James 4v1-3 “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Quite a confrontational portion of scripture to say the least! So much is packed into the opening verses of this chapter.
I am drawn right now to the latter portion of the scripture, “not having because of not asking God.” Not having what? All the niceties of life? If I had all those “things” how would my walk be different with the Lord? If I can hardly trust myself, how can I expect the Lord to trust me with the things I ask for?
“And when we ask, we do not receive because we ask with wrong motives, so that we may spend what we get on our own pleasures.” Ouch! So then must I live like a hermit and only surface for stale bread and a cup of water thrice a day? Surely not!
I think trying to bring the heart of the Lord into clear perspective is one of our greatest challenges today. Living in a world that is filled with such a massive amount of materialism it is no wonder that we quarrel and fight amongst each other. Always competing, always wanting to be one step ahead of the next person, always scanning the horizon for the latest fad and fashion, and ensuring that we are the first to get “it” and low and behold should anyone dare compete – then battle lines are drawn.
This is such a tiring endeavor, and really at the end of the day worthless and meaningless.
What if we were to make a paradigm shift and transform our train of thought, and begin to ask of the Lord only for those things which are in accordance with His will? What kind of impact would we then have in our circle of influence and those that come across our lives daily?
Making a separation here between doing good works, and walking in the faith and promise of the Lord to do His will. It is easy to do something good, feel good about doing it, and then go on with our daily lives never giving a second thought to the deed. But when we stumble upon a situation, and see the need, and are moved by compassion, and cry to the Lord for His mercy and grace in the moment, and walk into a place where we have an opportunity to minister or be a vessel for the Lord, then I believe as we ask God for His provision that we ask as if we have placed the cross hairs dead center on the target, and God is able to answer swiftly according to His will.
But if I am constantly asking the Lord “bless me, heal me, fix this, fix that, do this for me, change me, work in me, etc etc” Then I think to some degree I ask amiss, and the answer will be delayed. He already encourages through His word that “Seek me and you will find Me”, so then, if we were to come to the Lord, with needs, desires and lacks of those whom we love, and present them to Christ, surely by virtue of the step of faith we take in applying our mustard seed faith to the same, then He will respond, then He can answer, then He can move in a mighty way, and reveal Himself through and in us, all for His glory.
This might be a wonderful way to pray today “Lord if you can get it to me, You can get it through me”.
“IT” being the operative word here – on behalf of someone else and with the focus on them and not us, in their time of need and desperation, not ours. I believe that when we bring the needs of those before the Lord, and set aside our desires, then He is faithful, and works in and through us to meet those needs, so that He can be glorified and it is in that moment that the very need we had no longer has the same urgency, and according to His will we receive, and if we don’t it is still good, what matters is that we learn to ask in such a way that we seek and find His will for whatever it is that presents to us.
I am not advocating a life of poverty and starvation, but bringing a challenge to discern our motives when we come before the Lord to ask Him to meet our needs, to think of placing others at the feet of His throne ahead of ourselves and watch how amazingly the Lord will bless them, work in their lives, turn their lives around, and in turn we are filled with hope, with peace and victory and we watch from afar the Lord working to answer us because we ask on target according to His will.
We all want, and to get, we must ask aright – Lord teach us to pray, to seek You, and to make Your heart glad with our worship!