Powerful Gift

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Malachi 3:12-15
13 “Your words have been arrogant against Me,” says the LORD. “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 “You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the LORD of hosts? 15 ‘So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and escape.’ ”

We want it all and we want it now. The old Queen song exposed our mentality then and continues to expose how our hunger for instant satisfaction distorts our view on reality today. It is how the porn industry grows. It is why the fast food industry rakes in billions of dollars each year. It is why the Internet has not become a luxury but a necessity for us. It is also why we are unhealthy, have horrible relationships that don’t last any period of time, and why we are lazy. While porn, fast food, and the Internet might cater to our demands, God refuses to. This is why we struggle in these times to grow a solid relationship with God.

The people have said that pursuing a relationship with God isn’t worth the effort. When they pray, they don’t get what they want, so why should they pray? When they give tithes and offerings they don’t become rich, so why should they give? This sounds like our collective attitude today, doesn’t it? We let the devil get in our head and twist God’s promises so we become disillusioned. The problem is that our relationship with God isn’t about us, it’s about Him! I love the example we see in the movie Bruce Almighty when he can’t handle all the prayer requests so he just answers “yes” to all of them. Next thing you know, the world has become a mess. The comical part is that everyone who prayed to win the lottery got what they asked for and only won a few bucks out of a few million! It is because we have lost perspective of who God is.

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In Matthew 7 we find what we all want to hear as selfish sinners:

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 “Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

Yet we forget what Jesus also said in John 14:

13 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

We think that just asking is the key, but the real key is to ask according to God’s will and knowing His will by loving Him and growing closer to Him. This is why we have grown accustomed to saying, “in Jesus’ name” at the end of our prayers. We have thought that just by invoking the name of Jesus and recognizing Him that we will get what we want. But take note of what Jesus is really saying in Matthew 7. God will only give us what He knows is good for us! So if we ask for something He knows is not good for us, why would He give it? If a child asks his daddy for a shot of whiskey, will the dad give it to him? Most likely not because he knows it will not be good for the child. The child will throw a fit (just like we do) but the father is pleased that even though his child is upset, he knows he will be safe because he did the right thing. If we can understand this concept, why then do we get cranky when God doesn’t give us what we want?

We have lost the correct perspective of God. We view Him as holding back and controlling us. These are lies of our spiritual enemy. God is only good and therefore can only do good. So if He withholds something from us, it is for our good or the good of others! We might not understand what He is doing, but we can trust in His goodness. He always gives us good things and we have lost appreciation for those good things because we always want more. Maybe God is waiting for you to appreciate what you do have before He gives you more. If we expect God to just give us what we ask for when we ask for it, we are just trying to manipulate the creator of the universe. Personally, I wouldn’t want a God who can be manipulated because we would all be in some serious trouble if that were possible.

God gave us the ultimate good gift, His Son. He gave us power over this impulsive selfishness. He gave us victory over the draw of the world. He gave us freedom from the temptation of asking for what we don’t really need. He gave us what we need to recognize and resist our spiritual enemy’s lies. He gave us the sacrifice of His son and then the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. Surely this is something worth thanking Him for.


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