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As You Desire


James 4:1-3

Verse 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.


Yesterday we talked about the way our jealousy is killing those around us. But the end of yesterday’s key verse (“You do not have because you do not ask God.”) leads us to our verse and discussion for today.


We become jealous when we see others with something that we want but can we really ask God for anything and know He will give it to us? Of course not! God isn’t going to readily give us something that is bad for us and would not glorify Him. There are things that we ask for that just can’t be or that we don’t need.


James points out in our key verse today that one of the reasons that we don’t get what we want is because we ask with the wrong motives. Just as our jealousy comes from selfishness so do our requests. We ask for things that we think would make us happy. We also ask for things that we perceive will improve our status. These reasons are a few of the ways that our prayers become very self-centered.


When we spend our time talking with God thinking only of ourselves we are missing out on the things that He wants for us. James is reminding his readers the same thing he reminded them when he was talking about asking for wisdom. We can’t expect anything from God if our love is divided between Him and the world. If our motives aren’t reflecting Him and His kingdom then why would He desire to grant our request?


If we ask for a raise or even a new job we need to pay attention to the reason we are asking for it. If it is to better our bank account or living status that motive is more self-focused than God-focused. This is the type of issue that arises in our lives when we let down our guard. James is calling his readers, and us, to be more intentional with our requests. If we are asking, we need to be thinking about who we are asking and why.


Making It Personal

What have you asked for but didn’t receive because it was motivated by self? Are you intentional about your requests in prayer? What do you need to ask for today?


Making It Personal Kids

What does it mean to ask with the right motives? What are some things that God may want you to ask for? Do you want the same things that God does?


Closing Prayer

Father, thank You for setting standards that You want to maintain. Give us the same desires that You have. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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