In James, we read about wrong motives. Sometimes we ask for things but our motives are wrong. We want something for the wrong reason, and because God is gracious, we don’t get what we want. What a blessing!
Consider what you request. What are your motives? Are you seeking something that will allow you to press forward with God in your journey? Or are you seeking something for pleasure? Do you want something that will benefit you with temporary pleasure or do you seek something that will bless many for eternity? Is what you are asking for something that will bring you closer to God or pull you away from God?
It’s okay to request things from God. He wants us to come to Him. He wants us to make the desires of our heart known. But the desires of our heart should first be Him. And the requests we make should reveal this desire we have for God Almighty. If they don’t – if our motives are wrong – God can see our heart. Isn’t it awesome that despite us not placing Him first in our lives, He still withholds something that is not good for us, because He does not want to withhold goodness in our lives?!?
“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 4:3 [NLT]
People many times say that God is hiding from them, that they cannot tell if He’s around. The truth is that God never moved—you did! Again and again, we read in the Bible of people who fall short, people who do not walk with God. A holy God cannot look sin in the face. Even so, God is gracious and merciful. Again and again, He forgives us. Each day we are offered the opportunity of a daily cleansing, a new day. It is through Jesus Christ alone that we are able to stand before the throne as white as snow.
In Zechariah 1, we read about a call to return to the Lord. Zechariah declares what the Lord says, “Return to me… and I will return to you.” It’s that simple. Don’t allow it to be complicated. Don’t allow people to put stumbling blocks between you and God. Don’t think His grace and mercy are for everyone but you. Return to Him and He will return to you.
Every day we have an opportunity to decide which road we will take. Every day we can move closer to Jesus or in the opposite direction. When we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). When we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Today, take time to reach out to Him. He’s already reaching out to you.
“Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.” – Zechariah 1:3 [ESV]