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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

Needs Vs. Wants

"The reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it." - James 4:2 TLB

One day, after my son made a remark about the pitiful condition of our dining room set, I mentioned to him that I had been praying for a new one. He promptly informed me that new dining room furniture was not a need, and that I shouldn't ask God to replace it for me. At first, his comments convicted me and made me feel guilty about my petitions. Then, I went to the Lord in prayer and asked Him to give me His view on the situation. Immediately, some of my favorite verses came to mind. "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4) "He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him." (Psalm 145:19) "Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." (John 16:24) God reassured me that He wants to fulfill our needs AND our desires, and it isn't our job to figure out which is which.

The Bible says: "You do not have, because you do not ask God." (James 4:2 NIV) God says there are some blessings we don't have, simply because we didn't ask Him for them. Many times, it doesn't even occur to us to ask God for certain things that He is eager to give us--things that He may never allow us to have if we don't seek Him for them. It never even occurred to my son to pray for new furniture. Thank God I didn't have the same attitude he did.

The following verse says: "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives." (James 4:3 NIV) Obviously, if we ask for things with the wrong motives, God will not grant them to us. Why did I want a new dining room set? It wasn't because I wanted to show off to my friends and family. It was because my old set was literally falling apart, and it was uncomfortable for my guests, as well as an embarrassment to me. I have new dining room furniture now, and I appreciate it tremendously because I asked God for it, and I waited on His timing.

These days, I have an old car. How many times does it have to break down before I can consider it a "need" and ask God for a newer one? I don't worry about that anymore. I just say, "Lord, I'd like a newer car, but I thank You for the one I already have." I feel free to ask God for the desires of my heart, because I love Him with all my heart. I ask for things with the right motives, and I'm willing to wait for His perfect timing. I can live without nice things. But I can't live without God. With that kind of attitude, I can ask God for the desires of my heart. And so can you.

Prayer: Lord, teach me how to ask You for all the things You want me to enjoy in this life. Help me to wait on Your perfect timing for each and every one. Give me a heart that always asks with the right motives. Remind me that even though nice things are desirable, I can live without them. Thank You that You "richly provide us with everything for our enjoyment"! (1 Timothy 6:17 NIV)

- J. M. Farro


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