When we ask…

1 John 5:14-15

14 Beloved: We have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours.

There’s a slight but important difference between the verses above and the famous verse Matthew 7:7:

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

The gospel verse is more famous because it has been repeatedly told in the homilies of priest, stickers or posters and even in most inspirational/motivational speeches of speakers. As famous as it is, there’s actually a condition to the things that we ask or pray for and this is the one mentioned in the verse of 1 John, “if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

People may fret and say “it’s not asking for anything if it needs to be approved.” At first glance, it may seem that way but in reality it is not. God wants us to ask for anything that will be good for us, to ask for anything that won’t negatively affect others. Why? Because that’s how much God loves us all, this is His will. If He doesn’t love us, He wouldn’t have made any conditions and allow us to suffer the consequences of what we ask for.

Now that we know this condition, we are now being called to claim what we have prayed for as stated in verse 15. This is something that we must consistently do. Oftentimes we let despair rule over us and we pray like it’s even impossible for God to do. The moment we ask something from Him is the moment that we start believing in our hearts that it will be granted to us no matter how impossible it may seem. It’s a defining moment of our faith and affirmation to God’s greatness.

Advertisements

The call to be good

1 Peter 3:8-10

8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.10 For the one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.

These verses tell us how God wants us to live. These verses focus on the behavior that allows us to fulfill the 10 commandments in its entirety. Is it easy to be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted and humble in spirit? Definitely not.

As humans, it’s easier for us to behave and respond badly when people don’t treat us good than to be kind and sympathetic to people whether the treatment to us is good or bad. That’s the nature of this world. Most of the time we are only respondents and not initiators of goodness and love. If we don’t receive love then we don’t give love. There are many daily examples of these. One good example is riding the MRT. People would squeeze themselves through the door in the expense of hurting other people. They don’t care treating each other well because they only think about getting to their destination without delay.

How then can we behave the way these verses tell us? There’s a two-step process to do it. First, is to be understanding. People around us have their own stories to tell. Stories that hold the reason why they behave the way they are. We don’t have control over other people’s behavior. We can’t tell them to be fine when they’re all hurting inside. Second, is to be an initiator. Since we can’t control other people, good attitude then must come from us. It’s not our loss nor the other person if we don’t get the same treatment. In fact, there’s something to gain out of it for both us and the other party. He gets to be treated good even if he doesn’t deserve it and we ourselves can be happy because we have risen above the standards of this world.

Whenever we are afflicted or confused on what to do, it’s always good to refer to the best example of the behaviors stated in the verses above. This person is none other than Jesus. Yes, He maybe God but even He believes that we can behave just like Him.

God calls us to be good because that’s how He made us…

In the end, everything will be fine…

1 Cor. 10:13

No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it.

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible primarily because of how it shows one of the practical examples how God loves us. This verse can be perceived in many ways, but for now I’ll take the approach of taking the 3 basic points it presents.

Trial

This verse assures us that the trials we experience whether they’re easy or tough are also the same problems that all other people encounter. It’s a comforting thought especially when you know someone or hear stories of people overcoming those trials. This also tells us that we won’t ever encounter problems like how to save the mankind from sin. Just human problems. No more, no less. So before we utter negative remarks or even curses because of a predicament it’s good to remember that you’re not the only one in that kind of situation and that you’re having a human problem.

God is Faithful

The events of the old testament have shown that God is protective of us and in this verse it specifically states that we’ll not be tempted beyond our capabilities. Thus, whatever it is that we face, even if we think it’s insurmountable, it’s still something that we can overcome. This goes without saying that we won’t be experiencing all the hurts and heartaches there is, yet each trial would still shake our being. The difficulty of each trial depends on what we can do and what God wants us to become. Yes, each trial is difficult. But…

There’s an Answer

The last statement, “but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it,”  is the most uplifting part. God provides us with the answer to our problems or temptations. Very clear but let me highlight the last part “so that you may be able to bear it”. Indeed, it means that because of God’s grace we are able to have the answer to our problems and thus we can bear the pain that comes with the problem, but there is more to it than just the solution provided. It just means that when we have the solution ready, the problem won’t immediately disappear but we’d be able to persist until such time when the transformation within us is complete. If this doesn’t happen, then the problem will surely reoccur over and over. Yes, God provides the answer but the question is whether we really want to use it  or not? And if we do, are we really using it correctly?

Our problems are humanly possible to be solved.

They don’t go beyond our capabilities.

God provides a way out for each problem.

In the end, everything will be fine.