Written Word

Signs and Wonders: False or Genuine? – Part 4

There is no doubt that God wants us to live pure lives and has provided divine power for that purpose. Then why do we fail so often? If God is so powerful why as we doing so badly?

Since sins of a sexual nature are pleasurable, we must ask ourselves if we really want to live a pure life. Do we want to give up our sinful ways? When we honestly answer the question we may have to begin by asking God to give us the desire to be pure; sometimes the desire to be pure is absent. Having done that we move on to asking God to help us be pure.

The Persistent Friend

Jesus had encouraging words to say about asking God for help. He told the story of a man who received unexpected guests. Having nothing to set before them he went to his friend to request some bread. It was midnight. His knocking on the door of his friend’s home met with a cold reception: “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.” But he was not taking no for an answer. He kept making his request and was eventually given some bread. Jesus said, “I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is a friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”

What follows is a very familiar passage to most of us, but it is interesting here to see it in context: “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10) He is saying that we must keep on (that is what it literally means) asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking until we get our request. It was not friendship that obtained the bread for “the midnight caller”; it was persistency. And this is how Jesus said we should make our requests to God: be persistent!

Why does God want us to be persistent? Why not grant our request the first time we ask? That’s a fair question. Let me answer by way of an illustration. When your child asks you for a new bicycle, do you immediately buy one for him? Probably not. (And your refusal does not call into question your generosity or your love for your child.) The next day, the next week, the next month he is making the same request. He is persistent; in fact, that’s all he talks about. Soon it will be his birthday. What do you think you will give him for his present? You will give him a bicycle. Why? Because he has demonstrated by his persistency that a bicycle is what he wants.

The Greatest Gift

To further reinforce the point that God wants us to be persistent, Jesus speaks of a father responding with good gifts to a request from his child and 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:12-13) If good gifts are given by us who are evil, how much more can we expect from our Father who is infinitely holy! Asking the Father for the Holy Spirit is asking that the Spirit’s work become more and more evident in our life. In our request we are saying, “Lord I want my life to be under the Spirit’s control, under his holy influence. I cannot live holy, I cannot keep my thoughts pure, I cannot keep my life free of immorality, I fail repeatedly, I lust frequently, and now I am asking that you do in my life what I am incapable of doing. I want to be everything you have called me to be. And I am asking for help.” And Jesus said that our heavenly Father will hear our prayer and give the greatest gift possible to his pleading child – the Holy Spirit, whose ministry is to enable us live holy and win the struggle against impurity.

No one has to be sin’s permanent victim. We have Jesus’ word on that.