God our Father
As is my habit of trying to make sense of so much of the bible, and Pastor’s teachings, I make comments and ask commoner questions through most of the blogs. This one, however, is so personal that to add anything beyond this brief paragraph would be taking away instead of adding. Here is Pastor, in his words.
Pastor, “I love to provide for my children, and my grandchildren. As I am putting this together I just received a call from my daughter, Mary, to stop by and look in on Lindsay today, as she is still home sick, and Mary has to go to class.
“What time,” I asked, “are you leaving the house?”
She said, “Around 7:30, but you don’t have to be here till about 10 or 10:30.”
I thought to myself, what nonsense is this? This is my baby! I will be there right away and I will stay with her until you get back. That’s what fathers and grandfathers do for their family. Whatever it takes!
This relationship with my daughters and granddaughters help me understand Luke 11. Listen to what Jesus says there:
11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;
12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
The context of Luke 11 is Jesus teaching on prayer. He is saying that when we pray for the Father’s provision, we will find that His provision is good. And the more He provides for us, the more we will trust Him as our Father.
But the last part of the passage is where I have always been confused. You see, Jesus makes a similar statement over in Matthew 7, where He says:
if you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!
Did you notice the difference there at the end?
In Luke, our Father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit to us when we ask Him.
In Matthew, our father will give good gifts to us when we ask Him.
To me, the Matthew version makes more sense. When we pray, God gives us good gifts, just as an earthly father gives good gifts to his children.
But why does Luke 11 refer to the Father giving the Holy Spirit? To be honest with you, I used to think, what if I wasn’t asking for the Holy Spirit? What if I was asking for something else? Why does Jesus say the Father gives the Holy Spirit in response to our prayers?
The answer to this question uncovers the beauty of the Spirit of God in our lives.
Think about it this way…
Maybe you’re going through a struggle in your life. A tragedy strikes you or someone close to you, and you are hurting. So you go to God in prayer, and ask Him to comfort you.
Do you realize what God does?
He doesn’t give you comfort. Instead he gives you the Holy Spirit, who is called the Comforter. The Holy Spirit literally comes to dwell in you and puts the very comfort of Christ inside you as you walk through your pain.
Suppose another time you’re making a big decision in your life, and you need help. You have a couple of different options before you, and you need guidance to decide which way is best. So you ask God for help. But He doesn’t answer with guidance.
Do you realize what God does?
He answers by sending the Holy Spirit, who is our guide. God sends the Helper, who will live in you and not only tell you what decision to make but also enable you to make that decision.
Another time you need discernment, and God gives you the Spirit of Wisdom.
At another time you need strength, and God gives you the Spirit of Power.
Still another time you ask God for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control,
and He gives you the Spirit, who makes all these things a reality in your life.
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, the Helper, the Guide, and the very Presence of God living in you.
This is the great promise of God in prayer.
We ask God for gifts in prayer, and he gives us the Giver.
We ask God for supply, and he gives us the source.
We ask God for money, and He doesn’t give us cash;
instead, so to speak, He gives us the bank!
When you really contemplate, this seems bold, doesn’t it? To go to God and say, God I know you’re busy running the universe and keeping all of creation alive, but I have this problem in my life. And, God, I don’t really want comfort for the moment, I don’t really want guidance for the moment. Would You… Would You just come down, live in me, and walk through this for me? Is it pushing the envelope to ask the God of the universe to come down and take residence in you and me?
What Jesus is saying, though, is that God our Father delights in this. He delights in giving us Himself. He puts His very Power in us so we might have all we need to accomplish His purposes in this world. This is the heart of Jesus’ promise to the disciples in John 14, the promise that proceeds His promise about the Holy Spirit: I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I’ve been doing. He will do even greater than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son might bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it.
Do you think Jesus really means this? Even greater things than He did? Anything we ask?
Jesus absolutely means this. Now, this is not a genie in a bottle approach to God that assumes He is ready to grant our every wish. But is a rock-solid promise that the resources of heaven are ready and waiting for people of God who desire to make much of Him in this world. For the people of God who long to see His power at work and who live to see His purpose is accomplished, He will give us abundantly everything we need according to
His very presence alive in us.