Asking God to 'Rub It In': Applying the Gospel to Our Hearts - Part Two (Final)Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Last week, I began the two part post series on this topic (click here to see part one). The last post introduced the concept or thought that there is often times a disconnect between our gospel beliefs and our gospel living. This disconnect comes from a lack of 'rubbing in' the gospel into our souls. This is a work we must perform, and we often call it meditation. But it is also a work God must perform, for until He presses or rubs into our hearts the wonder, beauty, glory and awesomeness His sovereign and free forgiveness and love, then we will have nothing to rub into our hearts.
What then is the work that we must perform when it comes to the truths of the gospel? Once more, it is simply asking God to apply those truths more and more, deeper and deeper, until it takes hold of us and shows itself in our thinking, feeling and living. Yet this asking is not so simple, is it? Such a simple thing it is, yet such a difficult task it is. It becomes a wearisome thing to flesh and blood to continue to ask for something that we have yet to receive. Yet this is the work of prayer. Amen?
In Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus was preaching on effective prayer in His Sermon on the Mount. Luke 11 records another time when Jesus taught the same truths. After repeating the model prayer for them in verses 2-4, He told them a story about a man who had come from a journey and had decided to lodge with a friend. When he arrived, the friend wanted to give him something to eat, but he had no bread. It was the middle of the night, however. That didn’t stop the man! He went knocking on door after door, on each neighbor’s house, asking the same thing,
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks.”
Now there’s the promise for you, beloved! If you have wondered why the truths of the gospel are not yet taking hold of you, it is because you have probably stopped asking, seeking, and knocking. Jesus promises you that you will get what you ask for, find what you seek, and walk through that open door you’ve been knocking on.
And what is it you should be asking, seeking, and knocking for? Jesus tells us in verses 11-13.
“You fathers – if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.”
These gospel truths are more precious than anything you own. Yet it seems, if you’re like me, that you work harder to own things that are far less precious. We work harder to own our houses and cars than we do to own the gospel. We work many more hours to pay for and enjoy our vacations than we do to obtain and enjoy the truths of the gospel. God has done His work of giving them to you. But there is hard work left for you to do.
He has done the most difficult work of dying for you to forgive you and save you. Now, the difficult task of asking God to rub those truths into your heart and mind through the Holy Spirit belongs to you. And that difficult task is as simple as praying.
Yet praying is as difficult as asking, seeking, and knocking until you get what you ask for – the mysterious work of the Spirit in which He takes the gospel truths and convinces you of them so that you feel, think and live differently, loving holiness and conquering sin. Now to my simple yet difficult work of praying for you diligently that you would pursue this course in your life!
But in your asking, ask as James says, with faith, not doubting. Believe God will answer your request. Do you think that He desires for His Son to be loved, adored, worship, glorified, and honored and yet not also give His Spirit to us to enable us to do so? So pray as Augustine prayed,
"Grant what thou commandest, and command what thou wilt."