Thursday Theology

Ask and receive? by Virgil Stripes

James 4:1-3 (ESV)

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 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. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

Many people misquote this portion of Scripture. They stop after the phrase, “because you do not ask.” This last portion is kicked to the curb. Why would we stop in our quote? We do it frequently, because we want what we want. We forget to keep the entire context to keep the proper understanding. We like our trite little Scripture quotes. In John 24:13 it says to keep the Scripture whole. Did you look that up? I just made it up. Did you know that until around the 12th or 13th century there were no chapters or verses in the Scriptures? When Jesus was dealing with the Temptations by the Devil, He simply stated, “It is also written...” The time spent reading and studying the Scripture taught people where to find things, simply by being very familiar with them. The presumption was that people knew the Scriptures well enough to find what was being taught about, or that they would seek someone else to help them find it.

So God tells us to ask, and we will receive, but we need to ask according to His will. We need to ask for what we need, to do His bidding. We are, after all, His workmanship. We are His children. His.

Lord God, please give me what I need today, but not so much that I stop leaning on You. I want to stay in Your plan and live according to Your Will. Breathe Your Holy Spirit into me. Fill me and use me.

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