Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Asking—Why So Hard?

John 16:24–27: "Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God" (ESV).

Figures of speech are used to explain concepts otherwise difficult to grasp in plain language. Even with figures, however, there is no guarantee that one fully understands what is con-veyed. The "hour" of which Jesus spoke—when it will be no longer necessary to communicate in figures—has come. On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was sent to indwell each believer in accordance with the New Covenant promise of Ezekiel 36: 26, 27.

The Spirit is now the Interpreter of spiritual truth and the revealer of the unseen Father. On that basis, Jesus promised, "You will ask in my name." The implication is that we will have confidence to ask the Father for what we need. He also argues that the He will not need to convince the Father to hear us because the Father already loves us. What a glorious truth is this! Yet, for all the encouragement, we do not ask. Why?

Sanctification is a life-long process that seems to crawl in its momentum, often pausing and sometimes regressing. We become discouraged when we see so little change. This seeming stagnation of our spiritual progress contributes to our perception of our relationship with the Father. If we are not jumping spiritual hurdles, the Father must not be pleased with us, and, if so, we think that we have no right to ask Him for anything. However, at such times we must learn of the truth that Jesus gave us in John 16:24–27. We need to trust Him because He loves us still.

Another reason for our failure to ask is that we tend to be self-sufficient. We don’t need to ask because we can manage for ourselves. We are independent people and proud to be so. This attitude is at the very heart of our fallen nature. It keeps us from trusting the Lord and seeking to know His will for us in all the choices of life presenting themselves to us.

If my heart craves a thing, my mind justifies it and my will acts on it. However, the Holy Spirit nags at my conscience: "You need to ask the Father about this." But I am stubborn. This is what I want, and I can get it without Him. I do not ask. The Spirit is grieved, and my fellowship is strained. I do not have the joy that He promised. At this point, discipline kicks in if I am truly His, for He will have me to learn that trusting means asking, and asking brings fullness of joy.

1 comment:

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