by Pastor Tim Burt
When I was a boy, in my young boyish mind, I thought my parents were poor. Not because we seemed deprived as much as because we were a family of ten children. The younger siblings wore the hand-me-downs of the older siblings. Unlike many of my friends, we didn’t get everything we asked our parents for. But I don’t think any of us felt deprived, so I can’t explain to you why I thought we were poor. Maybe just because I had some friends whose parents were wealthy, and they did get most of what they asked their parents for.
Because I thought like this, I seldom ever asked Mom or Dad for anything. I didn’t want the family deprived of anything just because of things I wanted. My younger sister closest in age to me told me she had very similar thoughts. Neither of us wanted to inconvenience our parents by asking them for things we did not think they could afford. (How would we know?) So, seldom did either of us ever ask for anything. And you know what we got? We got what we asked for—very little, except for birthdays and Christmas which Dad and Mom were over-the-top gracious (and my sister and I worried it would put us in the poor house!) Now, our next youngest brother did not think like us. He asked our dad for everything and did so constantly! It bugged my sister and me badly, but we noticed it didn’t seem to bug my dad. We were a little jealous because we saw that Dad gave our asking brother much of what he asked for.
I became a Christian at the age of 24, receiving Jesus as my Lord and Savior. As a Christian learning about the heart and character of God, I would sometimes reflect back on my childhood, and think about my asking brother. I came to realize that he was the smart one. He asked—not because he was more selfish, but because he had more childlike faith in my parents’ ability to supply his needs.
Many religious people have this sense of guilt toward asking God to help supply their needs. Many Christians have been taught or led to believe that God is too distant, too busy, or too overwhelmed with billions of people to care for, to care about their personal needs. Others suffer from false condemnation and guilt that they are somehow greedy, or covetous, or unworthy to talk to God about their needs.
When you have needs and you don’t know where to get help, to NOT seek God for His supernatural help is wrong. And this usually leads people to try to fix their own problems in a wrong or unethical way. They end up lying, cheating, stealing, breaking laws, scheming, and more. They don’t know how else to get what they need so they cross moral and legal boundaries and get things their own way which is the wrong way! This may be hard for you to believe but there are millions of people on this earth that make some form of stealing, their way of life. They don’t know that they can learn to lean on God and experience another depth of His love and supernatural provision.
James 4:2-3 NIV says, “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. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
There is a difference between needs and lusts and it takes time to discern which is which, but you must learn. It is a part of the spiritual and natural maturing process. Isn’t the Holy Spirit powerful enough within you to teach you and help you develop discernment? James 1:5 speaks to that saying, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
Your view of what God is willing to help you with might be way too small! Too many Christians can’t imagine God caring about the detailed needs of their life. But He does! Philippians 4:6 NIV says, “Do not be anxious about anything, BUT IN EVERYTHING, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ” Did you see those words, “BUT IN EVERYTHING…present your requests.” God cares about souls being saved and about people being helped in this defiled world. He cares about each and every one of us. He is a Father and His love toward you is personal!
Renee and I have asked the Lord for so many things over the years. I have done so because when I ask in faith, it is pleasing and honoring to the Lord. He wants us dependent upon Him for everything! When we find we are leaning on ourselves, we can know we are in trouble. It’s easy to go buy on credit and rack up debt. Anyone can do that without God. There are far too many things that we are incapable in ourselves of getting, doing, or accomplishing. Asking God for help out of a pure heart is a product of discernment that comes with time. You’ll make mistakes and ask for things you shouldn’t, but you won’t offend God.
Learning to navigate your own lusts, motives, and sincere faith in asking God for what you need is something that takes time. The Holy Spirit will teach you along the way as long as you are desiring to learn. God will not be upset with you during that learning curve. You will make mistakes in the process. Don’t kids ask for a snack right before dinner? You know they’ll learn over time. You don’t get mad at them for that! You might not get them the pony they ask for but you’ll not hold back on what you know you could do that would bless them. Asking is a process of learning but you need to ask! The thing we should feel guilty about is NOT asking for fear He won’t hear or that He doesn’t care. You can’t believe how many people there are that just don’t ask God in sincere faith for anything. He says, “WE HAVE NOT BECAUSE WE ASK NOT!
Psalm 84:11 TLB tells us “For the LORD God is our light and protector; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
When you ask and you don’t see things happen right away, please keep this in mind. It isn’t because HE is ignoring you. Most of what God brings us in life comes through other people. God does not usurp people’s will. He has to lead them in their heart to reach out just like He tries to encourage you to reach out and help others. Hopefully, they will respond. If they don’t, He looks for someone else. Yes, He could do a miracle and sometimes does, but He primarily chooses to bring His blessings to us through people. The primary way God brings blessing into our life is through relationships so you better understand how important they are to the plan of God concerning you! And remember also that He wants to teach you to be a giver as well as a receiver. In truth, it all starts with you learning to find ways to give to others. Luke 6:38 NLT says, “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you.”
Do you have a need? Ask in faith believing. Let the Lord teach you. Be patient and be confident that no good thing will He withhold from you. Say it and believe it! And if you can find something to give or sow into another’s life, plant that seed and know that God cares about your need! (More to come soon on this subject)
Philippians 4:19 (NLT) “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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