I was writing this morning about faith, walking by faith, and how crazy & uncommon it is today. As I was writing the Holy Spirit brought this verse to my mind.
"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 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 because you do not ask God. 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've read this verse many times before. In fact, I've quoted the "you have not because you ask not" part MANY times before. If I'm honest, I actually quoted it and didn't even know where it was found exactly. LOL! That's funny to me, and I'm really glad I don't live in that world as much anymore.
Today when I read the verse, I read it in context. James is identifying the deeper problem in our lives. He asks two questions. What causes the fighting? Doesn't it come from desires IN YOU? We lack in life spiritually, relationally, financially, emotionally, and even physically because we are FOCUSED ON THE WRONG THINGS!! James says you are focused on what others have (coveting) and what you want. When you don't get what you want that is when the fighting starts!! Why?
*Because we project all of our insecurities, fears, lack, and emotional baggage out onto others.
*Or, when we do get something good we flaunt it and find our significance in what we have or do.
*Or, our identity is so wrapped up in what we have, who we are, what we look like, who we know, where we go, what we do, who we do it with, blah, blah, blah, blah!! I can say all of that because I HAVE DONE IT!! Nauseates me to recognize how shallow I can be!
James follows that up with "You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend it on your pleasures." WOW!! Meditate on that for a minute. Not all religiously with a works based mentality, but Spiritually with a love based mentality.
God is saying to all of us through James, "Look. I've got all you need. I've got all the Love, Peace, Joy, Friendship, Healing, Hope, Finances, Restoration, Wisdom, Resources, and ANYTHING else you will ever need! Just ASK me. But when you ask me, ask with the right heart. Quit asking me for a relationship to make you feel better. Quit asking me for a larger congregation or ministry so that you can find your significance in it! Quit asking me for a new house so that you can fill a void in our life. Quit asking me for more stuff so that you can fit in. Love me most, let me be all that you need, then ASK, and just like my Son told you 'all these things will be ADDED unto you.' I will take care of you. Trust me! Have Faith IN me and not what you have, who you are, where you work, where you go, what you do, or where you live! Rest IN me & see if I won't pour out on you more than you could ever even desire or imagine. Then when I do, you will love deeply & authentically. You will glorify me and others will be blessed what who you are, what you have, and what you do. You will give without motives. You will live without conditions. You & I can walk together in harmony, as it was meant to be from the beginning, as my presence IN you, the Holy Spirit, guides, directs, and speaks to you as you seek Me."
What am I learning? I'm learning that this sanctifying work God wants to do in our lives, to form us into the image of His Son, digs deep into every dark place. It hurts. It's humbling. It's personal. It all must come out into Light of His presence, and when we finally acknowledge to Him what HE already knows about us, then we see lasting change.
Here is something BIG God is teaching me. Nothing new, but new to me. Change is not change when we have to talk about it all the time so that we can convince others and ourselves we are different. That's self justification. I know that all to well. Change doesn't need to be justified or explained. We don't need to explain what has already been done on the Cross for us. I'm learning that true change happens as we surrender to God's completed work for us, through His Son Jesus, and yield to His will above our own, quietly before Him, and then He takes care of the rest. As we go through this sanctifying work, which many NEVER understand, we will no longer lack because we will ASK according to God's will, as He reveals it to us, and IT WILL BE DONE! And we will be so grateful and take a very deep breath.
Wow. I needed that today.