“Yes, Motive Matters”
4 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
When the book of James was (most likely) written, there were various uprisings and revolts by the Jews against the Romans because they thought they deserved more freedoms. There was so much bloodshed in absolutely pointless uprisings. It would be the like Rhode Island revolting against the United States. It’s a pointless battle. This is the language James uses (fights, quarrels, battle…)
Let’s review. Let’s make sure we caught this? What causes fights and quarrels among us? SIN
Why is this so important? Identifying the problem is half of the solution.
The Jews wanted freedom and right to rule themselves. They didn’t have it so they killed and coveted but they could not obtain what they wanted. What they wanted could have been granted by God but they did not ask Him for it.
What happens when we try to get things in our own strength and ability?
What would happen if we tried to obtain the Christmas Festival by our own ingenuity and ability?
However…God is not a big Santa Claus upstairs who is waiting to grant you every request. He doesn’t wait, with baited breath for you to ask Him to do something. James is challenging the Jews here by telling them that even when they do ask, they are asking for selfish reasons. They aren’t even seeking God for the right reasons. This brings up another question:
What should our motive be when we ask God for something? His glory shone for our greatest good. This doesn’t always mean we will get what we want. That may not be good for us. But our desires should be to seek what God wants.
3 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.