Jesus’ teaching on asking, seeking, and knocking is often associated with prayer; however, while this teaching does impact how we should pray, Jesus is actually giving us a new script for belonging and being together.
In a world defined by scarcity, we need strategies for getting what we need. If there is only so much to go around, then it’s up to us to navigate acquiring what we need to flourish. As a result, this scarcity worldview comes to define us, and it commodifies relationships. Through this lens we see our neighbors as either vehicles or obstacles. We can use them to get what we need or else they’re of little value to us.
Simply put, a scarcity worldview leads us to dehumanize each other. Our best imagination for relationship is to move each other around like pieces on a chessboard in an attempt to secure victory for ourselves. Seen this way, our interactions with others (or how well we play the game) come to define our identity.
Jesus completely upends this scarcity worldview in Matthew 7. He proclaims the good news that God is our loving Father and he wants to give us good gifts. A proper understanding of who God is (a loving Father) and who we are (his sons and daughters) obliterates this scarcity worldview. Jesus is inviting us to trust his goodness by simply asking him for what we need. Instead of demanding, defending, and deceiving – instead of playing the game – we are free to simply ask for what we need.
This freedom to simply ask has beautiful implications for what our life together in the kingdom looks like. Jesus is calling us out of win-lose relationships and into vulnerability with one another. You are free from having to facilitate your own belonging. Instead of your identity being defined by your next interaction with someone else, your next interaction can be defined by your already settled identity. You are a son/daughter of the Creator. Your belonging is a settled issue.
May you rest in the knowledge that your acceptance and belonging is settled – you are God’s son/daughter. He is always with you and everything that is His belongs to you.