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Ask, Seek, and Knock

The Scriptures tell us that if we ask, we will be answered, if we seek, we will find, and if we knock, the door will be opened to us (Matthew 7:8, Luke 11:10). Yet for so many of us, we remain in bondage simply because we’ve never truly asked for our freedom. There are still others of us who have spent our lives asking and yet have not been obedient to the response.

Maybe you’ve been afraid to ask. Maybe you’re afraid that God is not going to give you the answer you are hoping for. Maybe you’ve just now admitted your addictions to yourself, and you haven’t had the chance to ask God yet.

No matter what’s been holding you back, now is the time. Ask the Lord to heal you. Ask the Lord to remove this dependence from your life and ask Him to fill the empty places that you’ve been trying to fill elsewhere. Like any good father, God delights in giving good gifts to His children (Luke 11:11-13, Luke 12:32). He wants so much for you to be free from bondage, and for you to live a full and blessed life (Isaiah 61:1-3, John 10:10).

“And whatever you ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) When you ask, you are joining the cry of Heaven for your freedom, and when you seek the Lord, He will answer you. All you have to do is ask.

But how then do we explain those of us who have been asking and asking and asking and yet are still not free?

For my own addictions, I (Matthew) spent ten years of my life asking . . . crying out . . . begging . . . “Lord, take this from me!” Yet though I asked, I still thought that I could somehow do it on my own—that I could somehow redeem myself, and therefore make up for what I’d done. And you know my story by now—I was the only one who really ever came through for me, anyway, right?

It’s easy to believe that God will come through for someone else’s struggle, but “does He really love me like He loves that other person?” “Will He really come through for me?”

It took me seven years to finally come to the end of myself, and to finally surrender my efforts to the Lord for healing. Then I asked again. And He responded clearly that time, but with an answer I didn’t want to hear. He told me that I had gone as far as I could on my own, and that to be truly healed and set free, I would have to confess my sins to another. Having finally surrendered to let God bring the healing, He put the responsibility right back on me. Healing would require my obedience, and that took another three years for me to give up.
 
It was three years of knowing how to be free; three years of trusting myself instead of God; three years of grief and shame and resignation to the strongholds in my life because I was unwilling to do what God had asked of me. And then finally it happened. One night, broken and afraid, I confessed to another person, and then my healing journey began.

After that night, I asked again that the Lord would break these addictions in my life, and I spent the next forty days fasting and praying, seeking the Lord for healing. This, to me, was a test of how badly I wanted my freedom. I probably don’t need to tell you that fasting for forty days is a huge sacrifice. I’d certainly never attempted anything like that before, and I’m not telling you that you need to do the same thing, but for me, it was the sacrifice of something I’m naturally dependent upon that helped me to finally lay down the hunger for my addictions and to develop a spiritual hunger that proved my devotion to the Lord, even as I walked through “the valley of the shadow of death.” It was that final act of surrender—of laying down my life—that reached God’s ears, and over the years that followed, God propelled me on a journey that would forever change my life. My journey to freedom.

If you’ve been asking, don’t stop. ”And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?” (Luke 18:7) He hears your cries for help, and He will answer you. Trust in Him. Believe in Him. Know that He loves you more than anything, and He wants for you to be free. And then be obedient to Him in what He asks of you. Don’t be afraid of His leading, for “His yoke is easy and His burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)

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