God is all we need and he who has the Lord will also get groceries
Jesus establishes three spiritual laws pertaining to prayer. He says: “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.” (Matthew 7:7-8).
Asking and receiving
Believers’ need for things is met through prayer. The Lord is our shepherd, therefore he provides for us. Jesus asks: “What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:9-11).
God’s “good things” are different from man’s “good things.” The Lord says: “My thoughts and my ways are not like yours. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, my thoughts and my ways are higher than yours.” (Isaiah 55:8-9). An anonymous writer says: “I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong. I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve. I asked for prosperity and God gave me brawn and brains to work.”
“I asked for courage and God gave me dangers to overcome. I asked for patience and God placed me in situations where I was forced to wait. I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help. I asked for favors and God gave me opportunities. I asked for everything so I could enjoy life. Instead, He gave me life so I could enjoy everything. I received nothing I wanted, I received everything I needed.”
A child asks the father for what he cannot provide for himself. But many things in life don’t come merely through asking. If you are looking for oil in the Lake Chad Basin, you don’t merely ask for it: you seek the oil.
Seeking and finding
There is a big difference between asking and receiving and seeking and finding. What we ask for and receive is different from what we seek and find. We ask for things and receive things. But we seek God and his kingdom and receive the Lord himself.
True believers never seek things: only unbelievers do so. Believers ask for things. Things come to us just by the asking. But unbelievers seek things in order to get them.
The heavenly father gives good things to those who ask him. But he does not give things to those who seek him. Those who seek him are not looking for things. Those who seek him are looking for him. In the kingdom of God, we ask the Father for things and receive them. But we seek God himself and find him. When we become seekers, we stop asking for things: we receive things automatically.
Jesus says: “Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33).
Asking is a straightforward process. All it involves is the tabling of a demand. But seeking requires time and effort. When a believer has need for things, he simply asks God and receives them. However, unbelievers don’t have our heavenly Father; they only have earthly fathers. Therefore, they seek things. Unbelievers seek, search, pursue and actively strive in order to acquire things. They devote themselves to this endeavour. They work at it. They expend all their time and energy in the acquisition of things.
They seek promotion. They seek wealth. They seek riches. Unbelievers seek; they don’t ask. But believers don’t have the dog-eat-dog mentality of unbelievers. We don’t have to push, shove, lie, cheat, and employ all kinds of carnal tactics in order to get the things of this world. Believers do not seek the things of this world. Believers only seek God.
If we seek the Lord, we will find him. Therefore, we should not just seek redemption; we should seek the redeemer. We should not just seek forgiveness; we should seek the forgiver. We should not just seek blessings; we should seek the “blesser.” Believers are of the generation of Jacob; the generation of those who seek the Lord; who seek his face. (Psalm 24:6).
A child’s relationship with his father might initially only be devoted to getting things from him. When sees his father, he asks him for money; for clothes; for shoes. But sooner than later, he should come to the father for the sake of the father. He should come to see the father because he wants to have a relationship with him.
He should come to see the father because he likes the father. He should come to see the father because he wants to talk to him. Accordingly, his relationship would graduate from asking for things to seeking the Lord. When we seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all other things are added to us without our having to ask for them. God is all we need and he who has the Lord also gets groceries.
Knocking and entering
But there is an even more excellent way, and that is the way of knocking. The kingdom principle says: “Knock and it shall be opened to you.” There is a distinct difference between seeking and knocking, just as there is a difference between asking and seeking.
Asking is easy. Seeking requires some effort. Knocking, on the other hand, is insistent and persistent. He that seeks, finds. He that knocks has found whom he is seeking.
When we knock, a door of entrance is opened to us. When we knock, we have already found the person we are looking for. When we knock, it is because we know where God lives and want to enter into his presence. When we knock, we enter into his fullness and into his life. When we knock, it is no longer Christ in us, but us in Christ. It is a wonderful and magnificent mystery: “Christ in you the hope of glory.”
When we knock and enter, we put on the Lord Jesus. When we knock, we put on the new man which is created after God in true righteousness and holiness. In short, the whole point of our walk with God is that we become what we contain.
“While in bed at night, I reached for the one I love with heart and soul. I looked for him, but he wasn’t there. So I searched through the town for the one I love. I looked on every street, but he wasn’t there. I even asked the guards patrolling the town, ‘Have you seen the one I love so much?’ Right after that, I found him. I held him and would not let go until I had taken him to the home of my mother.” (Song of Solomon 3:1-4).