“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”James 4:1
When I was a young parent, I felt successful when my children did what I asked. If I insisted that they say, “I’m sorry,” and they did, I was content. If they sat quietly in the church pew, I was satisfied. I soon realized with dismay that compliant behavior does not mean a changed heart, nor does outward conformity mean inward love for God or others. Defiant or demanding behavior often exposes the wrong desires within so they can be addressed.
James explains, “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” (4:2). At first glance this may look like a miracle formula… just ask and get anything! But the passage goes on to say, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives…” (v.3). The wrong motive: “How do I get what I want from God?” The right motive: “How do I want what I get from God?” When our hearts want what God gives us, our desires are met and our battle within is won.
Instead of rushing to ask God for things you want, begin by asking him to tune your heart to desire the things he gives you!