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James (W8D2) Ask God

Week 8. Tuesday: Ask God

PRAY: Ask God to speak to you from His Word.

READ: James 4:2-3

2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so 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.

UNDERSTAND: get a deeper understanding of the key words

  • Do not have, so you kill: This is violent language for division between believers. However, it should not be taken literally. James is making the point that when we are envious we become bitter and evil.

  • You you quarrel and fight: Covet is not a word we use often. The Greek word here is epithymeō and can also be translated “lust.” To covet or lust is to want what someone else has. The 10th Commandment in Exodus 20:17 directly condemns envy and covetousness. The point is to be content with the life God has given you and trust that His way is best.

  • You do not ask God: James is teaching a practical lesson here. If you don’t have something we should ask God rather than fighting others for what you want. If we ask God and He decides not to give us what we want, then we can be sure there are good reasons that we do not need it. Also see Matthew 7:7-11.

  • Ask with wrong motives: The Greek kakōs is a strong term that is also translated to mean sick or miserable. Sometimes we don’t get what we want because our motives are selfish. Apparently James is referring to asking God for financial things. This must be why he says we want more so we can spend what you get on your pleasures.

APPLY: What is this passage calling me to do?

What are the common methods you use to get what you want?

Why do we try to get what we want our own way before asking God?

What are your motives when you ask God for what you want?

PRAY: Ask God to reveal your motives behind what you want.

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