In our consumer based, success driven culture, we often are confused between what my will is and what’s God’s will. Some prayers sound so religious and spiritual but at the end of the day, the focus is me and mine.
I am going to lean on James, the brother of Jesus, to advise us today. Remember, never go to James unless you want to hear the unvarnished truth. He speaks bluntly so little effort is needed to interpret what he means.
James 4:1-4 gives us a picture of life based on the kingdom of me, myself and I. “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passionsare at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Ouch! According to James, the reasons you don’t get along with others and live a life that you’re called to as Christ-Followers are:
- because of “your passions at war within you”
- “You desire and do not have, so you murder…” If someone does not fit your agenda and feeds your desires, you despise them destroying relationships and children in the wake of your selfishness.
- “You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” You want the things of the world and when you don’t get what you want, you fight and quarrel. Hey, James may have written this in the first century but his words nail us accurately as if they were written yesterday.
- “You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” You set very little time aside for the Lord. And, when you do (usually while you are on the run), your prayers are shallow, worldly and all about what “I” want…feed my passions dear god! I did not capitalize god in this context! Why? Because this is the god of this world who is there to build my kingdom.
- “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” You are worshipping the god of this world which is the enemy of our Holy God and His Wonderful Son. 1 John 5:19 is eye-opening, “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
In James 5:5, another blunt assessment is given, “You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence.”
Honestly looking at yourself, are you entangled in the world and its passions? Are your prayers seeking God or your prayers an attempt to persuade God to give you what you want? Never-ever forget! Prayer is not the means to get my will done on earth; faithful prayer is the means of getting God’s will done on earth.