seek and ye shall find; seek and you will find

go after what you want and you’ll get it
—I know you’ve been looking for a new apartment for a long time, but I really believe that if you seek—and don’t give up—ye shall find.

Jesus taught,

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find [seek, and ye shall find]; knock and the door will be opened for you. (Matthew 7:7)

As used today, this phrase usually refers to a person’s own, human efforts to get what he’s looking for, but Jesus was talking about relying on God’s response to prayer:

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you [all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them], for this fulfills the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:8-12)

Matthew 7:12 contains the “Golden Rule,” best known in the form “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Golden rule can also be used to mean “the most important principle, which should be followed to gain success,” as in “I believe that the golden rule of learning a foreign language is ‘Don’t compare yourself to others.’”

The idea behind the Golden Rule has been a part of many cultures, even before its inclusion in the New Testament—often in a negative version (i.e., “Do not do . . .”). One example is from the Analects of Confucius (from around 500 BC): “Tsze-kung asked, saying, ‘Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?’ The Master said, ‘Is not reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.’” (translated by James Legge, 1861)

Before it acquired its current title, the Golden Rule was earlier called the “Golden Law” and “that golden principle of morality.” It is so well known that it is often shortened to simply “Do unto others.”

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