The Big Things That God Wants You to Ask Him For!
Ill. My mom sais to me just before going to Haiti that she was praying for me and felt like God was telling her to tell me something. “Instead of asking God for the same ole things that we have for years and He has not provided – ask Him for something big that you want God to accomplish. God wants you to challenge Him.”
So I took this to heart and began making my list of “big things to challenge God”. I did not realize it till this week in preparing this message that my new list of things to challenge God were just about the same as my old list!
Then I started thinking that I am still not asking for the right things that God wants me to ask Him for. I have got to quit asking for the wrong things and find out what are the things God wants me to ask Him for!
For the next few weeks I want to take you on a personal journey of self discovery of why you and I are not yet experiencing the life God has planned for us and then to make the changes necessary to get there. Are you ready for that?
Exhibit A will be the example God has preserved and provided for us to learn from for over 3000 years. It is a tragic event referred to over and over in Psalms, the prophets, the gospels, and epistles, ( I Cor. 10, and Hebrews). Three separate times it is referred to in Hebrews. Before scripture was written and things were orally passed down, to the writing of the scriptures this particular story is constantly used as a warning to us today. A whole generation of God’s children died in a wilderness instead of a promise land God had planned for them.
You say you don’t care to hear about this because that was then and this is now and things are different. I beg to differ. Referring to the NT:
“Now these things (example of Israel dying in the wilderness) happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.” I Cor. 10:6
“Now all these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come.” I Cor. 10:11
A prayer to prepare for the journey:
“Lord, thank You for the message You have preserved for more than 3000 years for me to hear about today. Thank You for loving me enough to want what is best for my life. As best as I know how, I submit my life into Your hands for changes needed in order to experience the life You want for me. I want to leave my wilderness and move into Your promise land beginning today. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Each week we will look at one thing we need to change, and how to do it by replacing an attitude with what God wants to ask Him for and is willing to give us. What kept them from the promise land is what is keeping us from ours. WE can learn from their example. Unbelief may be the quick answer for their demise but unbelief was the overall fruit but underneath were several hidden roots causing unbelief that we must discover and replace with what God is willing to give us.
The first attitude that caused a whole generation of God’s people to die in the wilderness was something we don’t think we have:
“These things happened as examples for us, SO THAT WE WOULD NOT CRAVE EVIL THINGS AS THEY ALSO CRAVED.” I COR. 10:6
- Craving evil things = COVETING
WHAT IS COVETOUSNESS?
Wanting the wrong things, or wanting right things at the wrong time, or for the wrong reasons, or in the wrong amount.
Examples: If you want to be a spiritual leader is a good thing. If you want it for personal recognition or to make you feel important then it becomes coveting evil things God not willing to give.
Example: You want right things but at wrong time. Couple says we love each other and want to get married and commit lives to each other. But we want to sexually satisfy each other now. Want right things for right reasons (God given sexual desire), but they want it for wrong time – this is coveting evil things God not willing to give.
Example: Money needed for living here. Job pays the bills. Another job offers great money if you work every Sunday but take you from family and church. More of anything other than God’s will never satisfies anything. It could be coveting after evil things God not willing to give.
Nothing wrong with wanting to get ahead and make a better life for yourself – God made you that way. But beware of the wrong way to do it!
Coveting is the 10th commandment and all of us are tempted by it in some way, but most will deny it is really coveting. For Israel in the wilderness it was this:
“Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish we use to eat in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons. But now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna. . . the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased.”
“For we were better off in Egypt!” Numbers 11:18
Everyday Israel would gather supernatural food in a desert and everyday God heard coveting for what He was not providing. At the root of a coveting attitude is a heart saying, “God You are not meeting my expectations. You are not enough for me!”
God was angry at their arrogant rejection of His provision and goodness.
Ill. He sent quail for them to eat. They ate it till they loathed it and got sick on it. It came out of their nostrils – threw up food. Num 11:18-20
“He gave them their requests, but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:15
ill. Maybe God will bring to your mind something you have been begging Him for but He is not willing to give you. Some financial windfall, some material dream. Instead He has something better in mind.
Ill. Haiti mission trip – 3rd world country, poverty and yet the people for the most part are happy. Church is sure joyful and lively. They have a peace with the simple things of life.
In America we tend to refer to material wealth as “the blessing of the Lord, as in “I got a raise – what a blessing.” Or my investments are growing tremendously – God has really blessed me.” My point is Americans tend to think money is synonymous with blessing!
Sometimes I wonder if our financial prosperity is the “meat” we have begged God for so long that we are now chocking or getting sick on it!
By the world’s standards the US is incredibly wealthy in things but I think we are very malnourished in the joy of the Lord! I don’t see many Xns with the joy of the Lord like we should be full of including myself!
I wonder if God has given us our requests but sent leanness into our souls?
When is enough enough? When you covet then enough is never enough!
Ill. Even us Pastors – we all want the biggest, wealthiest churches so we can do more for God right? When is enough enough? Never heard of a church with a limit on church membership. We are supposing to win the whole world right? WE are to evangelize but not bring everyone to our church. What if we realized God’s plans for now were for us to be a congregation of 300 and no more for now. We are not taking any new members at this time. You’ll have to wait until some people either get mad and leave (about 3 months) or till some get promoted to heaven. Then we work on discipling classes for only these 300. We only build a building (debt free) for this size too. What about others who want to come? Welcome them. Maybe have multiple services but when we reach our limit we work on building another congregation for whatever size God show us in a near by place.
It is time to look inside inside our hearts and ask GOD a question:
AM I A COVETOUS PERSON?
Ask yourself: “Do I spend more time thinking about people to impact with the gospel, or do I think more about things to accumulate?
God puts people in a wilderness experience when they want things more than they want Him and His plans for their lives.
What is the big thing that God wants me to ask Him for?
What prayer can I ask God for that He is willing to do?
Replace my coveting with His contentment.
Contentment is satisfaction with God’s provision.
Ill. Paul writes Timothy and warns him to stay away from people who “suppose that financial gain is godliness”. Then He adds,
But godliness with contentment is great gain. I Tim. 6:6
Godliness deals with who I am. Never be content to stay where you are in your personal growth and maturity and spirituality. Contentment deals with what you have as enough in life. Learn when enough is enough.
Paul is not condemning desire for gain. Almighty God has given you the desire to make your life better. It is not wrong to desire upgrades, improvements, new car to improve your life. Just be careful with that desire because we are rarely satisfied with what we have. When God adds wealth and increase there is no sorrow with it.
You can accumulate so much that you turn into a maintenance man instead of living the life God has for you to impact the world.
So how do I get contentment to replace covetousness?
1. Keep sight of eternity.
“For we brought nothing into this world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” I Tim. 6:7
- Heard of an old friend who died in his sleep the other day. Only 66?
ill. Back in the old day’s funeral homes had suits made to bury people in. One day a funeral home was going out of business and had some suits left over for sale. One man tried one and was surprised to find it had no pockets in it. What would a corpse need pockets for?
2. Learn when enough is enough.
“Having food and covering, with these be content.” I Tim. 6:8
ill. In Haiti I began to wonder. If I had the money, I could fix this or do that. Does it all come down to economics? Thought of what Peter Lord said He heard from the Lord after he was asking for more money for some project. “If I thought money would solve the world’s problems I would have sent money instead of sacrificing My Son!”
2. Learn from examples.
“While coveting after money, some have strayed from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” I Tim. 6:10
We don’t have to learn everything on our own. I read lots of books because I am learning a lot from other people.
Millions of people have already figured out some things and we can learn from them so we don’t have to learn the hard way.
“I have made millions, but they brought me no happiness.” John D. Rockefeller
“The care of millions is too great a load. There is no pleasure in it.” Cornelius Vanderbilt
“I am the most miserable man on earth.” John Jacob Astor
“I was happier as a boy working in a mechanic’s shop, though we had nothing.” Henry Ford
ill. Great wealth gives you more opportunities that those without it will have. Some of those opportunities are a snare and a trap.
Concl: If we are going to make it to the Promise Land God has for us here and now we are going to have to learn from the example of Israel and how they failed.
1. We must recognize the things we are craving for that God is not willing to give and repent today.
2. We must put off covetousness and put on contentment moment by moment by choosing enough is enough.
3. We must learn to be content. Paul said this lesson was the secret to life abundant.
“I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” Philippians 4:11
Today you have heard a big thing that God wants you to ask Him to do in your life.
Hearing God’s Word is not enough. I know we must act on His Word. It is doing what He says that bring results.
Lord, don’t let us be deceived into thinking we are changed because of what we have heard today. Help us change starting today because of what we do in response to Your word. Help us believe the truth that godliness with contentment is great gain!