When We Hear What We Want
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
I once ordered one of those diets where they send you a big box of prepackaged meals. I saw the commercial and thought, This is what I need, someone else to do all the work for me. I’ll just eat what they say, and I’ll lose weight. This takes all the misery out of dieting!
It didn’t work. It wasn’t the diet company’s fault though. I thought it was going to be easy if someone did all the planning, but I failed to realize that the hardest part of losing weight was the self-control required to not eat everything else. Even though someone else did all the preparation, I still had to work for it. It wasn’t that the diet company lied to me. I just heard what I wanted to hear.
We do this with faith as well. When we read about Jesus healing the sick and when we hear that we are new creatures in Christ, we too, want the instant fix for all of our struggles. We mistakenly assume that like my diet plan, all the work is done for us. Believing in Christ means he automatically changes me, fixing all my problems. We hear what we want to hear.
While we are granted a new spiritual life when we come to God, and while we are given the freedom to follow him, we don’t now live on autopilot, with God doing everything. In today’s passage, Jesus explains where I went wrong with my diet and where we often go wrong in our faith.
In the passage, Jesus makes it clear that if we are in need, we must seek. If we are struggling, we must search for the solution. We need to read, pray, meditate, talk with others, and we must expend time and energy searching. If I’m enslaved to an addiction, I may have to go to treatment and I’ll need accountability/recovery meetings. If God feels distant, I must spend time pursuing him.
God offers freedom, but that freedom means we can still follow our persistent self-destructive appetites. If we want God, faith, life, joy, and recovery, then daily, we must desperately seek those things. Jesus insists that those who do the finding, are only those willing to do the seeking.