Asking Amiss – Part 3

We are talking about what asking amiss really means.  So far, we’ve seen that it involves the tongue.  With the tongue we can curse or bless.  Choose to bless others.

We’ve also seen that asking amiss involves “worldly wisdom”, which is opposite of the wisdom that comes down from Heaven.

This post will deal with the motivations of the heart, taken from James 4:1-3.

James 4:1-3 (New Living Translation)

1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?

2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.

3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

The KJV words Verse 3 like this:  “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

The word “amiss” in the Greek means:  to ask wrongly or with wrong motives or wicked intentions, usually for selfish gain without regard for others (or no intention of using what you get to bless others with it).

The word “consume” in the Greek means:  to squander, to waste, to misuse, to throw away, a lack of stewardship and of being responsible with what you have.

The word “lusts” in the Greek is in reference to riotous living, no self-discipline or self-control, indulgence in sinful pleasures, greed, covetousness, allowing things to control you.

God is against financial corruption, dishonesty, bribery, fraud, extortion, theft, exploitation, sexual immorality, vice, evil.

God looks at the heart and intentions when we ask Him for things. Those who have a pure heart and right intentions would not ask amiss.

Nowhere in any of these passages is it implying that it would be selfish on our part to ask God to bless us with an abundant supply in order that we may have everything we need for everyday living.

God is a King and His children are supposed to be princes and princesses.

Besides asking the Lord for financial blessings, I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where asking God for non-material blessings is wrong. For example, asking God for the husband or wife of His perfect will for you, asking God for children, asking the Lord for godly friends, asking God for healing, asking God for wisdom or asking God for anything else that is good and positive.

The devil is a thief who wants to steal everything from you (John 10:10a).

Jesus is the opposite – He is Righteous and Good.  He came to give us life, and life more abundantly, till it overflows (John 10:10b).

The word “overflow” gives the picture of being so full that you cannot contain it anymore—it begins to spill over.  If you fill a glass with water and keep the water spout on, the water will reach the top of the glass and then begin to spill over.

This is the picture of the Lord’s desire to bless His children.  He wants to fill us with life and blessings—not just until we are full, but keep pouring it on until we are overflowing.

Religion says that God will meet our needs, but not our wants. God is a wonderful, generous father who delights in meeting both our needs and wants.  (Every person and every culture may have their own definition of a need and a want.)

God does not necessarily distinguish between a need and a want. He is generous.

Psalms 37:4 says that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart.

That word “delight” is the Hebrew word anag. It means to be soft and pliable. God is the Potter and we are the clay, and He wants us to allow Him to mold us into the vessel that He wants to design us into. He wants us to allow Him to have His way in our lives.

The word delight also means to take pleasure in the Lord, to love Him and to worship Him.

Asking Amiss – Part 2

Jesus said that if we meet this requirement of abiding in Him and He in us (John 15:7), then we may ask what we desire and it shall be done for us.

If we are truly abiding in Him, then we will be in touch with the Lord’s heart and most likely would never ask amiss because our motives would be pure and we would want to please Him.

When you are in love with someone you want to please that person.  Love is unselfish and always giving.  If you are in love with Jesus, and love others, it’s hardly likely you would ask anything amiss.

In the previous posts, we talked about the tongue and about abiding in Christ.  The tongue has the power to curse or bless.  Choose blessing.

The next passage we are going to discuss is James 3:13-18 to help us understand the context in which James talks about asking amiss.

James 3:13-18 talks about the “so-called” wisdom of this world versus living our lives according to the Godly Wisdom from Heaven. If we live according to Heaven’s wisdom, then it’s very unlikely we would ask amiss.

Godly Wisdom Worldly Wisdom
A spirit of humility Pride, prejudice and arrogance
Taking others’ needs into consideration Selfish ambition
Using our tongue to bless and encourage others Using the tongue to put other people down, to injure others
Treating others the way you want to be treated Manipulating others for selfish gain, with no regard for the feelings of others
Sowing seeds of peace Sowing seeds of strife
Allowing God to promote you Stepping on others to get ahead
Being kind and doing good to others Being mean-spirited and malicious
Esteeming others Trying to look better than others
Edifying Others Tearing others down
Encouraging Others Discouraging Others
Secure in who you are in God Bitter jealousies
Wanting to help others succeed Purposely seeking others’ demise
Living a holy life Living for the devil
Being gentle and reasonable Being cold-hearted, blood-thirsty
Integrity and Honesty Two-faced, Deception, Lying, Cheating
Showing others dignity and honor Showing disrespect and dishonor
Helping the poor Exploiting the poor
A spirit of giving and generosity Stinginess, selfishness, greed

Asking Amiss – Part 1

You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it (Matthew 21:22  NLT).

In this verse, the Greek word for “anything” (or “all things” in the KJV) is pas.  It is defined as:  all, any, every, the whole.

Therefore, “anything” means “anything”.

In my spirit, I could sense some people saying, “Yes, but what about James 4:3 that says that you ask, but do not receive, because you ask amiss.”

I am now going to address what asking amiss means.

We will begin with James 3:1-12.

This first passage is about using the tongue for good or evil and how we treat other people:

James 3:1-12 (Message Bible)

1 Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards.

2 And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.

3 A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse.

4 A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds.

5 A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire.

6 A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

7 This is scary: You can tame a tiger,

8 but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer.

9 With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image.

10 Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this can’t go on.

11 A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it?

12 Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you? Live Well, Live Wisely.

People ask amiss when they have wrong attitudes in their heart to begin with.  Jesus said that whatever a person speaks, it proceeds from the overflow of their heart.  The heart is the center of our being.  From the heart can flow good things or evil things.

If a person’s heart and attitude is not right, and they are in the habit of speaking words of cruelty, negativity, doubt, fear, unbelief, cursing, deceit—then they will probably ask God for things from wrong motives, lusts or greed, or things contrary to the Word of God because their heart and attitudes are not perfect before God.

Jesus said that we will be held accountable for every idle word which we have spoken (Matthew 12:36).

God is looking for a pure heart, and a tongue who speaks no guile.

Psalms 24:3-5 says:

3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?

Or who may stand in His holy place?

4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,

Nor sworn deceitfully.

5 He shall receive blessing from the Lord,

And righteousness from the God of his salvation.

John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” NKJV

To abide in Jesus is to be connected to Him and in intimate union with Him, thus bearing good fruit in your life. The picture in the natural is of the branch receiving its nourishment from the Vine. A branch cut off from the Vine will wither up and die.

If you are abiding in Jesus and in intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit, you probably would not ask anything amiss in the first place. It would be your heart’s desire to please Him and to live according to His Word. Your heart and motivations would be right.

If there is anyone reading who is not connected to Jesus, He is inviting you to come to Him. He loves you so very much! Maybe some have never accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Maybe others once knew the Lord but are backslidden and feel disconnected to the Lord—they feel like that branch that is severed from the trunk. Jesus is inviting you to come to Him right now.

Just call out to Him and invite Him to come into your heart. You can pray a prayer in your own words, or here is a sample prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus,

I feel disconnected from You. I want to be saved! I want to become connected (or re-connected) to You, as the branch receives its life from the Vine.

Jesus, I confess that You are Lord. Wash away all of my sins. Cleanse me in the Blood of the Lamb. Write my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Jesus, I invite You to come into my heart and I accept You as my Savior and Lord.

Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I need You and want You so very much. Fill me with the joy and peace of Your Presence dwelling on the inside of me. Let me know the joy of my salvation.

Transform me into the person You created me to be. Help me to live for You.

I want to live for You and I want to know You more. Teach me Your Word.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Where is Jesus right now? Do you feel His Presence in your heart?

You have just been born again.

Or if you were a backslider, you have now come back to God. The angels are rejoicing right now, and I am too. Father God rejoices over the prodigal coming home. He has the ring to put on your finger, the royal cloak to drape over your shoulders, and a party to celebrate you coming back to the fold.

Those who are involved in any kind of witchcraft, black magic, sorcery, the occult, horoscopes, astrology, psychics, anything of the dark side. … that is a sure way to become disconnected from the Vine very quickly, who is Jesus. Your powers are coming from demons.

Jesus is pleading with you to repent, and to renounce all witchcraft, or anything to do with the occult or demonic activity. This is very serious, and should you pass away right now, you could end up in hell unless you repent, because of being disconnected from the Vine.

If a branch is severed from the Vine, it will wither up and be destroyed. The Lord is pleading with you to return to Him.