How Do I Ask?

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“Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe?”  (John 16:31)

It’s so easy to think I see something when I really don’t.  Sometimes we see what’s not really there and sometimes we don’t see what is really there.  And here the disciples are, basically saying, “Oh, now we get what You are telling us and now we really get who You are, Jesus.”  But as sure as they are, You aren’t as confident in their seeing and believing.  As a matter of fact, You tell them that soon they will be all scattered and leave You alone, only You won’t be alone, because the Father is always with You, even when we aren’t.  But even when You tell us You don’t have confidence in us, and even when You reprimand us, or exhort us, You still have a way of encouraging us along in You and drawing us into the peace that is only in You.

So, today, I’m still looking at “pisteuo”, “believing.”   Or maybe I’m looking at what that believing looks like and responds like.  I’m looking at what Your perception of believing looks like and not my perception or the person’s next to me, no matter how spiritually mature they may be.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m listening to them, even if they are less spiritually mature, because You can teach anyone a lesson from Your grace before You’ve taught it to me.  But I can’t base my belief on them or their belief.  I have to know that this is what You are teaching.  I have to know that it comes from You.  Because You alone are the only One I am to believe in.  You alone are the only One worthy of my trust.

Now, I suggest anyone else reading this, go back and read this chapter.  It’s not easy stuff.  I’m not so sure that I would say what the disciples did about knowing what You were talking about, because I’m struggling with it and asking for You, by the power of Your Holy Spirit which You shared about in this passage, to guide me into all the truth, because I can’t get there on my own.  I mean, Lord, to take Your words and Your actions, and to truly understand in a way that it is translated correctly into my life and comes out Your way, is impossible aside from a miracle.  But thank God You provided that miracle through Your sacrificial death and resurrection and the imparting of the Holy Spirit.

So, when I put my trust in You, when I see my desperate need for You for my fellowship with God and to fill my emptiness and make me whole and what I was created to be, You declare Your Self to me.  But Your declaring isn’t just telling.  Your declaring is telling and showing and transforming.  Because the fact of the matter is that because of sin, I am no longer “naturally” like You.  Outside of You, I can’t glorify You.  You must take from that which is You, which is Yours, and all that You are and declare it in my life.  You must take Yourself and make it shout out of me. 

The word translated as “declare” here is “anaggello.”  In the King James Version it’s translated as “show”.  And it does mean that but then it also carries this idea “‘to come from one place to another, and used both of persons arriving and of those returning’ and to appear, make one’s appearance, come before the public.'”( http://www.whatjesusreallysaid.com)  So, that tells me that the Holy Spirit isn’t “just saying.”  The Holy Spirit is as personal as personal can get with Jesus, with God.  He takes exactly what He knows from the Father and now He comes to me and He shares that with me.  And then the Holy Spirit doesn’t stop there.  He GUIDES me into understanding.  He is my own personal tutor, whether He just uses His words, or He adds to that situations in my life, and even adding people to my life.  Whatever it takes to get me there, to understanding and living it out, He gets me there by guiding me there personally.  Back and forth to the Father He goes and back to me until I get and then back and forth forever to continually keep me where I need to be. 

Thank You Holy Spirit.  Because when I come to verses like this- “In that day you will ask nothing of me.  Truly, Truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, He will give it to you.  Until now you have asked nothing in My name.  Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”  (John 16:23,24)   I can come to You and say, “Help me!”  I mean, if this has to do with my faith, with my believing, then I need to really understand it, not just say I do.  And how can I ask nothing one second, and then be told to ask in the next?  Doesn’t that seem like a contradiction?  But what if it only seems like a contradiction because I don’t really understand Your words?  What if I really understood what You were telling me?  Would it be different then?  What do You mean?

“In that day you will ask nothing of me….Until now you have asked nothing in my name.”  This is not a contradiction though they are two very different words for asking.  But there is a change, no, a transformation in the asking.  The first asking that was going on, but the asking that would change once they really understood and believed, is the Greek word “erotao.”  You might use that when asking a question.  It’s like a “friend making an urgent appeal to a friend.”  It expresses familiarity.  It might be that you are seeking information or making intercessory prayer.  It implies an equality, like that of the Father and the Son.

And here You are saying, this is how you’ve been handling asking things, but this isn’t the way you will remain asking.  Your asking will change.  You haven’t been asking in this way yet, in the way that You will receive what has already been authorized.  And that’s the point of “aiteo” asking.  English translates it as “ask” or “desire” but that doesn’t do the word justice.  And it doesn’t do Your intent justice either.  But seekers search out Your intent.  And You say that those who seek WILL find.  Which is really awesome because that’s really what this is all about in a sense!  Because this asking is all about asking or demanding “of one in authority because the one made a promise based on requirements, and now the requirements have been met so the one is now to give the desired promise.  It also includes an intensity or focus in your desire to see the request fulfilled.” (Donald Mann)  And here we have it.  You have said that this is the way it will be when we respond in certain ways.  Everything that You have said, I can count on You fulfilling.  So to know Your words means everything to my faith.  Because I can take what You have declared and shown and say, “Now, Lord, this is what You have promised, I’m laying this before You because You must be true to Your Word and You always will be.  And when I ask that which You have authorized, You WILL give it to me.” 

But if I want that which You have authorized, I better know, I mean REALLY know, what You have authorized.  And I better be responding to the “requirements” asked of me.  Because if I haven’t met the requirements, I don’t get the authorization.  And there is a big difference between how I ask a friend and how I ask an authority with power.  And though You are my Friend, You are always more than my Friend, because You are my God.  You are not just my Friend; You are my Supreme Potentate, my King, my God.

I can take heart in this.  You have overcome the world.  You have even overcome my own heart.  And I am so overjoyed to be overcome and overwhelmed by You.  I am so glad that You are more than my Friend.  Because it is so reassuring to know that You are my God.  I love to say that.  I love to know that.  because what a friend doesn’t have the authority to do, You do.  You are always in charge, always in control, to the minutest detail in my life, always handling things rightly, always guiding and directing and working things out for my benefit because that is for Your glory.  Hmmm.  It brings glory to You to change me.  How wonderful that the Supreme Potentate, the King of Kings, that God Himself, takes the time to change me!  And who am I that You should notice me?  I mean, really?  And I need a lot of changing.  No, I need even more.  I need total transformation.  And it has to do with my believing and the way I ask.

So, Lord, it’s like every day with You is a start to some new treasure or some deeper treasure.  I never stop needing You; I never stop needing Your transformation.  I need Your Word.  I need Your Spirit to give me eyes to see.  I need other believers to help me in that process.   I need them as You work in them.  I need the trials You put in my life that You use to help me see what I need to ask for as I learn my need to rely on You.  I need to see the shortcomings, no, let’s call it what it really is, the sin that still lingers, that I try to clothe as something else, like justification or whatever.  I need today.  I need the things You’ve been laying on my heart recently and before.  I need the conversations of yesterday.  I need the truths in the worship songs song last night.  But I need them because of the way that You are in them and I must have You because You are fulness of joy.  Continually give me ears to hear and a heart to respond to Your Word and Your Spirit.  And teach me to ask rightly, because more than anything, I want You and what You want and I want to be right in You.

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