Do You Want?
"Seek and ye shall find," Jesus tells us.
Do you want a million dollars? A new home? A Rolls Royce?
Perhaps your desires are a bit more personal. Maybe it's healing that you need. Or perhaps it's something as simple as peace of mind. These don't sound like too much to ask for, do they? Aren't these what Jesus offered, and gave freely when He was here on earth? Isn't He the Santa Clause that has nothing to do but fill our stockings with everything we want, as long as we have been a little more good than bad?
Matt 7: 7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
To begin with, Jesus is talking to the multitudes who are gathered around Him. It is the sermon we call the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:1 to 7:29)
In this sermon Jesus is telling us (along with the people gathered) all the things that we can receive. But along with all the getting are things we must do. And He said that everyone who hears His words and does them is like a man who builds his house on a rock, and those who don't do them is like a man who builds his house on sand. (Matt 7:24-27)
And elsewhere He adds what it is that God will give when we ask.
So, what is it you want? Is it things? Well, many preachers will tell you that to get, you have to give in order to get:
Luke 6:37Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
In other words, if you want something, you have to give that very same thing away.
And Jesus adds:
Matt 6: 1Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
And 2 Cor 9: 6But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
But not everyone wants things, there are many other desires and needs that one can seek.
First of all, let's look at what the church as a body of people (in contrast to a Body of Believers) has to offer. One thing it offers is fellowship. People can meet together with somewhat similar interests and share with one another the events of the past week or so. They can sing a few songs together, listen to the choir, and perhaps have a poem read by someone. And on certain occasions, they might even have a play or skit performed for them.
In other words, at the same time they have fellowship, they are being entertained.
So far the church differs little from a PTA meeting or a social club.
Usually in church you will have a sermon. There are three ways to accept this. You can either see it as punishment for your wrongdoings during the past week, or the suffering you are willing to endure for your family's sake, or you can sleep through it.
Perhaps you need more from your church experience. It's acceptance and recognition you need. Church can certainly supply these. Just being a member of the church affords you social acceptance. And as for recognition, you can be an usher, hand out songbooks or brochures, or even be a greeter at the door if you want to make sure everyone knows you are there.
Then, of course, you can work your way up to deacon, or if you are not politically minded, you can be a singer, or play the piano, or a myriad of other positions that need to be filled in the church.
Then again, maybe the function of the church has very little to do with why you belong. Maybe the particular church you chose has a good welfare system that takes care of their own.
(Keep in mind that I am referring to non-believers in the church at this time.)
The reason you are a Christian may range from your being brought up in a Christian church, or your wife, boss, or boyfriend is a Christian (which is also why you go to the particular denomination you do), to your having been healed by calling out to God and feel you "owe" it to Him. Or maybe you feel that having the Christian label is a little insurance against the "Fire Pit."
Whatever, the chances are you find the church experience about the same as the none-believers described above do.
You are what the church is all about.
Without you and your fellow soulmates the church you attend would just be a dead social gathering.
When the preacher preaches, or the teacher teaches, it is in your direction that he or she looks because they know you are listening intently.
It is now to you that I am directing what I have to say.
Do you wonder what it is that you are expected to do to receive what you have asked for?
"Keep me in your will! Give me purpose! Let me serve you. Anything else I do is just junk. And I've wasted too much time already. Give me any little job, but let me serve you and stay in the center of your will."
I yelled and I cried. (And still do) . And finally he let me see just how far out of His will I was, which is farther than I even realized.
First He dealt with my attitudes. One was my Critical Spirit. Verses pointing this out kept appearing before me. They were probably there before, but I didn't recognize that I was the one who was violating them.
And one of the biggest barriers to His will was my possessions. I own very little in comparison to most people, but I held it all closely. Little by little I had to let it go. Some I grit my teeth as I dumped it in the trash (or in a box for Goodwill), and some I even cried over. Some, like my computer, art, house and van I had to let go of in my heart, but not physically YET. But a storm, or theft, or fire could take them, and I know it would have little effect on me now.
Of course I had to start with the little things first, and work toward the big ones. But once I set my direction, and started moving, it got easier and easier.
Then I had the peace I sought.
The Lord was not the one who was keeping me from the peace I so desperately sought. It was ME. And along with me, it was the wall of possession, attitudes and ego I had built around me.
The Lord pointed out what I was doing wrong; but He left it up to me to do the tearing down of the wall.
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Joshua 1: 8This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Deut 11:13And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. 15And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. 16Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; 17And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.
18Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. 19And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: 21That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.
Phil 4: 6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
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