"You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." -James 4:3 (ESV)
Have you ever wanted something really bad? So you asked and asked and asked for it, but never received it? Did you wonder why? Why wouldn't God give it to you? I have seen so many things that say, "God only has three answers: 'Yes', 'Not now', and 'I have something better in mind.'" And I do believe that these are three answers that are given. But not the only ones. Sometimes God says no. But why? Why would God say no to us?
The beginning of James 4 speaks quite a bit on getting what we want. Here, Paul is talking about how we go to extremes to get what we want, but we never think to ask. But then we can't just end there. We can't just end with "you do not have because you do not ask." as a lot of people do. Saying a prayer does not entitle anyone to what they want, no matter how righteous they are. Not even Jesus got everything He prayed for, as we see in Matthew 26:39-46. Whenever we ask for something, God does not have to give it to us. I once was in a class, and this topic came up, and the question was asked if anyone had ever gotten angry at God because they didn't get what they wanted. And one person spoke up, saying that they asked God for a playstation, and they got angry at God for not giving it to them. This sounds shallow, right? That's selfish, and not really worth praying about. But what is the difference between asking God for a playstation, and that new car, or that boyfriend, or that raise, if it's all for the same selfish
When asking for something, we need to be sure that it's not for our own selfish use. We are not our own. Romans 14:8 says, "For if we live, we live in the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's."Why should we worry about ourselves, when we are not our own? If we are not of God, then we are of the World, and we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with luxury, or doing something that benefits us sometimes. It's important that we take some time to rest, and reset our minds so we don't get burned out, or discouraged.
I don't know how many things I have seen, or read, or heard, of people saying, "Just do what makes you happy." And I cannot emphasize enough how horrible that philosophy is. Because if we only do the things that we want to do, then we will end up only making things worse for ourselves. Take Jezebel, for example. Living for herself, this wicked woman did not want to back down if it meant she wouldn't get her way. The best example of this can be found in 1 Kings 21:1-16, when she had Naboth, her neighbor, killed all for a plot of land. But how did that end for her? In 2 Kings 9:30-37, we read of her death, in which she fell out of a window, was trampled by horses, and eaten by dogs. And I can guarantee that that is nothing compared to what she is going to receive on judgement day. We need to make sure our focus is on Christ, because if it is on ourselves, then we are not going to get what we want. But if we're seeking God first, then the answer will never be no, as He is the focus of our pleads.
Sometimes our only problem is that we have the wrong priorities. But when we treat God as our prime goal in life, and we strive to serve Him rather than ourselves, then we won't have to worry about not getting what we desire. Yes, Jesus's wish to not have to be crucified was rejected, but his prayer was not. Because He was not praying that He wouldn't have to die, but that God's will would be done. Whose will are you focusing on? I'd like to encourage you to focus on Christ, and to study these things for yourselves, so that you can live the life that God created us to live.