What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 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. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)
What Does “You Have Not Because You Ask Not” Mean?
It means that one of the main reasons we do not have what we want is because we have not asked God for it.
This is such an important principle that Jesus Himself said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
One of the things we need to realize is that God wants to give us good things. He is not a stingy Father who is reluctant to give us what we need. In fact, He loves to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11).
If we want something from God, all we need to do is ask. It’s that simple. And yet, for some reason, we often fail to do this. We try to figure things out on our own or we just don’t bother to ask God for help.
But if we want to experience the fullness of what God has for us, we need to learn to ask Him for everything. We need to depend on Him fully and trust that He will provide for us.
So if you’re feeling like you’re lacking in some area of your life, pray to God for what you need. He is waiting to give you His good gifts.
The Cause of Fights and Quarrels
What does asking God for things have to do with fights and quarrels? James 4:1 tells us that the cause of many of our arguments is our unfulfilled desires.
We live in a fallen world where we are constantly bombarded with advertising telling us that we need more stuff. We see things that we want but can’t have and this can lead to envy, jealousy, and greed. These are all sinful desires that battle within us.
And when these desires go unfulfilled, they can lead to fighting and quarreling. We may argue with our spouse over who is going to get the new car or we may fight with our friends over who is going to get the better job.
These arguments are usually not about things that are truly important, but about our own selfish desires. And the root of the problem is that we have not asked God to satisfy our desires.
If we want to avoid fights and quarrels, we need to learn to ask God for what we want. We need to surrender our desires to Him and trust that He will give us what is best. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus tells us to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to us as well.
When we make God our priority, He will take care of our needs. We don’t need to worry about what we’re going to eat or drink or wear because God will provide for us. This doesn’t mean that we will always get everything we want, but it does mean that He will give us what is best for us.
Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). If we want something from God, all we need to do is ask. He is waiting to give us good gifts. He loves to give us good things. Just as an earthly father loves to give good gifts to his children, our heavenly Father loves to give us good things. So if you’re feeling lacking in some area of your life, ask God for what you need. He is waiting to give you His good gifts.
Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” When we ask God for what we need, He will lead us down the path of life. He will satisfy our desires and give us His good gifts.
Psalm 84:11 says, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” When we walk with God, He will withhold nothing good from us. Did you catch that? If something is good for us, God will give it to us. He is not a stingy Father who is reluctant to give us what we need.
Why do we fail to ask God for what we need?
Lack of Faith
One reason we don’t ask God for what we need is because of a lack of faith. We may not believe that God can or will provide for us. We may think that our situation is too difficult for Him to handle.
But the truth is that there is nothing too difficult for God. He is all-powerful and He loves us. He is more than able to take care of our needs.
Matthew 6:30-33 says, “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
When we worry about our needs, it shows a lack of faith in God. We are saying that we don’t believe He can take care of us. We are putting our trust in ourselves instead of in Him.
But when we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, He promises to take care of our needs. We can trust Him to provide for us because He is a good Father who loves us.
Asking With The Wrong Motives
Another reason we don’t get what we ask is because we ask with the wrong motives. James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
If we are only asking God for things so that we can gratify our own desires, then we are not going to get what we want. We need to learn to focus on God’s desires and not our own.
1 John 5:14-15 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.”
If we want to be confident that our prayers will be answered, we need to pray according to God’s will. We need to seek His guidance and ask for things that are in line with His plans.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” We need to learn to live our lives for God’s glory and not our own. When we do this, our prayers will be in line with His will and He will answer them.
If we want to see our prayers answered, we need to make sure that we are asking with the right motives. We need to seek God’s glory and not our own. When we do this, He will hear us and answer our prayers.
Abide In Jesus
In John 15:7, Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
When we abide in Jesus and His words abide in us, our prayers will be answered. This is because we will be praying according to His will. We will be asking for things that are in line with His plans.
If we want our prayers to be answered, we need to abide in Jesus. We need to let His words dwell in us so that we can pray according to His will. When we do this, He will answer our prayers.