What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13)
This whole section, starting with the model of prayer is one continuous thought, so even though we’ve broken it apart to devotionally study through it week by week, we need to remember the context is still prayer. So, continuing in this context of prayer, Jesus gives another example and instruction on prayer.
Last week, Jesus used the hypothetical example of a friend giving what was requested due to persistence, and this week we’re looking at another example Jesus gave of a father giving good gifts to his child. He started with a rhetorical question, getting the hearers into a mindset of the relationship and love a father has for his children using the earthly example of a child asking for food. Now of course this is completely relatable, because even amongst those who don’t have children, they can easily understand that a parent isn’t going to give something harmful when their child asks them for something they need.
In Jesus’ model of prayer, He already included that we are to ask God for our daily provisions, but here Jesus goes beyond the necessities of things like food and shifts our focus to another need we have that we may not even realize we have – the Holy Spirit.
In and Upon
Now we know that when we accept salvation, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and He dwells within us; but we also have need of the Holy Spirit for more than just salvation. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives gifts of the spirit in which we are empowered to serve God and His people, He is the one who convicts us of sin, reminds us of God’s word, and guides us into all righteousness. Just as we surrender to the will of the Father, are covered in the righteousness of Christ, we are enabled to act like Christ and are being shaped more and more into His image by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus made it very clear that if we ask our heavenly Father for the Holy Spirit, He will give Him. This is applicable to salvation as well as godly living. As Christians, we are our Father’s children in Christ – the Father of lights who gives good gifts and we can know that He will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.
So the question is: Do you ask for the Holy Spirit?
And just like the example of a child asking for food, no one asks for food only once. It is a continual process. Now to make this clear, you aren’t asking for the Holy Spirit again and again unto salvation, because once you’re sealed with the Holy Spirit, you’re sealed. However, there are different ways in which the Holy Spirit interacts with us. He comes alongside everyone, convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgement. Once a person has accepted Jesus as salvation, the Spirit indwells that person in which they are sealed as a guarantee of salvation. But we also see another way the Holy Spirit interacts and that is to come upon.
In John 20, when Jesus appeared to His disciples in the upper room after He rose from the dead, we see Him breathe on them and said to receive the Holy Spirit. Then fast forwarding to Acts 1 when Jesus was getting ready to ascend, He said that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them and they would be His witnesses in fulfilling the great commission. It was when the day of Pentecost arrived that this happened and we see gifts of the Spirit in operation in the disciples He had come upon.
Now the Holy Spirit coming upon someone isn’t some mystical thing, it’s simply the empowerment of God, enabling followers of Jesus to serve for the glory of God.
A Daily Holy Habit
With that in mind, if we are called to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus daily, knowing that our flesh can be quite persistent in trying to win against our spirit each day, then doesn’t it make sense that we also need the Holy Spirit’s empowerment each day?
We can and should be asking for the Holy Spirit every day, knowing that our good heavenly Father will give Him to those who ask. The Father knows we need the Holy Spirit. There’s no way we can walk in this life and follow after Jesus without Him. And notice that there’s no qualifier to asking, we just simply need to ask. I encourage you to make asking for the Holy Spirit a holy habit that’s part of your prayer life every day.
If you don’t already do this, I want to challenge you to ask for the Holy Spirit every day this next week, starting right now, and take notice of the difference it makes in your life and being more like Christ – in your family, at work, in your responses to life circumstances. We all know we need the Holy Spirit, so take Jesus at His word in this and ask!