Category : General
James 4: 3 (KJV)
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
It has been noted that some of them are supposed to say in objection, But we do “ask” (pray) 4: 2. James replies, It is not enough to ask for good things, but we must ask with a good spirit and intention. “Ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it (your object of prayer) upon (literally, in) your lusts (literally, pleasures)”; not that ye may have the things you need for the service of God. Contrast James 1:5 with Matthew 6:31-2. If ye prayed aright, all your proper wants would be supplied; the improper cravings which produce “wars and fighting” would then cease. Even believers‘ prayers are often best answered when their desires are most opposed.
Moreover, he goes farther to say that though they sought, yet they were deservedly denied; because they wished to make God the minister of their own lusts. For they set no bounds to their wishes, as he had commanded; but gave unbridled license to themselves, so as to ask those things of which man, conscious of what is right, ought especially to be ashamed. Pliny somewhere ridicules this impudence, that men so wickedly abuse the ears of God. The less tolerable is such a thing in Christians, who have had the rule of prayer given them by their heavenly Master. And doubtless there appears to be in us no reverence for God, no fear of him, in short, no regard for him, when we dare to ask of him what even our own conscience does not approve.
“God answers prayer, but not all prayer, especially not in giving the ungodly the ingredients for selfish gratification.” The Bible reveals exactly whose prayers are answered. He hears the cry of the righteous (Ps.34:15); He hears those who call upon Him in truth (Ps.145:18); and He hears the penitent (Luke 18:14): those who ask “in His name” (John 14:13), those who ask “believing” (Mark 11:24), and those who ask according to God’s will (1 John 5:14). As Gibson observed, here again “is an evident allusion to the sermon on the mount (Matthew 7:7)
Therefore, we see what James meant is that our desires ought to be bridled: and the way of bridling them is to subject them to the will of God. Moreover, he also teaches us, that what we in moderation wish, we ought to seek from God himself; which if it be done, we shall be preserved from wicked contentions, from fraud and violence, and from doing any injury to others.
Have a great and godly day!