Saturday, February 2, 2008

Guarantee #9: Ask and Get!

The guarantee reads: If I can get another Christian to agree with me, then I know God will give what I ask.

There are many verses that would seemingly support this guarantee, two of the most popular are:

Matthew 18:19-20: Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Matthew 7:7: Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 

Are these scriptures true? Yes. Are they guarantees? I don't think so, but they're often taught as such. What's the difference? 

Might it be: Is the believer using these verses as some kind of magical formula to get what he or she wants? Or, are these verses part of the believer's belief system along with the entire teaching of scripture and the basis for his or her faith? It makes a real difference.

I've been in many church groups where the group is told that the leaders prayed about it and God told them (fill in the blank), and that ends it. Again, it seems this truth might be being used to control a group or to get what is wanted. How often have I heard "God told me…" and anyone who speaks after that is going against God's Word (so it seems).

I ask myself why am I writing this post? My answer (to myself ;-) is to address the misuses and abuses of promises in the scripture that are true. 

Yes, these scriptures are promises, but they need to be taken in context and applied within the scope of the entire scripture revelation. Many say to just believe the promises, have faith. But the scripture says that faith is the victory; i.e., faith itself, not what belief brings. I don't hear that quoted or taught very often.

There are books and pamphlets that list all the promises of scripture and it seems you can use these references as you would a dictionary. Just look up your need, find the promise, claim it, find someone to pray it for you, and you have it. Voilá! Who wouldn't buy into this? Is this really the teaching of scripture?

I close with the verses in Hebrews 11 that I've quoted before–at the beginning of the chapter of the heroes of faith verse 13 "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, …" and then again at the end of the chapter verse 39 "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:…" But, remember these people are listed as heroes of faith.

Our heroes of faith did not receive what had been promised, but they are known for their faith.

So what does this mean for us? Am I to have faith? Am I to claim promises? Am I to trust God? Am I to pray believing God hears and answers? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Just don't say it is a guarantee that God will deliver. 

What the scriptures seem to teach overall is that God is in charge and He knows what's best for us and He is with us and He loves us. Trust Him and live your life with that knowledge as foundational.


Perfectly His said...

So true! This also reminds me of the good saying I've heard: "If it's the Lord's will" - I've heard this is such a light manner I've always wonder if people really spend the extra time to seek his direction from making decisions.

Thanks for the post!


DT Boy said...

My wife and I have recently had to work through some these very same issues. There are numerous verses in Scripture that tell us that good health and healthy babies are gifts to the faithful. In October/November of last year we experienced our 2nd miscarriage.

Did this mean we were not faithful enough? Did God's Word lie? No and No. It is hard for me to full explain the story here but needless to say our conclusion was simply that life and death are truly in the hands of the Master. We also realized that our latest miscarriage (Airen) completely fulfilled her purpose in life and how many of us can truly say that. How many of us can say that we accomplished everything God wanted us to do.

You can read more about our story here.

Rebel4Reality said...

Thanks for commenting. I think sometimes religious phrases become part of a person's language that are uses without thinking, much as the phrase, "you know." And then I do think there are people who use phrases like "the Lord told me" or "it's the Lord's will" to control or manipulate a situation. I've experienced that many times in meetings. I can't say what a person's motive is, but from an outward observance that seems to be what's happening.

dt boy,
I went to your blog and read your posts. Thanks for suggesting it here and thanks for sharing. It always helps me to know where a person is coming from and how certain situations are handled. You let others in on a difficult situation you and your wife are experiencing. Sharing your walk is very helpful to others. Thanks.

Rex Ray said...

Our church went to Colorado to help build a church. The existing church was a large trailer house that was being rocked by a strong wind, and our young daughter stayed in the car and would not join us.

“I’m not coming in! You think just because this is a church you think God won’t let it blown over!

“No! You don’t understand! We need your weight to help keep it from being blown over!”

She joined us but still looked worried. The next year it did blow over with no one in it.

Mary, I hear what you’re saying. God is God on his terms…not ours. He does make a promise though; if we obey our parents our days will be long.

Of course, there are other factors that may inter in.

It was nice what you said about my name.