Ask and Thou Shalt Receive


Ask and Thou Shalt Receive. What does James mean in chapter 4 when he says, "Ask and you will receive?" Does this mean that the true believer can ask for anything - like a free birthday list?






1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

James 4:1-5, NKJV


Ask and Thou Shalt Receive. What does James mean in chapter 4 when he says, "Ask and you will receive?" Does this mean that the true believer can ask for anything - like a free birthday list?


Ask and Thou Shalt Receive - Where do wars come from?

James begins chapter 4 with a question: "Where do wars come from?" He then follows this question with another: "Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?"


Could this be true? It seems like such a simple question, yet if you are a student of history, you will have to admit that the basis of all wars is a person's or a nation's pursuit of sinful desires. If all people lived in contentment with what they had, would anyone have a reason for war?


Verse 2 states: "You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war."


What is the answer to this dilemma? 


Ask and Thou Shalt Receive - Ask!!

Do you see the flow of the argument that James is making. We do not need to make war with other people. God tells us to ask Him. Ask Him and you will receive. Does that mean that God is like a birthday wish for the believer? Can I ask God for a million dollars? 


How does James answer that question? "You ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures."


James now comes to the key to this portion of Scripture. We do not understand the true path to peace and contentment. We think that if we get more and more things, we will be happier. However, peace and happiness are gifts of God and they come from a heart and soul that has found its contentment in God. 


The only debt that should concern us is the debt we owe to God. Our sins have separated us from God forever, but the Lord Jesus Christ has paid the debt of our sins and opened a pathway to God for us. That should put joy in our hearts and peace in our souls!


Ask and Thou Shalt Receive - Enemy of God

Truthfully, there are two camps. The camp of God and the camp of Satan. To be a friend of the world is to be in the camp of Satan and an enemy with God. 


Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.


You may say, "Wait a minute; I love God. I am not in the camp of Satan. I am a good person."


You may be right. After all, no one can truly see into your heart and soul but God. James is giving us a litmus test. How much do we love the world and the things of the world? 


Do you remember the story of Jesus and the rich man. 


18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ 'Honor your father and your mother.’ ”

21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”

22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

Luke 18:18-23, NKJV


Was the problem of the ruler the fact that he was very rich? Did Jesus mean that no one can be rich? Does a rich person have to sell everything they have and give it to the poor?


No! His riches were not the ruler's problem. You see, Jesus could do what we cannot do. Jesus could see into the ruler's very heart and soul and discover his love of riches.


The problem the ruler had was his love of the things of this world. He was not willing to sacrifice them to love and serve God. Though the young ruler was a "good" person, he was still in the camp of Satan!


Ask and Thou Shalt Receive - A Jealous Holy Spirit!

5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?


What does James mean in verse 5? 


The Holy Spirit lives or dwells in the the heart of the true believer. It is through the Holy Spirit's guidance that we grow in the things of the Lord. But, the Holy Spirit is God and God is a jealous God. God demands our whole heart and our whole mind and our whole soul!


Does that mean that we have to be perfect? No! Only God is perfect; the only perfect man was the Lord Jesus Christ. It does mean, however, that our hearts are turned away from the things of the world and yearn to live to please God.


This process of becoming more and more like Christ is called sanctification. For some this may be a quick process, but for most of us, this takes years! As a matter of fact, it will take the rest of our life on this earth. Only when we reach the gates of heaven will we lose our mantle of sin!


Ask and Thou Shalt Receive - Conclusion

Look at the richness found in the simple statement made by James: "Ask and you will receive." 


Serving the Lord Jesus Christ brings joy, peace, and thankfulness. I cannot express this better than the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 40:31.


But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31, NKJV

Bible Gateway


Fall upon the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to save you. Ask Him to help you lose your love for this world and cling to the Lord Jesus Christ.


Then you, too, shall mount up with wings like an eagle, run and not be weary, and walk and not faint!


God Bless You,

Linda




James 4 Devotionals

Ask and Thou Shalt Receive - verses 1-5

He Resists the Proud - verse 6

Resist the Devil - verses 7-10

One Lawgiver - verses 11 & 12

Boast in Weakness - verses 13-17




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