We will take our Bible studies lessons from James 4:1-3.
“You have not because you ask not” has become the most famous quote in the Scripture concerning prayers and receiving something from God. Throughout the Gospel of Jesus, He urges us to ask “anything” from God, so it makes sense that if you don’t have something, it could mean you’re not asking for it.
Someone may ask. “So does it mean God will give whatever I ask from Him?” Well, when James says, we have not because we ask not, it entails a lot. It is a whole pack of scriptures in one verse. I will tell you what it means when James refers to us, not because we ask not in this post later.
But in the meantime, let’s take a moment to read the scripture once again.
“1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet, but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have it because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” -James 4:1-3
I want you to take a very close look at the scripture highlighted above. From the concept, it is clear James wasn’t addressing unbelievers but Christians. People who have believed in Jesus as their personal Lord and savior just like you and me.
So, when James stated that we have not because we ask not, it is clear that the problem is not really in the asking but the motive behind the asking.
That wrong motive is what he referred to as covetousness. So what does it mean when someone covets?
To covet is to be jealous of something that someone else has or possess a solid eagerness to get something that does not belong to you.
At times, we hear most Christians complaining when they see others being blessed by God by thinking that God has been unfair to them. Ask yourself what do you feel when you see others in a position you’ve not obtained yet. Do you feel any emotional pain?
When someone gets a new job, promotion, new house, new car, or any myriad of material blessings, do you find yourself being excited for them or envious of them instead?
If you do, be careful; because the “envy freak” could stir inside you. So the next time someone shares what God is doing in their lives, rejoice with them! The Bible says we should rejoice with those who rejoice. This emotional pain leads most Christians to pray with the wrong motives.
[Final Thoughts] You Have Not Because You Ask Not
To bring our Bible studies to a closing remark, I want you to remember that James was addressing Christians, not unbelievers. Although some of them asked but didn’t receive what they prayed for because they attached it with the wrong motive. The firm desires to have what person “A” is having at all cost. Remember, God has plans for everyone on earth. Don’t allow envy and unwanted desires to seize your heart. Anytime you feel that emotional triggers in you when someone shares a testimony, remember to ask the Lord to heal you right away.
So today, before you pray or do anything, let’s pray what David prayed:
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24
I fully believe if you always do that, God will reveal wrong motives. With this, you can be confident that your reasons are correct. With the right motives, you position yourself to pray correctly and have what you pray.