1 John 3:22
 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (ESV)
Let's be honest. You read the first words of this verse and you got a little greedy. "Whatever we ask we receive from him." It sounds almost like a guaranteed Christmas wish list, doesn't it? I imagine that the average person can ask for a lot of things. And many of the things that we would ask for are things we need like food, clothing, health, and other kinds of necessary provision. Granted, we might ask for some other goodies as well. So, what is John really saying here.
I want to start by defining what John is not saying in this verse. John is not espousing a "Blab it and Grab it" theology. We do not just bark at God and he has to come running and give us whatever we want. John is also not promoting a theology that says if you did not get what you wanted from God you obviously do not have enough faith. But, let's look at what John is saying.
John is describing RELATIONSHIP. If we are keeping his commandments and doing what pleases him we are clearly walking in relationship with him. And as we walk with him we will know what he wants for us and what he does not want for us. The one who only goes to God with demands, but never spends time with him is also not going to receive what they ask because they will ask with wrong motivations, from a wrong heart, and outside of relationship. But, if we are in right relationship with God we will know his heart and ask him for things in accordance with what we know he desires for us.
Let me close today with this example. My father tells a story of when he was a Bible College student. He and my mother had no money and were just about completely out of food. He knelt down beside the bed and said to the Lord, "I know that you have called me here. If you have called me here to starve I will do it, but please provide for our need." Within the hour there was a knock at the door. Bags of groceries were on the doorstep. Included in those bags was my father and mother's favorite candy bar. Our loving father will give us whatever we ask as we are walking in right relationship with him.
What do you truly need from the Lord? Draw close to him. Love him. Learn of him from his Holy Word. When you have a need ask. You will receive.
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