Today's scripture focus passage: Luke 11:11-13
Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”Jesus has just finished teaching the disciples how to pray. After the example of prayer He's given them, He emphasizes the importance of petitioning God, making our requests to Him. He reassures His disciples, "who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened."
God WANTS us to ask for things.
But so often we mistake this to mean things we think will make our lives easier, more comfortable, more enjoyable. Then we get upset with God or even go so far as to abandon our faith because God isn't coming through for us.
God promises us good things. We're reminded here that even the worst of the worst know how to give good gifts to their kids and would never knowingly give something that wouldn't satisfy their child's longings. Knowing God is perfect in every possible way, knowing He's the Creator of the universe, the King of Kings, we KNOW gifts from Him are beyond measure.
But He specifically tells us here what we really need to ask Him for is to be filled with His Holy Spirit.
I will confess, I have never caught that phrase in reading this passage before. In fact, I had this post finished until I was looking for a graphic to put at the end and saw this one:
...and had to rewrite almost the whole thing. Because I thought, what translation is that?? It doesn't say anything about asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit! And then I read ~ REALLY read ~ the passage as I'd copied and pasted above and realized I'd been missing the point all these years.
I, like I believe so many do, fall into the trap of expecting temporal things that we can measure with time, health, money, comfort, and relationships when we're asking, seeking, and knocking, instead of measuring them with eternity and what's really important before we get there. God wants our deepest desire to be Him and when we ask Him for that, He will ALWAYS give us what we ask.
Jesus tells us what request needs to matter most to us: having the Holy Spirit. To be so filled that we overflow.
We fill our lives with SO many things of our own doing. Are we continually asking and letting God fill us with Himself? Are we filled to overflowing? Are we so saturated that when trouble comes and we are squeezed by life, He's what comes out?
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year reading: Galatians 5; Psalm 146; Job 23-24
Tomorrow's scripture focus passage: Luke 11:14-23
Weird how I missed that too...it IS the Holy Spirit that we should be praying for and the Holy Spirit is not something that I grew up thinking was a major part of a relationship with Jesus...well, it was and wasn't (tough to explain). This passage, and your discussion of it, reemphasized for me the need to lay down my life...everything...all that I have been holding on to, praying for desperately. What if it is the Holy Spirit that I need, that I should be praying for (and this passage says exactly that)...not all these other things or feelings or relationships? Thanks for the reminder, Tammi. God knows exactly what I need and it is definitely more of HIM...and less of me.
I think we've missed it because the parallel passage in Matthew is a bit different, and we just gloss over this one!
I liked MacArthur's point about this as well.....
It doesn't say you ask for the Holy Spirit necessarily. It says "Give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him." When you go to ask God for whatever you ask God for, whatever it is, God gives you the Holy Spirit. Let me show you what I mean. You ask for comfort, He gave you the Comforter, right? You ask for help, He gave you the Helper. You ask for truth, He gave you the Truth teacher. You ask for power, He gave you the Spirit of power. You ask for wisdom, He gave you the Spirit of wisdom. You ask for guidance, He gave you the Guide. You ask for love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control and He gave you the Spirit whose fruit was released in your life.
You see, this is the generosity of God. You ask for the gift, He gives the giver. You ask for the effect, He gives the cause. You ask for the product, He gives the source. Is that generosity? He gives you according to His riches, not out of His riches. You ask God, as it were, going to the bank, you ask for some money, He gives you the bank. That's the point. I'll just give you the Holy Spirit, then you've got it all because out of the Holy Spirit comes power. Out of the Holy Spirit comes the anointing which teaches you all things. Out of the Holy Spirit comes the giftedness, out of the Holy Spirit comes the fruit, out of the Holy Spirit comes the direction and the guidance. From the work of the Holy Spirit comes everything. Out of the Holy Spirit comes intercession on your behalf so that all things work together for good.....
He not only gives you the good gifts, but He plants in you permanently the source of every one of them.
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