Monday, May 19, 2014

Does God Owe You?

I have a friend who is frustrated with God right now. He has certain talents and abilities, and he expected God to give him certain things in the way of a job, things which would utilize his God-given talents. But he didn't get what he wanted and now he's angry with God, maybe even falling away. It makes me sad, and I pray that he will not walk away from his faith. But I can relate to him. Not too long ago a similar thing happened to me, a disappointed expectation, and I blamed God. Thankfully, we serve a forgiving God, and because of Jesus he does not hold my error against me. I think it's all too easy for us to come to expect things and to be angry with God when we don't get them.

You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 
James 4:2b-3

God did not put us in this world to live here.  We are to be in the world, but not of the world. 

"Jesus answered, 'My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.'" John 18:36 

But what does that mean? 

God gave us abilities and gifts, and he expects us to use them. If you don't believe that, read the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. God also wants us to have prosperity and enjoy the world. Why else would he have promised "a land flowing with milk and honey" to the Israelites if they obeyed him? And why did he give us stars, snow-capped mountains, the Grand Canyon, delicious food or sunsets if he does not want us to have pleasure in this life? All of this is the "in the world" part.

The problem is not in having, using or enjoying these things. Rather, the problem comes when these things become the focus. That is what being "of the world" means. If we desire things simply because they give us pleasure or make us happy our heart is not in the right place. And it is the heart that God is after. So if you're asking God for something, or expecting anything from him that is not forth-coming, try doing a heart check. 

Is your focus on Him?

 Or is it on your own pleasures? 

Ask God to show you. He knows your heart better than even you do.

Holy Father, YOU alone are God and worthy of all praise and worship. Thank you for your goodness and for the many blessings you continually pour out. Help us to receive them with humble, generous, and thankful hearts. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on you and to live faithful, god honoring lives. Thank you Jesus. Amen