Questions – they are kind of a big deal. Willingness to ask is a precursor to receiving. Jesus said it this way…

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:7-8

Yesterday we read that James invites us to ask for wisdom if we are lacking in that area. The only caveat is we need unwavering faith that we will receive it. There is another section of his letter that highlights the need to ask.

You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. 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

How many times have I needed or wanted something, but didn’t want to ask for it? Even something as simple as “please pass the salt” can be difficult to say at times.

When I ask, I admit need. I was taught to be self-sufficient, resourceful, independent. Admitting a need is contrary to these deeply ingrained habits. So, instead of asking, I scheme other ways to get what I want/need without help. This bit of scripture says I have it all wrong.

God delights to give his children good gifts. He delights in supplying my needs. He stands ready to assist. But I don’t ask. And when I get around to asking, my motives are wrong.

Reflecting on this, it seems to me asking for wisdom comes first. Fully confident that I will receive wisdom, I use it to check my motives when a desire for something presents itself. Am I jealous of someone else? Is this desire for my own pleasure? Is it to impress my neighbors and friends?

And then I need to ask, presenting my request to Jesus who delights in giving me good things for my enjoyment. In another New Testament letter, Paul writes this to Timothy:

… {our} trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment…use…money to do good… be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

1 Timothy 6:17-19

The message to me is START ASKING! And when I do, I need to believe with unwavering confidence that my asking will result in receiving if my motives are pure.

What is it that you are lacking right now? Is it wisdom? Ask! Is it faith? Ask! Is it resources? Ask! We do not have because we don’t ask. So, ask!

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