Friday, March 23, 2012

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3

Twisted motivation. 

If you are like me, there is probably a laundry list of unmet desires in your life. I’ve reached that lovely term “middle age,” and with that comes the realization that some, in fact many, dreams of my youth will likely go unmet in this life.

For a long time, there have been a few of those unmet dreams that seem to be the “kickers.” The ones that the enemy uses to attack when I’m struggling with something related to them, or there’s something going on that wouldn’t be happening had a particular dream been met.

If you stopped and really thought about it (or maybe you don’t have to – you can list them off the top of your head), I’d bet you can list a few yourself. I suspect that because of our human nature, we all have a list somewhere.

In our study of the book of James, we are digging into some really uncomfortable places. At least for me we are. Talking about unmet desires is like ripping a band-aid off a gaping wound. I used to think that I had every reason to feel a bit unfulfilled because of them. That some of the lack was due to my own choices, and some were because they were not God’s plan for me.

In my head, I have a level of understanding. But, apparently, in my heart, there’s more.

In studying James 4:3, it seemed to hit like a ton of bricks. Studying this passage made me have to stop and consider the tough question of WHY? Really, why didn’t those desires come to fruition? And, even deeper, what was my motivation for wanting them in the first place?

These questions literally caused me to squirm in my seat. The undeniable truth is right there in the verse. “You have wrong motives.” Even further, “that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” He’s so spot on. My motivation was and is a critical component in why so many things didn’t and don’t happen.

Is that true for you? So, what do we do?

At the end of my time in this particular day of study, with its realizations and recalibration, I prayed. Lord, show me your way. He brought the words to familiar passages to mind. Psalm 139: 23-24, gives clear direction in how to move forward:
“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.”


  1. Patti,

    Myself and someone very close to me can use these very good words of yours. Thanks for this reflection.

    God bless,


    1. Dan,
      I pray God will love on you and your loved one with grace and mercy. I bet we all struggle with this!
      Love & blessings,