Matthew 7: 7-12
Step 8: Make a list and be willing with God's help to make amends.
It is painful and we may still have fear, but we can do this successfully and be a healing and a relief. A huge load will be off your back as you embrace more freedom and joy in your Christian walk and in a life free from dependency.
Remember, prayer is not a vending machine where we can pick what we want, and what we want to do. Rather, it is the way of aligning our mindset with His. This passage has led many people to think that God is a divine bellhop who will give us what we seek and what we want if we just have enough faith. But, that is plainly not the message this passage gives to us. Yes, we are to seek, we are to knock, we are to be persistent with our prayers and amends. But, we are not to seek just to help our selfish concerns. Prayer is seeking the Son-ship and Lordship of Christ because He is in control, not just because of a friendship with Him. Prayer is the instrument for seeking how to get His Will done, not our will.
- Seeking to make amends is also part of the process of building character, and what we are to seek. God's concern is our character and maturity. This is of paramount importance in our ongoing recovery efforts.
- We are living in the Kingdom of God, as He is the King! The greatest gift we could ever receive, besides our salvation, is the Spirit!
- This passage is often referred to as the Golden rule. It has been said; he who has the gold makes the rules. And, if you consider that we own nothing, yet all of space, time, and eternity are His, then He has the gold and makes the rules. But golden rule means the "most important rule," as this passage is about the treatment of others. It all comes down to how you want to be treated, then treating others in that way. Of course, for this to work, you have to have a self esteem that is rooted in Christ and the character traits as prescribed by His Word (Gal 5)
- Do also to them-this was based on a common saying amongst many Jewish thinkers as well as Greek philosophers that goes back to the most ancient of literature. The saying was a negative statement that said; Do not do to others what you do not want done to you. Jesus replaces the emphasis as a positive obligation, based on God's goodness.
- In the process of our healing, Jesus asks us to do something positively to others: Do unto others what you want them to do to you! Our God is willing and able to give! He wants to give every good and perfect gift to you! It is up to us to ask so we can receive it! But, remember, we are always to seek what is according to His Will and character as the prime prize!
- Prayer is a relationship that builds, molds, and grows us deeper to His heart. It is not just an asking machine, even if you have right, pure motives, spending your time on intercession for others, as we all should. Jesus is telling us to keep on asking (inquiry), seeking (finding it) and knocking (then it will be opened to you so you can find it) and it will be given to you. Asking, plus action, plus perseverance equals the quest for character and growth to be a more mature Christian; it leads us to go deeper in our relationship to Him and others, and be of more use to God and others.
- This one rule summarizes what the Law and the Prophets were all about in human relating, just as the commandment Love your neighbor as yourself summed up the Law (Matt. 5:43-48; Rom. 13:8-10).
- This also applies to our outreach at the very least, when we are someone who is loving and caring, along with listening and positive, constructive encouragement is so needed (Gal. 6:1-2; Eph. 4:15; 2 Tim. 2:24-26)!
To make amends work, your prayer, accountability, motives, obedience, and persevering will be the key! Be in love with Christ. Seek His presence, and be persistent in your prayers. If you fear you will ask Him for the wrong thing, remember, we all do that. As you draw closer to Him, you will learn the right things to ask. Prayer is persistence and learning! And keep in mind that most people will not be positively responsive. You are not responsible how they respond; you are only responsible that you seek forgiveness. The people who will not receive it may not be ready yet; give it time and give it to God if they totally refuse. (Do not stalk or hound; once or twice is enough.) That is between them and God!
- If you could have whatever you wanted, and God gave it to you, what bearing, what impact would that have on your life and faith-or, would it be a hindrance?
- Have you ever thought through your dreams and wishes to their logical conclusion and impact? If so, what would you think they would be like from God's perspective?
- How much time do you spend in prayer? How much should you? What is in the way? How will prayer help you to make amends?
- Do you seek great things for yourself (Jer. 45:5)? How and why would this be beneficial to the Christian faith, and how, and why would it distract from God's Will?
- What do you think Jesus stresses in this passage? How would you put it in your own words?
- Read Psalm 1:1-3; 119:97-104. How does persistence have a significant bearing on receiving His blessings, being a blessing to others, and hearing His call? What about getting more out of the Word?
- What are the conditions we must meet in order to have our prayers answered? How will this help you in making amends?
- Do you feel confident that God has provided for you? How do you feel when you hear about Christians who do not have enough food, or even suffer and die for their faith?
- What is necessary for the Golden Rule to work perfectly? What keeps society from practicing it? What would you want done to you?
- Our God is willing and able to give! He wants to give to you every good and perfect gift! It is up to you to ask so you can receive it! What can you do to be better at asking?
- So how is your journey progressing with making amends? What do you need to be more successful? Remember: do not take it personally when people do not want to meet with you or accept your forgiveness. They may not be ready or have given up, but the fact you made an effort will have a lasting impression on them even if they do not say so or show it!
- Take your list review it to make sure no one is left out and continue to go for it!
Mediate on these passages for the next week or more: Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12-13; Heb. 12:1-2
© 1990, 2002, 2008, Dr. Richard J. Krejcir, Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership, www.churchleadership.org/