Header Graphic
Devotions > Earning and Asking

16 Mar 2014

Recently I have become more aware of the tension we believers in Jesus Christ are exposed to in this world.  While these tensions are many faceted today we will look only at a thin slice, the lies of earning and deserving.   The world has a strong magnetic pull toward the values of earning and deserving.   

We quite naturally think that we deserve various things but at other times we believe that we do not deserve certain other things.   For example one of the most prevalent lies of this world is that we do not deserve the amazing love of God.   

Of course there are many other lies that the world promotes and proffers.    These lies are often related to our intellect or our strength, some aspect of status or the shape of our bodies.  The world has a masterful way of defining most of us as failures in some arena or another. 

Then there are the lies of the world that say we do deserve.   For example consider the lie we deserve a break today.  Or the lie that we deserve to be employed in a job that pays well and allows for two cars and a good sized house.   Of course if our job is not at this level we are then told the lie that we deserve these things anyway and we can have them for a few dollars down and a few hundred dollars per month.  

We are told by this world that what we can see and touch and smell is all that exists.   In addition this world says don’t worry about what comes next, now is all that really counts.   Live for the now and let later take care of itself.  Instant gratification is the mantra of this world.  

As a result of partially or fully believing these and similar lies we collectively spend millions of dollars every month trying to either feel good about ourselves or trying to impress someone else who does not care that we appear better or bigger or richer than we really are. 

This may be a decent description of a dilapidated rat race.   We enter this race based on our belief of the lies of this world and gladly pay the expensive and ever expanding entry fees as we continue to believe.

The ideas and values that flow from the perspective of earning and deserving are very strong.   They are everywhere subtly placing into bondage our minds, our pocketbooks, and our time and more importantly our hearts.  

God is not the author of earn and deserve.   These values come from the world and the flesh and our arch enemy.   This trio has been very effective in their comprehensive campaign to champion these destructive values.   Earning is not bad in itself.   But earning is not a part of the currency of heaven.   As to deserving we only really deserve death.   Yes, from heaven’s perspective instantaneous and excruciating death is what we deserve.   Therefore if we truly deserve death, what can we earn?   We cannot in truth earn respect.   We cannot earn genuine honor.   We cannot earn eternal life.   Could it be true that we can only earn death?   The wages of sin is death … (Rom 6:23a)

The currency of heaven is faith.    We must believe in order to receive.   Believing and receiving have their birth in the very nature of our great giving God.

God instructs us to ask!

 Luke 11:9-13 (AMP) 
So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. 
10 For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened. 
11 What father among you, if his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone; or if he 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, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!

Matthew Henry has insightful direction concerning this passage :

 “Note, The gift of the Holy Ghost is a gift we are every one of us concerned earnestly and constantly to pray for……”

Do you have the habit of asking and continuing to ask for the filling and control of the Spirit?  Are you constantly and earnestly concerned as to if you are under the Spirit’s control?   Jesus’ direction is to ask and keep on asking!   

Mark 9:21-24 (NASB77) 
21 And He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. 
22 "And it has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" 
23 And Jesus said to him, "'If You can!' All things are possible to him who believes." 
24 Immediately the boy's father cried out and began saying, "I do believe; help my unbelief."

Asking may not always be valid evidence of believing.  We see that in the scripture above Jesus took exception to the father’s statement which was in actuality a question …. “if you can.”   When this father realized that his faith was critical he immediately began to cry out for Jesus to help him more deeply believe.

Believing is critical to receiving.   We will not receive from our God what we do not believe.

Receiving by faith brings glory to God.

Luke 18:40-43 (NASB95) 
40 And Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him; and when he came near, He questioned him, 
41 "What do you want Me to do for you?" And he said, "Lord, I want to regain my sight!" 
42 And Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well." 
43 Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God. (emphasis added)

The Holy Spirit also instructed us to ask through the writer of the Book of James.

James 1:5-8 (NASB95) 
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 
But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 
For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 
being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. ( emphasis added)

From this short passage we can find at least two primary teachings:  First we should ask for wisdom.  The question is phrased by James “ if any of you lacks wisdom”    This is a whale of an understatement.   What one of us earth dwellers ever has enough wisdom?  

How can we believe that we truly know how things actually work together or what we should do next?   This kind of thinking must surely be the height of all arrogance!   Yes we all need the wisdom that comes from the Source of all wisdom and we need it all the time.   This wisdom from above is the wisdom that knows what will be and how it will impact every other thing that has happened or will ever happen!

The second thought: we must ask in faith.    That is we must ask.  And our asking must be from a viewpoint of faith.    It is clear from this scripture that if we ask in faith we will have the requested wisdom without complaint and in ample supply.

In summary we must reject the lies called earning and deserving, and we must embrace the truth of heaven, the unmerited bounty of receiving by faith-filled asking. This heart perspective is greatly encouraged as we grasp who we really are and Who God in actuality IS.

Having entered this wonderful kingdom of believing and receiving there are two very important areas to begin our focus.   Each day and every hour if not more often ask for the filling of the Holy Spirit.   This may test your theology.  But consider the Amplified Bible’s translation of the original …..  Luke 11:13b “how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”

 At the same time or even more frequently ask for wisdom in everything you are attempting.   Our lives can be transformed simply by asking in faith believing when our heart’s desire is to bring glory to our God.   We have not because we ask not.  God is waiting for us to ask in faith believing!

Jeff Williams