Ever resemble this image? Been a “big baby” about not getting your way?
The issue is that we don’t often get what we want, in the timing we want and the way we want.
According to James, author of the Bible book of the same name, in the beginning of chapter four, “You want something you do not have, so you kill. You want something but cannot get it, so you fight for it.” (James 4:2)
Yikes, sounds a bit harsh to me. But when we consider the words of Jesus, “You have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not murder,’ and ‘whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.’ (Mt 5:21-22) But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. He equated anger with murder. Jesus calls us all to a higher standard.
Anger = Murder.
James later goes on to say, “Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.” (James 4:2-3)
So we don’t get what we want because:
- We don’t ask for it
- And when we do, we ask only out of our selfish pleasures
So, how to are we to ask?
First, through prayer; that’s HOW we ask. God loves us and just as anyone in a loving relationship, he enjoys communicating with us. God wants to communicate with you and he set up the relationship between us and Jesus as the conduit to do so. We simply pray, “In Jesus name” and the Father hears us.
Second, we’re taught by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippian church, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4). We pray are to pray not only for ourselves, but for others – often. And to pray for God’s will to be done.
Lastly, as just mentioned, we are to submit our will to God’s in prayer, praying an understanding of his will and what might be our part in carrying that out. Even Jesus as he prayed didn’t “get his way” as we see in his prayer his last night alive as a man: “Going a little farther, he threw himself down with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mt 26:39). In literally the same breath, Jesus asked for what he wanted the way he wanted it, then, laid down his will before the Father. We can take a great lesson in pray from this.
Our faith and trust in God is regularly challenged in life. Now in my mid-fifties, I’m old enough to look back and see the providence of God and how he worked out things, differently than my initial solution, but in a way better than way for me.
I trust over time you’ll find this to be true as well.