I talked about entering into a “cooperative process with Jesus” last time. Now, I would like to do a deep dive into Matthew chapter seven to help us better understand what Jesus is telling us here. This should be important to us if we want to walk in the freedom that Jesus promises us (see John 8:31-32).
When looking at Matthew seven, we need to consider two things. First, this chapter is the end of one single teaching, often referred to as “The Sermon on the Mount.” You could look at chapters five and six as what it looks to be led by the Spirit and be a mature son or daughter of the kingdom, and chapter seven giving us some practical instruction in how to get there!
The second thing we need to consider is that all of chapter seven is about one thing—the pathway to true freedom. Every verse explains and compares authentic faith to religious hypocrisy. I trust you’ll see that as we go.
The first five verses describe a person who has no self-awareness and has not entered into the cooperative process with Jesus:
“Refuse to be a critic full of bias toward others, and you will not be judged.2 For you’ll be judged by the same standard that you’ve used to judge others. The measurement you use on them will be used on you.3 Why would you focus on the flaw in someone else’s life and fail to notice the glaring flaws of your own?4 How could you say to your friend, ‘Let me show you where you’re wrong,’ when you’re guilty of even more?5 You’re being hypercritical and a hypocrite! First acknowledge and deal with your own ‘blind spots,’ and then you’ll be capable of dealing with the ‘blind spot’ of your friend. (Matt.7:1-5 TPT*)
This passage is used a lot, like in “you shouldn’t judge me….” It’s always pointed at someone else because we’d rather point out other people’s flaws than honestly deal with our own.
We’re all hypocritical by default, so the first step to discovery is to acknowledge our own “blind spots.” As I mentioned last time, we don’t know our own heart. We’re quite capable of holding two conflicting thoughts at the same time. For instance, we might say we’re for grace, yet think it’s okay to hold on to unforgiveness. I hope you understand that these two things cannot coexist! The truth is, only Jesus can reveal the deepest issues within us—the true intents and secrets of the heart, even unknown to us (Heb.4:12). This is why this cooperative process is critical to our freedom and maturity.
This is also why we need to learn the art of letting the Bible study us.
From this premise, let’s continue.
6 “Who would hang earrings on a dog’s ear or throw pearls in front of wild pigs? They’ll only trample them under their feet and then turn around and tear you to pieces! (Matt.7:6 TPT)
What a strange verse to stick here! What is Jesus trying to tell us (in context with what we just read)?
Earrings and pearls are symbols of precious spiritual truths given to us by God. We’re given “ears to hear and eyes to see” from the Spirit because our heart is open to them. But those with a closed heart will just trample “underfoot” these “jewels” of revelation truth.
This is why it’s a waste of time to talk to someone about the things of God when their heart is closed. A closed heart is a closed mind; it’s someone who won’t receive anything from God. Let’s move on…
7 “Ask, and the gift is yours. Seek, and you’ll discover. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For every persistent one will get what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he longs for. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door. (Matt.7:7-8 TPT*)
We need to ask, what are we seeking here? What are we trying to discover? We’ll “find an open door” to what, exactly?
Well, if we actually read these verses in their context, we conclude that what we’re seeking is freedom from our issues we had when we came to Jesus.
As we persistently cooperation with Him, we discover the following:
- We realize who we are in Him!
- We uncover the lies we believe that keep us in bondage.
- God graciously reveals our “blind spots” to us, removing the “log” from our perception so that we begin seeing ourselves and others the way Jesus does.
Again, without this discovery process, we’ll stay stuck in our own issues and remain hypocritical and spiritually superficial. So these verses are not about asking persistently for “stuff”; they’re about growing up as a mature son or daughter of our heavenly Father!
In the last part of this section of the chapter, Jesus adds this word of encouragement:
9 “Do you know of any parent who would give his hungry child, who asked for food, a plate of rocks instead? 10 Or when asked for a piece of fish, what parent would offer his child a snake instead? 11 If you, imperfect as you are, know how to lovingly take care of your children and give them what’s best, how much more ready is your heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts to those who ask him?” (Matt.7:9-11 TPT*)
First, by entering into this cooperative process we learn the true nature of God—that He is a GOOD FATHER. In fact, if we don’t believe this, we won’t persistently seek Him to discover the truth that makes us free. (You won’t be intimate with someone you think is only tolerating you because He has his “Jesus” glasses on!)
Second, this tells us what a good father does. He brings his children into a relational maturation process, helping them to understand who they are, and what it means to be part of his family (see also Heb.12:5-11)
The father also is the one who gives his son or daughter a sense of identity and value. Without this “fathering,” the child will grow up like an orphan, not knowing how loved he or she is, or even who they are as a person. On a side note, I submit that fatherlessness is why there’s so much confusion in our society today.
I will continue my deep dive into this cooperative process with Jesus next time.