By Gerald Cowan
There are many ways of asking for things. You do not always have to express yourself in words. Attitudes and actions can also be effective ways to ask for things. We do not always get what we want, and we do not always want what we get. But much of what comes to us we get because, in one way or another, we have been asking for it.
Let me offer some examples which prove the point. Driving recklessly or too fast is asking for a ticket, or an accident. Eating too much is asking for indigestion, or a weight problem. Dressing immodestly or indecently is asking for an insult, or an assault. Prying too closely into the affairs of others may be asking for trouble. Do you get the point now? The results or consequences may be “built in” to certain attitudes, actions, and words.
Sometimes we do not know what we are asking for because we have not taken time to see that certain attitudes and actions have predictable and sometimes inevitable consequences. Some people are severely critical of others, always “giving them a good tongue lashing” or “giving them a piece of my mind” (too often done by people who can’t really spare it). They are jealous and suspicious of everyone. They may not know it, but they are asking to be left alone, to be isolated and avoided by others. Some are generous and kind, thoughtful and unselfish. They may not be consciously seeking friends, but their way of life is asking for love, friendship, acceptance, approval, and appreciation. They are asking for fellowship and companionship, and get it.
Have you ever thought that some are asking for heaven and others are asking for hell? In the case of those who are asking for hell it is probably not conscious or deliberate. They may be unaware of it. They may even be asking for heaven with their mouths. But their way of life asks for hell, and that is what they will get. Those who are asking for heaven do so consciously and deliberately. They are trying to arrange their lives so that their words, attitudes, and actions all ask for the same thing – the hope held out to us by Jesus. Read 1 John 2:28-3:2, especially 3:2. “Everyone who has this hope set on him purifies himself in the same way that the Lord is pure.” The pure ones shall receive heaven, not because they hope and not just because they speak words of desire, but because they do what is needed to receive the hoped-for thing that is promised. We are admonished to live a life that is worthy of the gospel (Phil. 1:27, Eph. 4:1, Col. 3:2-4) – seeking to take our place with Jesus Christ, spiritually and potentially at present, but literally and eternally later.
What are you asking for in life? Random living holds no hope of eternal good. Do not drift aimlessly along, hoping that somehow everything will turn out right and good. Some day God will say, “Here’s what you’ve been asking for, and now you’re going to get it – eternally. You must decide what you really want, then take aim, and arrange your life in such a way as to get it. Make your calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:1-10).
- Gerald Cowan, a longtime preacher and missionary, is retired from full-time pulpit preaching. Gerald publishes an e-mail newsletter entitled GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICAL WRITINGS. He is available for Gospel Meetings and he may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com