Why Isn’t God Answering Me?
“Why didn’t you just say so?” I’ve heard that statement made to me numerous times. Have you ever had someone say that to you? Basically, the person didn’t know what you wanted or understood what you were saying because you failed to say what you meant or clearly articulate what you mean.
The same thing can happen in our walk with God. Perhaps we are not getting through with God because we are not asking him. James 4:2 tells us that we do not have because we do not ask. Simply put, if we want something in life, we need to ask God. Although God knows what we need, we do need to approach him and ask him because we are in a relationship with him. Perhaps God is not answering you because you do not ask him for what you need.
You might be saying, “Well I have been asking God, why hasn’t he answered me? God question. When we ask God for something, there are conditions. James says that, “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: 3). James is saying that we have to ask God with the right motive.
When James wrote this letter to the church community, they were fighting and quarreling with each other because they wanted popularity, power, and authority. Their motive for what they wanted in life was impure. James says if you are going to approach God and ask him something you must ask with right motives.
Asking God to travel the world, so that you can brag about how many places you have visited, or asking God for a job so that you can tell people you have this title will not cut it with God. God sees our heart and he knows our motives and if our motives are wrong, you can forget about God listening or answering those kinds of prayers. Those are selfish prayers.
But for the person who prays and says “Lord I want to travel to Australia to help with a community dealing with poverty, or I would like this job so that I can help with our house income,” God ears will lean into that prayer and if it is God’s will he can grant that request.
James says we don’t receive because we ask with wrong motives. Perhaps you are not getting what you want in life because you are asking with wrong motives. Examine your heart and prayers, have you been asking God for something with the right motive in mind?
This is why James says we can’t be in the world and follow God at the same time. We must choose. He says we are an adulterous people (v 4). Seems like a harsh statement but he says we are adulterous because when we follow the world two things happens: we hate God (v 4) and we become enemies with God (vs 4). Those are strong claims that James makes against us. However, James wants us to understand that sin is serious and loving God and loving the world just can’t happen. We must make a choice and God wants us to choose him.
There is a solution to our sinful heart and it is the grace of God. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6).
God grace to us is good news! Even though we have sinned against God and we have prayed selfish prayers, the Bible says God gives us grace. God’s grace is his underserving love and mercy to us. It also says God opposes the proud and shows favor the humble. Favor means – acceptance, approval, benefits and blessings.
I don’t know about you but I want to the favor of God. I want God to bless me and guide me to be on the right track. God’s favor in our life will show up in different shapes and sizes: a new job, health, relationships, peace, or a financial blessing.
The key to this passage is humility, when we are humble before God, the Bible says he shows favor. How to we become a humble person? James outlines a process that we can practice in order to become humble.
James says we need to submit to God (v 7). This means we need to surrender ourselves to God. Maybe we have said to God, “I have surrendered to you” but maybe there are still some stubborn areas in our life that need to be given over to God.
James says we need to resist the devil (v 7). This means we need to learn to stand firm and resist the devil just like Jesus did. Perhaps this is an area in our life that we struggle with because when temptation comes we cave in. We can be like Jesus who when tempted by the devil, quoted the word of God, and overcame sin. We can as well.
James says we need to come near to God (v 8). This means we need to spend time with him. Have you been spending time with God? Do you make time in your day to sit before the LORD?
As we spend time with God, we will be convicted of our sin and it should lead us to mourn, grieve, and wail over our sin (v 9). Sin is not a joke but a serious matter and when we get to the point where we are in an emotional state of sorrow this is a good indication that we understand that we have sinned against God.
Finally, he says humble yourself. This means realize who you are in comparison to God and your need for him. As you and I humble ourselves to God, the Bible says, “he will lift you up.” (v 10).
Well…. there you have it. God wants us to ask him for what we need. God wants us to ask with right motives. God wants us to have friendship with him, not the world. God is willing to show us grace, even though we have sinned. God wants us to be humble and we can do that by – submitting to him, resisting the devil, drawing hear to him, grieving over our sin, and humbling ourselves to him.
Dear God, I am sorry that I have been praying selfish prayers. I only prayed for things that would elevate me. Lord teach me to pray the right prayers. Lord help me not to choose to follow you. I want to submit to you, resist the devil, draw close to you, mourn my sin, and humble myself. I desire to be humble so that your favor will be upon me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
If you would like to watch the full sermon on this topic please click here.