Today’s Reading: Matthew 18-20
Today’s Reflection: Matthew 18:18-19
18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
This is one of the most profound statements Jesus made to His disciples, and by extension makes to each of us as well. What we ask in Jesus name will be granted.
John 16:23b-24 – 23b) Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24) Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Furthermore, what we bind and loose here on earth will be reflected in heaven. We, as disciples of Christ, acting here in our temporal world actually have an impact on the eternal world of the spiritual realm.
But does this mean that we will receive whatever we ask for? I think that we as Christians already know this is not the case. And is our power to bind and loose absolute? I know churches that actually believe the pronouncements of their ruling bodies can change God’s law and determine the eternal destiny of people—whether they can be saved or lost. Could this really be true? And if so, what would this mean where God’s grace, mercy and role as ultimate judge are concerned?
The word clearly tells us that not all who ask of God receive what they ask. So what distinguishes those who receive what they ask and those who do not?
James 4:1-10 – 1) What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2) You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3) You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4) You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5) Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6) But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8) Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9) Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
It is those who submit and humble themselves before God, who turn away from evil, who are cleansed and purified, and who turn away from the double-mindedness of trying to have both sin and righteousness and choose to follow God wholeheartedly. These are those who ask of God and receive what they ask, because they have been taught how and what to ask for as guided by the Holy Spirit.
John 14:26 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
God is happy to give us what He has prepared for us to receive, but we must get to know Him to find out what it is. As a friend in ministry likes to say “when your will becomes God’s will for you, then you will have your will.”