Table of contents
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. “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
The foundation of the Kingdom of God is an unshakable JOY that GROWS from the bottom up.
Overall Commentary: 🌎
Jesus has been setting order from chaos by telling us how His Kingdom reigns over all. In Chapter 5, Jesus teaches us that joy grows when we take personal responsibility. In Chapter 6, Jesus teaches us that joy grows when we see God as our Father and let that knowledge order our lives. Now, Jesus pivots to the final major topic of His sermon: How to live in community together.
Jesus says unshakable joy grows as we walk together by WALKING WITH GOD.
I have read this passage all my life but never saw it until now.
When we read this passage within the context of the chapter, this might be one of the most encouraging chapters in the entire sermon of Jesus.
This passage is jammed right between the difficult task of doing life with one another in the context of the Christian community.
Before this text, Jesus talks about how we do not cast judgment on people's motives, but we are supposed to evaluate actions so we can serve.
After this text, Jesus will discuss discerning between true and false prophets. He will also talk about taking the narrow road. How are supposed to do this? How are we supposed to distinguish the real from the counterfeit? How are supposed to survive the treacherous road of "others?" With Him! God never intended for us to do this thing called life alone. He Never Ever intended for us to do "life with others" alone. He is the one who walks with us and leads us as we walk with others. We are intended to walk through this Christian life with our neighbor in one hand and Jesus in the other.
Verses 7-8: We walk with God in CONTINUAL FELLOWSHIP.
Cross-references: Matthew 21:22, 1 John 3;22, John 15:7, Mark 11:24, Psalm 145:18-19, John 15:16, Jeremiah 33:3, Psalm 81:10, Luke 23:42-43, Matthew 15:22-28, Acts 9:11, John 3:8-10, 2 Chronicles 33:19
Keep on...- The greek wording here is a present verb meaning the prayer is to be a continual cycle. Never finished. Never exhausted. The act of never feelings as though you run out of opportunities.
Jesus immediately jumps from not "casting our pearls before swine" to telling us how to manage it... with Him. We walk with God by being in continual fellowship with Him. Many have taken this text to mean various levels of petitioning before God. That may be the case. I see this as the act of never thinking God is not concerned about the multiple areas of our life. Whether we need to ask our Good Father a question, seek His guidance, or ask for His practical help in what directions to take and what doors to "knock" on, He is always there and interested in us. Jesus said, our primary goal in life is to...
(James 15:5) Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
Jesus didn't say our goal as Christians was to strive to accomplish great things. Our goal is to seek Him. In seeking Him, we run straight toward all He has for us. Yes, God may want to do great things in your life. However, the "great things" is left up to Him. We choose faithfulness. God determines fruitfulness. We may desire one thing, and God may want something more extraordinary. Therefore, we stay connected to Him and allow Him to choose our "greatness."
(Hebrews 4:16) Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Since we have such access, Jesus says we should bring God everything in our lives and ask our Heavenly Father about all aspects of our lives without worrying about wearing out our welcome.
Ask- God wants to be part of the CONVERSATION.
God is never too busy for you. Before you take your conversation to your neighbor, take it to the Lord. He wants to talk to You.
Seek- God wants to be part of the JOURNEY.
So much of life is about walking the path and hoping it is right. Many times we don't know. We hope. Don't do this alone. God wants to join the journey of your life. Think about it from the Garden of Eden. All the way from the beginning, your Heavenly Father created us for a relationship. He does not desire to be distant. He wants to be part of the journey.
Knock- God wants to be part of the slow PROCESS.
The idea of knocking means you are uncertain of the outcome. It is the idea of coming up on a closed door and hoping for the best. When I was in sales, I never knew what I would get on the other side of a closed door. It might be a great experience, and it might be something else. The only thing I knew is I was going to have to keep on knocking. The journey of discovery and trying things out is a long process, and God wants to be there for everything.
Joy grows as I realize God wants me.
Verses 9-11: We walk with God in CONFIDENT RELATIONSHIP.
Cross-references: Luke 11:11-13, James 1:17, Romans 8:32, Psalm 84:11, Isaiah 49:15, Ephesians 2:1-5, 1 John 3:1, Psalm 86:15, 1 John 4:10, 2 Corinthians 9:8-15, Micah 7:18, Titus 3:3-7
Bread-Stone: The typical barely loaves look similar to a medium-sized smooth rock and could be mistaken for bread until held in your hand.
Fish-Snake: One of the most common types of fish in the area was long and could be mistaken for a snake. Therefore, Jesus is making a comparison that the audience could identify with. It was trading something trusted for something dangerous.
Jesus illustrates the point of being in a continual relationship with our Heavenly Father with a humorous example. Imagine the scene. A kid comes up to their parent and asks for something to eat. Instead of getting a sandwich, they get a rock. The story gets dark when the kid asks for a fish but gets something dangerous.
Jesus uses this analogy to say that we don't get things right most of the time. We still know this is unacceptable. If we do this, how much more does our Heavenly Father want good things for us?
How do you see God? The first thing He says that makes a big difference is how He frames our Heavenly Father. He calls Him good. How you see God makes a huge difference.
Good- Completely decent and wholly without negative motives.
Do you see Him as an old grandfather figure? If so, you may think of God as a wise old sage but not much fun.
Do you see Him as a Judge? If so, you may think of Him as just but not kind.
Do you see Him as a gentle friend? If so, that's nice, but is He strong enough for your greatest struggles?
How do you see God? God's Word says...
(1 John 3:1a) See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!
In various places, God's Word says we can receive anything we ask for with enough faith. This has caused some to think that God will give you anything you want if you are willing to believe hard enough. This can easily slip into fallacy because it puts God under your will and makes you the leader in the relationship.
Faith does play a part, but it does play the only factor.
God is the primary say in what He does and why. Here is a trustworthy scripture:
(1 John 5:14) This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
Here is the truth:
God answers EVERY prayer according to His GOODNESS.
He answers EVERY prayer with one of three answers:
Everyone loves the first one.
Everyone thinks God has made a mistake with the second one.
The third one is downright rude. Ha.
The truth is we have to remember we have a Good Father. This means He will always do what is right, not what is easy. God's Word says:
(Romans 8:28) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
We love this verse, but we sometimes forget that it all works out for "His Purpose," which is the best thing. I cannot tell you how many prayers I have prayed that I am so glad God did not answer. At the time, it seemed like the best idea ever. Only with time did I realize how bad it was... but He knew.
Joy grows as I realize my Father knows best.
Verse 12: We walk with God and GIVE WHAT I HAVE RECEIVED.
Cross-references: Luke 6:31, Romans 13:8-10, Mark 12:29-34, Leviticus 19:18, Galatians 5:13-14, Matthew 22:39-40, 1 Timothy 1:5, Micah 6:8, Zechariah 8:16-17, Amos 5:14-15
This verse is often called the "Golden Rule." This is likely because Jesus says this rule will cover most of everything else. You're already halfway there if you treat others how you want to be treated.
Maybe it's just me, but have you ever noticed how hard it can be to do? This "golden rule" sounds good, but it's hard when others are not doing it. How about when you choose to take the high road, but they are gossiping? What about when you decide to serve, but they choose to take?
How do we do this? We do this by remembering who our Heavenly Father is and that He works in our lives. It may stink to be abused by others, but our Heavenly Father does not ignore us. He is walking with us. He is working with us. Therefore, we take the stance of a child and do what we see our Father doing.
(Ephesians 5:1-2) Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
How do we treat others as we want to be treated? What did our Heavenly Father do for us?
- Look for a NEED.
Our Heavenly Father saw us and saw our need. We were hopelessly lost in our sins and couldn't even begin to find our way out. We have the opportunity to follow Him. Where in your life do you see a need? Maybe you have a skill someone else needs Maybe you have time to walk with someone. Where do you see a need you can fill?
2. Look at what you HAVE.
Our Heavenly Father saw that He could make a difference. We couldn't save ourselves, but He could through His Son Jesus. What do you have? How can you fill the need you see? Remember, you are not worried about your turn or why someone isn't meeting your need. Someone is. His Name is Jesus.
3. Look for the NEXT STEP.
Our Heavenly Father sent Jesus to pay the price we couldn't pay. O what a Savior! Isn't He wonderful! What about you? What could your next step be to make a difference in someone's life? When you do that for others as you wish they would do for you, you are imitating your Heavenly Father. He sees you. He knows you. He is proud of you. He is working through you. You are more loved than you can imagine. It is from that position of love that we serve others.
Joy grows as I am honored to be someone's miracle.
Questions/Journal Prompts for reflection:
- Have you ever thought you were supposed to “do life” alone?
- What does it mean that God wants to be part of your life?
- Is it hard to trust in God’s “goodness?”
- What is a need you see you can fill?
Resources For Further Study
- Ask, Seek, Knock (Tony Evans)
- Matthew 7:7-11 (Begin in the Word)
- Ask, Seek, Knock (Jentezen Franklin)
- Is Matthew 7:7 the Most Encouraging Bible Verse?
- Daily Reflection - Matthew 7:7-12 - AlmuSaita
- Asking, Seeking, Knocking (David Guzik)
- Matthew 7:7-12- iPray
- Start Loving (John Macarthur)
- The Good Gifts of Our Good God