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The Transformational Gospel of Jesus #23: What are you asking your Father for? 

What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!  -Luke 11:11-13

I remember the look on Peter’s seven-year-old face when he found the Nintendo on a chair in the family room as a present for him one morning. It was  an amazed, radiant, excited, thankful kind of look that only a gift unexpected yet so wanted can bring out of a child.

Why did I give him this? My youngest son struggles with autism. I wanted to help him get as well as possible. I knew that this gift would help develop his hand-eye motor skills. It would also allow him to engage in social interaction with his siblings, helping to bring him out of his internal isolation. But most of all, I gave it to him because I love him.

As I write these blogs, I think about how much our Father loves us. Maybe you do not feel that you are loved all that much by God—and for good reason. You have tried to be good for God and failed many, many times. “How many chances is God going to give me?” you wonder. Perhaps you are ready for the blow to fall and have interpreted bad days in your life as the Father’s disgust with you.

How far does the love of the Father stretch? How deep does His love go in the face of our struggle to be good? Jesus came proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, which at its heart is about a Father who is love and who forgives those who put their faith in Him. Ever wonder how far that forgiveness goes in your case? From all that I can find in the Scriptures, it goes all the way to His plan to make you whole. He does not engage in bait-and-switch. Since He is saving you, He will save you completely. Not just someday in Heaven, but now, as you live out your life this side of eternity.

This is the part we forget. The Father desires—far more than any of us do—to transform us, to see us grow and develop in the ways He created us to be. And He is not just passively hoping that we will be changed. He is giving us His Spirit so that we will be changed and live obedient lives. But how does this actually work?

Here’s the point. Like everyone else, you are a mess. You resist the Father’s holy ways. But because you have put your faith in Jesus, you have realized that you want to be transformed, that you do not want to continue to be a mess. Jesus is saying that all it takes is asking the Father to do this in you and then trusting Him to do it. This is the point of Him giving you the Spirit. You do not have the ability to heal and deliver yourself from the damage of sin. But the Father deeply desires (“how much more” is Jesus’ way of saying this) to do this for you. He is a much better Father than I am, than you are.

If you have never asked the Father to do in you what you cannot do for yourself, ask Him now. Ask Him for His Spirit to work in you. And see for yourself why Jesus’ good news is transformational.

Steve Smith