13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 1 John 5:13-15

It seems to me there were a number of times when Jesus said things like seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you, and whatever you ask of the Father in my name it shall be granted to you. What is different about this passage is all of the (if)s. “If we ask…,” “If we know…,” and the asking must be, “according to His will.” I see it this way. Through the work of the Holy Spirit and God’s sanctifying grace those of us who are dedicated to Christ out of love for Christ, are less and less able to want wrong things. The closer we are to Christ the less we want sinful things or actions. After all sin is that which puts distance between us and God. The closer we are to God the more we want to be close to God. This is good news. For those struggling with depression, substance abuse, or any other sin this is very good news. It means we are invited, welcomed, enabled to reach for something more fulfilling than our pain, than a good buzz, than satisfying the flesh. The good news is God has cleared the barriers to God’s love, grace and goodness. All we have to do is say yes. Asking God for relief from the world’s pain is wonderful because to do so means we are growing closer to God. When we are close to God we have God’s assurance and know it is what we should ask for.

Here’s one quick example. Think of helping a child learn to walk. There are two adults. One helping to hold the child up, and the other just a couple of feet away with arms held out waiting for the child. The parents encourage the child to step out. The parents encourage the child to go from one parent to the other. And when the child does step out the other parent is there to catch the child and hold them close. This is a terrific example of being drawn closer to God’s goodness, and wanting to be closer to God.

In His Peace,
Richard

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