The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman
“For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
There is so much that I want to say about this passage and the ideas that are wrapped up in it. But I will only bore you with one of my ideas.
One of my college professors once told me, “The Holy Spirit is a gentleman.” What he meant was that God has given us the authority to make decisions in our lives. He will honor those decisions and allow us to play them out. The instances where he directly intervenes are few and far between. The Spirit doesn’t dishonor our decisions by forcing us into other thoughts, feelings, jobs, marriages, or lifestyles. He is a gentleman. He continues to work on us and move our hearts towards the Lord through careful prodding and provoking, but he doesn’t just walk all over us.
These thoughts surfaced as I began to read this passage and especially the key verse above. I began to think about what this statement is really saying. Obviously, God does not give us everything we ask for, especially when we ask with an impure motive. We don’t always find what we’re seeking, and the doors aren’t always opened for us. So I began to think, “Why don’t we always receive what we ask for when it says that we will? What does this verse really mean? What is Jesus really referring to?”
My first thoughts are these…
- When our choices conflict with our petitions, God honors our choices. For instance, a young man asks God to bring Him a godly woman to marry. He then makes the choice to go in search for such a woman in a racy, questionable bar. Of course, God could bring along the perfect woman to that bar to meet the young man. The likelihood, however, is that he won’t. Because God honors our choices. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman.
- Is this verse really referring to every prayer that we offer to God and every instance that we go in search for something? I’m not so sure. In light of the following verses, I would suggest that this verse is more of a encouragement to the crowd. Jesus says that though we are evil, we know how to give good gifts. Does not our God desire to give us good gifts as well? God desires to give us gifts, to shower blessings on us, to fulfill our heart’s desires, but he likes being asked and he likes being sought, and he likes being approached. God has specific gifts in mind for each of us and he likes to be asked by each of us for these gifts. In our need, we ask. In our need, he is glorified. In our need, his gifts are truly appreciated and fully utilized.
- This verse is certainly fulfilled when we ask for salvation. I’ve never heard or experienced God deny us forgiveness, mercy, grace, love, truth, or salvation when it was asked of Him. He gives these things freely. On the other hand, I’ve also never known God to deny us the choice to reject him, a lifestyle of godlessness, or the arrogance of idolatry. God will give us what we ask for.
- Who is to say that God has denied him? Does God not know what gifts to give better than us? We ask for healing and God denies it. He knows something we don’t know. Could he be giving us what is really best for us, even though we don’t realize it?
- God operates on His own time. The syntactical format of this verse hints a immediacy to us humans, at least. We ask and we should receive immediately. We seek and we should find immediately. We knock and doors should be flung open! But God has his own plan, his own timeline that (more often than not) supersedes our own.
While God is a gentleman and will not dishonor our choices and our decisions, he does desire to give us gifts and bless us richly. He waits for us to come to Him and sincerely request what he knows is best for us. I can’t say that coming to him with a sincere heart will always reap the gifts that you desire or that you think are best. I don’t know what He’ll do. He’s not a tame lion. But I do know that God has promised to give, to find, and to open the doors. It is an encouragement in this endeavor that I’m undertaking to read the Bible in its entirety and blog along the way. My goal is to have a better understanding of the truth in the Bible. I hope and pray that God will honor this and allow me to find the truth. I’m confident that the Holy Spirit will honor my choice and offer me the truth as a gift.
The Holy Spirit is a gentleman.