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What does James 4:3 mean ?

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  • What does James 4:3 mean ?

    What does James 4:3 say?

    Lou Newton, former Steel Mill Crane Designer and Physics Teacher

    James 4 NIV.

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

    I remember being in a church and one lady standing in the back was praying and saying she was claiming God would give her a Rolls Royce. Another was more modest and claimed God would give her a Mercedes. If this was true, that part of town should be so filled with Rolls and Mercedes that they should be bumping into one another. But I have never seen a Rolls in that part of town. Now God is not a liar, but men all are lairs. God keeps His promises.

    John 20 NIV

    “21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” “

    We need to realize who Jesus was speaking to. Jesus was not speaking to a bunch of worldly people who professed to be followers of His, but were focused on their own desires instead of His desires for them. Jesus was speaking to a group that had given up everything and followed Him everywhere for three years. They had seen Him die on the cross and be buried and then seen Him after He rose from the dead. They had shut themselves up in a room praying and seeking for His Holy Spirit to be revealed to them. They were not seeking worldly pleasures but they were seeking Jesus. Notice also that they received His Holy Spirit on that day. That changed them and they were born again of the Spirit on that day.

    Romans 8 NIV

    “14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. “

    What Jesus said is for the children of God and not for those who are not His. But the children of God are led by His Holy Spirit, NOT their own desires. I am not saying if one prays, while being led by their own desires, that they are not His child; but that they will not get their prayer answered the way they want.

    Look at the Lord’s prayer. This is the way Jesus told us to pray:

    Matthew 6 NIV

    “ 9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

    “‘Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    10 your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    11 Give us today our daily bread.
    12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.’ “

    No where in that prayer is there give me a Rolls Royce, no give US our daily bread. That is what we need, not what we want. Also not give ME, but give US.

    I find most of my prayers are for the needs of someone other than me and I am amazed at how God answers those prayers. Many have been miraculously healed of cancer this year.

    I often pray for the Lord to reveal the Truth of some passage in The Holy Scriptures, or to reveal a mystery about His nature. The Lord answers those prayers.

    When my desires enter into my prayers, at the very least it makes it difficult for me to hear from God. But God never promises He will give me the desires of my flesh.

    Psalm 37 NIV

    Of David.

    “1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
    or be envious of those who do wrong;
    2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
    like green plants they will soon die away.

    3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
    dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
    4 Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart. ( not the desires of your flesh)

    5 Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him and he will do this:
    6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.

    7 Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
    do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes. “

    So again: “ 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”