God’s Children Should Ask for the Spirit to Live the Christian Life
We see the context of these promises. They are found at the close of a sermon of our Lord on the most difficult thing any Christian will ever be asked to do, namely, to pray. Jesus begins by teaching the disciples the Lord’s Prayer. Then He gives them a simple parable to make prayer come alive. Finally, He makes these great promises that God hears us when we ask, sees us when we seek, and opens to us when we knock. We are kind to our children, but how much kinder is our heavenly Father to those who ask Him for His Spirit? The road is exceedingly long and is hard-going. Disciples must love God with all their hearts and love their neighbors as themselves, and never stop. They must present their bodies as living sacrifices to God every day. They must be filled with the Spirit. They must take up their crosses, deny themselves, and follow the Lord.
The Christian life is one of great ethical stringency; it is one of severe, demanding, relentless, and arduous labor. The burden we bear is heavy, and we who are strong must bear the burdens of the weak. The Lord Jesus lays down principle upon principle, precept upon precept, regarding church life, family life, life before the watching world, and life with enemies, and He tells them this is the road to heaven; it is the only road. They are starting to think, “Who then can be saved? How can any man live like this?” That is why He ends His sermon with our text: “Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it will be opened to you. Seek the grace to pray as I have taught you, to obey this principle and attend to these standards.”
We often forget that the energy to live the Christian life comes to us by the Holy Spirit. We look at the Christian ethic and the issue of holiness of life, and we are often overwhelmed by our failures: “Lord, I cannot be that kind of Christian. I cannot be a preacher. I cannot be a husband. I cannot be a church member. I cannot, Lord.” We are told that the Savior knew what men were thinking, and with His teaching on the life of prayer, He is encouraging the disciples with this great promise. He can read their thoughts: “The things He demands from us are impossible!” So, Jesus says to them: “Ask…seek…knock, and you will get what you want. Ask for the Spirit of God to assist you.” The Christian life is not an impossibly unattainable life. It is the road stretching out before each one of us who is a child of God. It is the only road to glory, and if we are not walking it we will not reach glory. When the Lord teaches us about praying, it is not in order that we should admire the meditative life, but so that we live it and follow it.
The Beauty and Glory of the Holy Spirit
Edited by Joel R. Beeke