“Ask ye, and it shall be given to you; seek ye, and ye shall find; knock ye, and it shall be opened to you. For each that asketh, taketh; and he that seeketh, findeth; and it shall be opened to him, that knocketh;”
He says not to throw your pearls to swine in case you are trampled to death by them or torn to pieces by wild dogs.
Before He warns of throwing yourself away, He warns not to judge others.
After He says to ask, seek, and knock, He reminds that God does not give bad things to His people, but only good things. Just as a parent does not give stones to hungry children, so God does not give worthless things to His children.
So, stop judging. Use discernment instead. And ask for what’s good, fully expecting to receive it. Seek it out so you find it. Knock and go in.
“A man who is unspiritual refuses what belongs to the Spirit of God; it is folly to him; he cannot grasp it, because it needs to be judged in the light of the Spirit.”
Paul is essentially telling us that without the Spirit of God, it is impossible for man — who is born in a fallen, unspiritual state — to grasp “what belongs to the Spirit of God.” The things of God are “folly” to man; “he cannot grasp [them.]” Man does not and cannot seek God, or comprehend God’s wisdom or purposes.
On the other hand,”a man gifted with the Spirit can judge the worth of everything.” (1 Corinthians 2: 15) Because we are gifted with the Spirit of God, Paul says, “we possess the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2: 16)
And, with the mind of Christ, we understand that “divine folly is wiser than the wisdom of man, and divine weakness stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1: 25) Paul says, “I speak God’s hidden wisdom, His secret purpose framed from the very beginning to bring us to our full glory. The powers that rule the world do not know it; if they did, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, in the words of Scripture, ‘Things beyond our seeing, things beyond our hearing, things beyond our imagining, all prepared by God for those who love Him’, these it is that God reveals to us through His Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2: 7 – 10)
Paul reminds us that God’s mind, riches, wisdom, knowledge, judgments, and ways are unknown, unsearchable, inscrutable. Paul says, “for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11: 36)
Paul therefore appeals to us “by the mercies of God, to present [our] bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual worship.”
In presenting our bodies to God, we also renew our minds so that we may be able to discern “what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12: 2) We renew our minds through the Word of God which the Holy Spirit reveals to us as we meditate upon it, explore it, study it, pray it.
We are able to present ourselves to God as gifts because of His mercies. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2: 10)
Paul therefore urges us “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4: 1 – 3)
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Two angels come to Sodom where they find Lot sitting at the city gate. Lot invites the angels to come to his house where he feeds them “a feast and bakes unleavened bread, and they eat.” (Genesis 19: 3) Before the angels sleep, the entire city — “all the people to the last man surround the house.” (Genesis 19: 4) The entire city desires to engage in some sort of sexual activity with these two angels. Lot is mortified, and even offers his virginal daughters to the city. The city revolts, seeking to enter Lot’s house to take the angels by force. The two angels strike the men, “both small and great” who are at the door with blindness. (Genesis 19: 11)
Then the angels ask Lot to gather together “anyone you have in the city; bring them out of this place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” (Genesis 19: 12 – 13)
Lot attempts to persuade his future sons-in-law to join him in his exodus from Sodom, but they think he is joking.
By dawn, the angels urge Lot to take his wife and his two daughters and leave. Lot does not obey. Instead, “he lingers. So the [angels] seize him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they bring him out and set him outside the city. And as they bring them out, one says, ‘Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” (Genesis 19: 16 – 17)
God asks us not to conform to the world. Lot is not conformed to Sodom. God asks Lot and us to escape, to take as many out of Sodom as we are able, not to bargain with those who are so wicked so as to destroy us along with themselves, not to laugh as did Lot’s sons-in-law, not to linger as did Lot, not to look back as did Lot’s wife.
God commands us to discern by testing what is good and acceptable and perfect in each and every situation.
Paul prays for his brothers and sisters in Christ, that their “love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment.” Discernment is the “ability to discover with the mind or eyes”, according to Webster’s Vest Pocket Dictionary. The NIV translates discernment as “depth of insight.” The Oxford English Mini-dictionary defines ‘insight’ as “perception and understanding of a thing’s nature.” I suppose for me the question here is of what I am to have knowledge and discernment. Am I to be able to know and discern love? Or, am I to know and discern — that is perceive, discover, understand — Jesus Christ? Perhaps a bit of the first and a lot of the latter!
With abounding love and my discernment of Jesus, Paul says that I “may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”
Knowing Christ results in “the fruit of righteousness…to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1: 11)