This is one of the most important concepts in Christianity IMO: You have to want things and you have to ask for them.
(PLEASE NOTE;: If you're in a bad place and you can't want or ask, then of course God knows what you need and will provide it for you. But His intention is that we mature into sons and daughters and receive His inheritance).
It's His intention that we get what we ask for. Why? Because if the world worked only according to His wants and needs, here are some things that would never have happened:
- the fall and separation of humanity from Him would not have happened
- sin and death would not have entered the world
- the Israelites would not have botched it on occassion
- He would not have destroyed cities
These are a few of the things that would not have happened if the world ran according to God's will.
Bad things would not have happened to you if the people around you did not have their own will. So bad do things happen. If they have happened to you, I am sad about that. It's happened to me too, and many others too.
God has the ability to fix and heal things. Why hasn't He already? Why is it so slow? Why does it seem to never happen for some people? Sometimes we don't really want it. Sometimes if we do want it, we only want some of it and not all of it. Maybe we lose interest or patience in the process. Maybe the cost of getting what we want is too high.
Reality check 1: if God was going to zap the world and deal with things, He would have done it the second after Adam and Eve munched the fruit. He didn't. Get over it! 🙂 Consider reading: Why did He let it happen?
Reality check 2: we get what we ask for. So if you want to walk like Jesus did, then you need to ask for that. If you want more of the Holy Spirit in your life, then ask for that. If you want healing in your life, then ask for that.
Reality check 3: if you ask for bigger things (like emotional/character things), they take longer and you may have to keep on asking. I see it as climbing up a diving board ladder. As long as you keep climbing (asking) you will go higher (get more). When you decide to stop climbing (asking) you will jump from that level (get what you have asked for so far).
The reason for this is simple: if you ask for something enormous, we may not want to push through to the end and we stop asking along the way. We will receive what we asked for.
Easy example: This morning I asked God for a parking space in an area where there is no dust, because I cleaned my car last night. I didn't have to wait years for this request – it was fulfilled within moments of me arriving in the car park.
Not so easy example: I want to bless people through our business, so I pray that God will bless this business with $100 million. His reply seems to be: be faithful with the small amounts and He will bless me with gradually bigger amounts. If small amounts overwhelm me, if I don't pay taxes, if I am tempted to spend it madly on myself – then it's just as well that He keeps working on me (as a person) until I have the character to handle bigger amounts.
Harder example: when asking to lose lots of weight (fat) it takes much more time because there are many things that may have to change in our thinking, expectations and relationships. Here are some:
- self confidence and esteem (grow a positive identity)
- learn how to choose good friendships and maintain them (health)
- develop self control (to not over-eat)
- receive healing (to stop the swing from emotional pain to eating for pleasure)
- learn to handle situations where I used to get hurt (but through growth I will now overcome)
- understanding my bio chemistry ("what do you mean fat is not good for me?")
- understanding myself and my needs (if you're a people-person, why do a computer job!)
- get a right understanding of Him (that He is not a dominating, controlling Father, but a loving one)
So if you're going to ask God to help you lose lots of weight, be prepared for Him to heal you and to grow many different aspects of your personality along the way. It will take time. Knock and keep on knocking. Ask and keep on asking.
Very hard example: In the same way, if you ask for the big one (e.g. to walk like Jesus) then there is even more change required in you. Apart from all of the above items, you can add:
- loving those who persecute you (this requires a great sense of security in your own identity)
- a soft heart (someone who has mercy and love for others)
- a deep relationship with God and a friendship with the Holy Spirit to guide you
- courage, persistence, character for when the enemy comes against you – and he will
For this request, to walk like Jesus, you will need to knock and keep on knocking, ask and keep on asking. Not every day, but every week or month – just to let God know you still want this.
The disciples said to Jesus: but this seems to be too hard for people to do, then who can do it? Jesus replied: what is impossible for people is possible for God. Praise God… you just need to ask for it and want it – He can do it in you.
Perhaps pray this with me:
Lord Jesus, I want to walk as You did. I know I am saved. I will be with You in eternity. That's fabulous. Now what do I do with the rest of my life here on earth? So please make me. Shape me. Soften my heart. Guide me. Reveal Yourself to me. Use me. Show me how to walk as You did. Help me do the things that are impossible for me to do.