You don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
James 4:2-3 NLT
Dream for a moment. If you could have anything in the world, what would you choose? I would be fascinated to know your answers – a beautiful large home; a yacht; a luxurious holiday; perfect health; world peace – I wonder what your answer was? Verse 2 suggests that we just need to ask God and we will get it. But verse 3 makes it clear that we need to ask with the right motive. God doesn’t necessarily give us exactly what we want.
Imagine for a moment if we did get whatever our selfish desires demanded. We would be in control and everything would happen in exactly the way we wanted, and at precisely the time that we demanded it. For a brief moment it sounds like the perfect world. We would be in absolute control. The Bible has a technical word to describe such a place – it’s called hell. It’s the place where God is not. Our selfish desires have pushed him out. What James is telling us is that God our gracious loving father has a better plan.
God delights in giving good gifts to his children. Jesus observed that it was unthinkable that a father would give his son a snake if he asked for a fish, or a scorpion if he asked for an egg. Neither of those things would ever happen. And he drew the powerful conclusion that if we, evil as we are, manage to get it right, how much more can our perfect heavenly Father be relied upon to give his best gift, his Holy Spirit, to those who ask him. (Luke 11:11-13)
So the conclusion is that we need to ask, and keep asking, but ensure that we are asking for the right things in the right way. We need to tune our thinking into God’s thinking so that all that we ask for will be a blessing.
What are you asking God for today?
Lord God our Father we worship you because you love us perfectly and delight to give us the best gifts. We open our hands to you today and look forward to receiving whatever you decide is best for us. Amen.