December 24

James 4:1-6

Asking for things

“How do quarrels and fights start?” James asks in his letter to believers.

He answers them by saying: “They come from wanting pleasures and earthly things so much that it upsets you on the inside. You keep longing for these things until you can’t think of anything else, and when you can’t get what you want, you become angry.

The reason you don’t have the things you want is that you don’t ask God for them; and when you do ask, God doesn’t give them to you because you are selfish and greedy.

God stands against those who are proud, but His underserved blessing is on those who are humble.”

Is it wrong to ask God for things we don’t really need?

Is James saying that we shouldn’t ask God for any of the fun things we would like to have?

James is talking here about things that draw us away from God: not only sinful pleasures, but also things that fill up our hearts, our thoughts and our time. These are things that keep us from thinking about God and from caring about others.

How dull life would be if we couldn’t look forward to receiving gifts or celebrating the wonderful things God has done for us. God wants us to enjoy life and have good things, but He will never give us something that will harm us (see Luke 11:11-13). It isn’t wrong to ask God for things we would really like, but we should be happy with whatever He allows us to have.

If you are patient and trust God to answer your prayer in the best way, your heart will be at peace and your faith in Him will grow. Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).

Verse for today

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17