“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” (Luke 11:11-13)
When I was a young Christian, this passage used to bother me. It seemed like Jesus was missing the point. I need food, a steady income, and good health. That’s what I need when I’m praying to God. So when I ask for these things, God’s going to give me the Holy Spirit instead? How is that going to help me? I’ll still be hungry, penniless and sick. God must not be paying attention… so I thought.
After I had done some growing in my walk with Him, it dawned on me: God is starting the list with the very best, the Holy Spirit—everything else is less.
The scriptural Rosetta Stone which helped me decipher the Luke passage is found in Matthew 6:31-33: “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Once we have committed our lives to God, He fills us with His Holy Spirit. If we remain obedient to Him by seeking Him above all else, every good thing will be given us in His perfect timing… not necessarily when we want it, but when it’s best for bringing us to wholeness in Him.
Laura Story sings one of my favorite Christian songs, called “Blessings,” about how the hardships of life are, in reality, God’s blessings in disguise. My favorite line is about how God loves us too much to give us healing when He has something better—He loves us too much to give us things which are less, although we frequently don’t see it for what it is at the time. And sometimes healing is the lesser thing when the pain is meant to develop us, to grow us in our maturity.
“…no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” (Psalm 84:11) Blameless in the biblical sense doesn’t mean flawless; rather it means having been forgiven by God. We are blameless because “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) From then on, He withholds no truly good thing, ever.
Walking with God, seeking the fullness that He gives to mankind, and trusting Him to give us the Holy Spirit—along with all things we will ever need—is a never-ending process. “…so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10 NLT)
© 2018 Darvis McCoy
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