God announces who He wants on His team

th-54Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

“Knock and the door will be opened to you.” What door? Well, we know it’s not the door of salvation, because that’s the door Jesus knocks on, as in, “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” (Revelation 2:20) That’s the door to our hearts. This is another door. This is a door we knock on, and it’s significant because this invitation is all about participation.

God employs our participation in getting His will done on earth as it is in heaven. Imagine that? He could have done this all by Himself, but He has chosen to involve us, His creation. He has given us a mind and a heart and a free will to decide whether or not we will participate. And when He says “knock,” I believe He means, “Knock!” Pound on the door if needs be!

This is not, “Tap, tap, tap, ‘Excuse me, Jesus. I know you’re busy, but …’” It’s more like, “Bam!, bam!, bam!, ‘Jesus, this pain is too great! You have to do something!’” or “Jesus, help me! I don’t know what I’m doing here!” or “Jesus, this door leads somewhere I need to go! Would you please open it?”

I am cursed with a passive/aggressive nature. Just ask my wife; she’ll tell you how difficult it is being married to me. I don’t like taking responsibility for decisions, but I will try and manipulate things so that the decision has already been made by the time I have to make it, just not by me. That way, if the decision doesn’t work out, I’m not to blame. It’s not my fault. Actually, “It’s not my fault” could be my middle name. This verse is especially good for people like me. It shows a very straightforward aggressive relationship with God as something He desires. He invites us to knock on the doors of our lives. My approach has been to wait until He opens a door and then walk through it, but this is not talking about walking through open doors; it’s about knocking on closed ones.

Remember the story Jesus told about the woman who was persistent in prayer and got what she was after? Or remember Jacob wrestling with the angel of the Lord for a blessing? Or how about Peter telling Jesus to invite him to walk to Him on the water (that’s right, it was all Peter’s idea)? God seems to enjoy the direct approach. We need not be afraid of offending Him.

Instead of being afraid of doing the wrong thing around God, we should be afraid of not doing anything around God. That would be worse. God wants a relationship. It’s the reason He made us. Miss this, and you miss the whole thing. This is why He invites us to ask, seek and knock. We are not puppets or clones. We are individuals, made in the image of God, seeking a relationship with God which He wants to have with us. This is what makes the Christian life mean something. God does not want a relationship with who we’re supposed to be. How boring is that? He wants a relationship with who we are. So go after it! He’s given us permission. He’s requesting this. Ask. Seek. Knock. Bam! Bam!

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4 Responses to God announces who He wants on His team

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    LOL, thx Pastor John 4 helping me to feel a lil bit better about my sometime consistently knocking or banging on a few doors – almost demanding they open, or God open’s them for me.. Many times I envision in my mind’s eyes God saying it’s that Mark again, go get an Angel to give him more question to ponder and maybe whisper a hint for him to find an answer to the other things.. 🙂
    PS also really enjoying and getting as lot out of your book: “True Believers Don’t Ask Why” (with the Don’t crossed out) Luv the format too, with short easy to read chapters!

  2. Tim says:

    This is good, solid teaching. Thank you John.
    One of my personal struggles with teachings about prayer is it feels to me we want a formula to manipulate God.
    We had a study about the prayer of Jabez in our church. I hated it.
    We already know what God wants, to love your neighbor as yourself.
    I don’t have to pray about it, I have to do it. Just do what you already know.
    One of the ways I love my neighbor is having a study group in our home that is open to everyone.
    My wife and I were invited to celebrate the first year anniversary of our county’s first legally married gay couple.
    When they came to our home the first time I didn’t have to pray about what to do. I through on more burgers and welcomed them to our, not just home, into our lives.
    Another no brainier way I share Gods love is giving to the Catch. I haven’t prayed about it, what’s to pray about?
    I read this everyday, I like John and Marti and I count on John to guide me safely toward a better relationship with God. I want to give, not to be blessed or to “plant a seed” but because It’s right.
    Sorry I may have drifted off topic a bit, I do that sometimes.
    So while we’re banging on doors we can also just do what we already know is right, love others.

    • Mark Seguin says:

      I loved the fact Tim you & your wife put on a few more burgers & welcomed that gay couple into your home! I think/believe that’s a great way to show God’s love…
      PS i asked a person on Facebook the other day that was so upset by our Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of gay marriage, I asked this person as politely as i could muster @ the time to plz consider giving me one verse either Old Testament or New that granted them, or anyone else the right to judge anyone? Naturally I’ve not ‘heard’ back from them in a few days…

  3. Am currently reading the book: “Left To Tell” – the story of Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Rwandan woman who discovered God during the mass slaughters of the Tutsi people by the hands of the Hutu government during the 1990’s.
    While being sheltered with several other Tutsi women at a Christian pastors home, a group of Hutu militia bent on murder burst into the pastors house searching for the women – who had barely enough time to escape into a small secret room (with only the thickness of a thin sheet of drywall to keep them hidden from their pursuers).
    Immaculée’s thoughts ran crazily and desperately as she heard the mob overturning furniture and shouting threats at the pastor and his family on the other side of the drywall.
    To keep from accidentally revealing their location due to crying in panic or terror, she clenched her Bible between her teeth and prayed – or as Immaculée phrased it, she “screamed silently”.
    In the midst of the tumult she describes how peace and comfort overtook her as if she were “dreaming a sweet dream of Jesus.”
    It was during this moment when, she writes:
    “’Then Jesus spoke: “Mountains are moved with faith, Immaculée, but if faith were easy, all the mountains would be gone. Trust in Me, and know that I will never leave you…
    Trust in Me, and you shall live.”’”

    I have a cynical tendency to believe that many of our prayers – at least in westernized society – are for God to relieve us from, what nowadays are termed, “first-world problems”.
    Granted, grave illnesses, dysfunctional relationships, vocational pursuits, insurmountable debts, shelter, food, clothing, etc. are serious issues that should be prayed about and dealt with in a patiently-wise and God-dependent manner.
    But how many of these burdens or afflictions are really within the realm of our ability and capacity to resolve through God’s guidance – not necessarily His immediate “miraculous” intervention – as well as through other peoples help?

    A lot of what plagues or bothers 21st Century Christians, I believe, can be addressed by putting into practice what the 1st Century Christians did as described in the second chapter of the Book of Acts:
    “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.
    And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
    (Acts 2:42-47)

    To me, Immaculée’ s story gets to the heart of the matter when it comes to asking, seeking, knocking – AND receiving from God what He most wants for us: LIFE.
    Life itself.
    Life plain and simple.
    Life challenged and victorious.
    Life unfiltered yet pure.
    Life eternal.
    Not the perks, trinkets, conveniences, comforts, or even shelter from unpleasant situations.
    Not taking each day for granted and expecting things should go our way because we proclaim to believe one way or another.
    But LIFE and what it means to be truly alive.
    God-filled abundant Life.
    From our first conscious breath that starts our day to our last thoughts before drifting off to sleep and everything that happens in between.
    Appreciating what God has granted or permitted us to experience regardless of what it is and the why’s or ways “it” came to us – and even thanking Him for “it”!
    Being willing to take up the praise of Job, “Blessed be the Name of the Lord…”
    Echoing Paul’s statement, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances…”
    Discovering and embracing the “Peace that transcends all understanding…”
    To be settled in our hearts, minds, and spirits with the blessed assurance that only God can provide.
    True Life.

    As part of daily prayers every morning, observant Jews say this:
    “Blessed are You, God, King of the universe, Who has given me all I need.”

    EVERYTHING we need for the place we are in life right now is already with us.
    So. as members of the Body of Christ, before we go looking for “buried treasure” elsewhere, we should try digging first within ourselves (our personal beings and our fellowship community). What can we find? God. Peace. Love. Fulfillment. It’s all inside. We only need to dig a little deeper to find that which we have been seeking all along.***

    And, after digging, should we still find ourselves in circumstances that threaten (or succeed in taking away) our comfort, health, security, loved ones, or even our very lives, then we still must not lose heart and faithfully hold onto the words that Jesus told Immaculée on that terror-filled day and tells each of us today:

    “Trust in Me, and know that I will never leave you…
    Trust in Me, and you shall live.”

    Thank you my Lord – Amen.

    When I often sign off with “Shalom”, it truly is a prayer for Peace – God’s Peace – to everyone in the Catch Community and whomever else may be patient enough to read through my long missives!
    Thank you, God bless you – and truly, honestly, with all my heart…

    Shalom!

    ***(Portions of this paragraph were excerpted from the Holy Land Moments Daily Devotional “Buried Treasure” – http://www.holylandmoments.org/uncategorized/buried-treasure)

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