Last night the in-laws flew in and are staying with us for a week. So thankful to have them here for Thanksgiving!
3 [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures. 4 You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God. James 4:3-4 [AMP]
Remember, yesterday we covered James 4:1&2 which is a narrative on there being strife in the world because people are jealous and covet what other people have; when people’s desires go unfulfilled, there is due to be conflict because a sinful heart has no way (other than God) to redeem itself and set it apart. The end of verse 2 completes this thought with “You do not have, because you do not ask.”
So here in verse 3, the scholars who provided us the Amplified interpretation preface with “or”. This is where we start today.
James teaches us that even when we do ask God for something, we do so to fulfill a personal desire rather than to choose to operate under God’s desires. In these cases, God is likely to deny us the request. We can’t fool God and we can’t con Him into believing we are asking for something for righteous reasons when we’re not. Verse 4 goes further to compare this person (the one asking for something with the wrong reasons and ultimately to fulfill our own desires) to an adulterer or adulteress, breaking our marriage vow to God Himself.
Then James lays down a big one -> “Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy?”. Ouch!! He then repeats it against saying that whoever chooses to be a friend to the world SETS HIMSELF as an enemy of God!
Application: What are my motives when I ask God for something…or even when I ask Him for wisdom in making a decision for something (like a new car or house)? Are those motives structured around an impact here on earth or a Heavenly Kingdom impact?