Its not unusual to hear comments and sermons on Matthew 7. It’s been my experience that most of those messages, usually centered around the context of the Sermon on the Mount, often break chapter 7 into segments that seem to have flow. More often than not, verses 7-12 are spoken of with little regard to the overall context of the sermon and consequently lose the flow. Usually, the verses are spoken of with regard to prayer and the requests and petitions we make of God. That’s not incorrect per se, but it does seem a bit short sighted with regard to the context.
If we understand theses verses, those of the entire chapter, as a winding down of the “sermon” in its entirety, then it offers a glimpse of what may have been Christ’s true intent with these words. Having set the standards for what it means to be citizens of the kingdom with everything from personal attributes (beatitudes) to the challenge of forgiving it now becomes imperative to know how one acquires, maintains, and passes on (disciples) these qualities. It is through prayer. It is with asking, seeking and knocking that one finds both the source of these attributes and the means of fleshing them out.
When we realize this – or may I say – when I realized this and began to understand it, I soon found a new source of excitement and energy knowing that the focus is not that of a gimme prayer as it is a make-me prayer. The only way to gravitate and actuate the character expected as a citizen of the kingdom is through asking, seeking and knocking. Knowing that my Father, on a much different scale than earthly fathers who are “evil”, knows what I need before I ask him and is more than inclined to mold me and make me into a member of the kingdom that would bring him glory and honor. In fact, it is this kind character molding that – by God’s grace – will equip me to enter through the “narrow gate.”
I always enjoy finding new things in Scripture, but this is one was especially nice. Now I must ask, seek and knock that I might find the strength and courage to grow as a result.