Growing up I was often told that God is not a genie. In other words, God is not just someone we can dump a bunch of wishes upon and hope he grants them for our enjoyment. That mindset took its hold upon my heart at an early age. Who am I to beg God for every little thing I want? Am I entitled to God’s service? Surely not. Soon I began to stop asking God for things that I want. In fact, I physically could not force myself to ask God for anything that was not something I needed. My only desire was to follow God’s will, and anything that wasn’t necessary in the building up of His kingdom was neglected. I felt dirty, prideful and shameful anytime I felt myself prying for the strength to simply ask God for something I desired. I would take one look at my life and see all of my sin and question how I could even have the audacity to ask God for anything when I am so wretched and undeserving. I was extremely critical of my actions and tried to convince myself that I had to earn God’s blessing. I tricked myself into believing that I had to reach a personal standard of righteousness in order to come to God for something. Yet, once I reached that personal standard, I still tasted bitterness knowing that I already had all I needed. God has blessed me with so much, and I am over here asking for more! He has given me gifts and abilities, a loving family and equally loving friends, a nation where I have the freedom to share my passion for Christ. Yet, I have all these desires in the back of my head that I secretly wish could become a reality on top of all that God has given me already. So the big question is:
Does God care about the things we want?
Of course he does.
The salvation God has given you means so much more than a ride through the pearly gates someday. The salvation God has given you also means that he becomes a compass in your life. He points you to things that fulfill his will and your desires if you let him. Psalms 37:4-5 says,
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”
Walking with Christ is one thing, but delighting yourself in his presence is something new entirely. When we delight ourselves in the Lord’s presence, our passions and desires soak in a new purpose. Our minds and way of thinking become reconstructed into seeking Christ through everything we do. 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.”
We cant have confidence in approaching God when we do not delight in his presence. The confidence we can have in asking God for our desires comes from a heart seeking God’s provision through it. There is a passage in the Bible about a man named Jabez, who has an amazing dream that he brings directly to God confidently. 1 Chronicles 4:10 says,
“Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain! And God granted what he asked.”
Jabez asked for God’s blessing, more land and safety from harm. We often stop there when we ask God for something we want. “Bless me and give me what I want.” But Jabez saw the beauty in his dreams; beauty that only stems from a life centered around the Father. He prayed for God’s provision through it. He wanted his land and wealth to reflect the power of God. He delighted himself in the presence of the Lord and wanted him to be the blood than ran through his desires. Proverbs 16:3 says,
“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.”
When we submit our lives to the Lord and abide in his presence with gladness, our minds become set on him. Our desires become less about our own gain and more about the Lord’s name. That is God’s will for our lives; that as we abide in him, our minds become more like-minded to his thoughts. Our desires become his desires. No matter the context of the prayer you ask of God, when it is asked with acknowledgement that God is the power source behind it, the Lord will bless.
God isn’t a genie, but he still wants you to come to him with your big or small dreams and desires. God knows your heart and sees the force that drives you. We can never earn God’s blessings, but we can delight in his presence and truth which by grace he has given us. Let the bitterness and guilt dissipate when you go to the Lord in wanting of something. But let your wanting be in honor of the one true God who has blessed us with life and purpose.