seminar, resolved to live a holy life.
He decided to devote one hour a day to prayer and personal Bible study.
After he had done this for about one week, as he was about to fall asleep
one night he heard a noise in the living room. Then he immediately saw a
dark shadow move into his bedroom, and the shadow pressed down on him so he
couldn’t breathe. He had a hard time saying, "hallelujah," but
when he finally did so, the shadow went away. This brother knew in his heart
that Satan was trying to discourage him from leading a spiritual life.
A Two-way Street
We aren’t the only
ones asking, seeking, and knocking; God is also asking, seeking, and
knocking, and so is Satan. The communication is a two-way street.
easy to receive something from someone if they want the same thing for you.
For example, a teenager probably wouldn’t receive a motorcycle from his
parents, but he probably would receive a car, because safety is what his
parents would want for him. Today if we ask for worldly pleasures, we will
probably get it because that’s what Satan wants for us. On the other hand,
if we ask God for strength and wisdom in our spiritual journey, we will
receive these blessings because that’s what God wants for us. The secret
to receiving what we ask for is to ask for the things God wants us to
have--His kingdom, His righteousness, and His glory.
we feel lost and are looking for something, that something is probably
looking for us too. If we are seeking the pleasure of sin, it will probably
find us very quickly—and once it finds us, it will not easily let go.
However, if we earnestly seek God when we feel lost, God will also be
seeking for us, and will find us and bring us home. "Draw near to God,
and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8)
Knocking. When we really want something, we might knock on different
doors to find it. But
before we raise our hand to knock, we should ask ourselves, "Whose door
is this that I’m going to knock on? Jesus?or Satan’s?" Sometimes
the only thing between us and God, or us and Satan, is a door. We need to be
careful which door we decide to knock on.
No matter how far we
may drift from God, He is always asking us to come back to Him, seeking the
one sheep that has wandered away and knocking on our door so that we will
open our heart to Him. But Jesus will never force His way into our lives. We
also have to be willing to ask, to seek, and to knock as well. If the lost
sheep doesn’t want to be brought home, the shepherd will not drag it home.
If the prodigal son decides that he likes living with the pigs and doesn’t
leave his filthy lifestyle, he will never be able to live in His father’s
Jesus is there for
you; He has been there before, and He will be there again. The question is,
are you willing to ask, to seek, and to knock?