Ye Ask Amiss…
33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33 KJV).
You do not have 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: 2-3 NIV)
This morning, I researched three versions of James 4:2-3 found in the Bible. The KJV reads this particular way:
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
The word “amiss” in the KJV can be translated “wrong motives.” The word “consume” can be translated to “spend.” And, the word “lust” can be translated “pleasures.” Thus, the two versions support one another quite well.
But, to me, the NIV version reads more like today’s society and the time which we live….Sadly, so many people, young and old, are spending monies that are being supplied by God to meet their needs and necessities on personal “wants,” “desires,” and “pleasures.” Sadly, if you don’t believe me, do a survey on how many people are walking around today carrying a 3G or 4G SmartPhone or other media devices that require expensive data plans, but do not have the money to pay their utility bills, medical expenses, car insurance, or mortgage/rent payment! Sadly, this is an example found in the Book of James, chapter four,“…spending what you get on pleasures…” (NIV).
Many times in my adult life, (especially in the 70, 80’s, and early 90’s) there were times and seasons when we lived on a strict budget and I had to be content with the “basics,” because that was all we could afford! Back then, it was not a shame or disgrace upon my husband, me, or our children…It was just plain and simple truth! Other couples our age were doing the same thing. But, in today’s society it is looked down upon when a family does NOT possess all of the modern-day perks and pings. It is an outward status symbol that they don’t “fit” in… Sadly, in today’s economy, it is more accepted when a family loses their home in which they live as opposed to NOT having or enjoying all the perks, pings, and pleasures offered. But, really, ask yourself…Is it their fault or “signs of the times?”
I completely realize that I am a “voice” crying in the wilderness, but this stuff is real!! I am NOT wishing or wanting to be offensive to anyone, but just trying to help….I hope it is received in the love intended.
A few years back, my husband had a young family in his church that was going through financial difficulties. Out of concern, my husband met with the deacons to look into ways and means of providing financial support in the midst of their trial. It was determined to supply the young couple with a love-offering (money) to help assist with their immediate “needs.” And, so it was. However, to everyone’s surprise the following Sunday morning, the couple was not at church because they had gone to the “mountains” for the weekend!
Truthfully, I was absolutely furious and seething inside! Both my husband (the pastor of the church) and I were working outside jobs. My husband was working 12 to 14 hours a day to help meet our personal needs as the church was unable to support a full-time pastor. There were also other older couples within the church who had contributed to the love-offering who were on fixed incomes and barely getting by themselves…Nonetheless, this couple took the people’s love offering that was designated to meet a “need” and went on “pleasurable” weekend vacation!
However, this kind of “pleasurable” thinking and careless spending does NOT surprise our LORD, for He “warned” that people would one day lose perspective of the difference between The LORD supplying their “need” and the people spending “it” upon pleasures! Signs of the Times…
At another church where my husband was the pastor, a young couple shared with their Sunday school class that they had to apply for food stamps to help meet their financial needs. I’m not saying they were wrong in their decision (because any of us can be put into that situation in a heart beat!), but as a result of their receiving food stamps and other state-funded aid the couple joyously walked into the Sunday school department a few weeks later to show-off their new upgraded cell phones with all of the extra-added features. Amazing. I smiled while I silently shook my head on the inside saying to myself, “Lord, people’s hard-earned tax dollars are helping to buy this families’ groceries so they can get excited over new cell phones!” Once again….God gently reminded me how the word, “need” was literally being mixed up with the definition for “pleasure.” God also reminded me that He sees and knows all.
All throughout the Bible, it speaks of “remnants” of people who follow God’s teachings. It doesn’t always mean that these people’s lives are spared from earthly trials and burdens. In actuality, these people sometime face harder and more difficult battles than the world; but GOD is faithful who is not willing that any man should perish…but have everlasting life. God is willing to meet, supply, and overly bless our needs when we learn to discern our pleasures from our needs; and what God’s will for our lives. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” This is not a suggestion…it is a directive!
It was and is God who states that a man will earn his living (wages) by the “sweat” of his brow.” I once worked with a highly esteemed Principal who taught his family that “any” honest, law-abiding, employment was honored in God’s sight. One day, after a faculty meeting, he was talking about one of his sons working at a burger place and how proud he was. A teacher standing near-by foolishly remarked, “You are a highly educated principal I would think your children would have much more impressive jobs.” Even though she was, in her own way, trying to give the principal a back-door compliment, she was in fact insulting God’s design for mankind. God just doesn’t honor the white-collared worker, he divinely shines on all levels of workers who put in “an honest day’s work.” Our society has forgotten that truth…Little is much when God is in it!
Like everyone else, I, too, have “fought” the flesh and earthy desires to have more… a million times over. I, too, have been saddened when it appeared that my family didn’t have “as much” or as many earthy possessions as other families. It happens to all of us at times; especially in the harder more difficult times when Satan is “yelling” in our ears….”It’s ok….God won’t mind…” But, God does mind when we place emphasis upon pleasure and earthly adventures first…. It “quenches” the Holy Spirit when we do these things. And, when the Holy Spirit is “quenched” in our lives, God is not obligated to fulfill and meet the “needs” within our lives when we have spent his provisions on earthly pleasures and choices. A sad but very real and somber truth.
Our God is merciful. His Grace is sufficient and He knows that these times will come in and upon our lives. So, what do we do? Confess our weaknesses. Confess that we have sought other pleasures above God. Seek His forgiveness. Ask Him to open our eyes to discern between “pleasures” and the kingdom of God…Give God the Honor and Glory for His provisions in our lives and to discern those times when we didn’t honor Him as we should. Spiritually, give God our check-books and check-cashing cards…After all, we “all” fall short of the Glory of God; our maker and supplier of all things.
As one minister plainly put it….”It’s not a shame to fall. It’s a shame to stay there.” Get up, renew your thoughts and mind, get your priorities in their right places, and allow God to open doors that only He can open. Then, openly and faithfully Honor Him for His provisions. God is So, So, Good!!!
“In His Name we serve. In His Name we stand. In His name we abide. In His name we survive.” By Lin T. Rollins
Remember, God Truly Loves You and Me,
Lin T. Rollins, Author