This generation is the “microwave generation”.
People want what they want, and they want it now.
It really shouldn’t be a surprise that this way of thinking has seeped into our churches.
I’m talking about the “Name it and Claim it” teachings that are being taught all over North America.
More and more pastors are teaching that people just have to “have faith, pray and it will be given to you”.
They are taking verses like Mark 11:22-24, which say; “Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.”
Yet, they completely leave out verses where we are told that God doesn’t give us some things because we ask for it out of greed and self-pleasure.
“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.” James 4:1-3 (Emphasis Added)
When Jesus was asked how one should pray he answered this way:
“This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ ” Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV) (Emphasis Added)
Even Jesus asked for God to take the impending suffering of being crucified away, yet, he also told God that, nevertheless, he wanted God’s will done above his own.
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Luke 22:42 (Emphasis Added)
Asking God for something, isn’t bad, but keep in mind that he is God- the maker of the universe, not a genie who’ll fulfill your every whimsy request.
Sometimes he gives you what you ask for, but sometimes he refrains because he knows that that thing you are asking for isn’t good for you or that he has a bigger plan for your future that far outweighs that tiny thing you’re asking for in the now.
Let me give you a personal example; I, personally, have been getting prayed over since I was 4 years old that God would heal me of all my allergies, but he never has. In ninth grade, some classmates almost killed me using my my allergies against me (a story for another time), and though having to go through was so incredibly tough-and I couldn’t understand why anyone could do something like that or why God would let me go through it, when I came out on the other side, I could see the amazing testimony he had given me by letting me go through those fires.
This generation doesn’t want to have to go through trials. They want everything to be winsome and only full of “#GoodVibes”. And they want everything to be immediate. And, I mean, who can blame them when they are surrounded by instant-gratification? Want something to eat? Just put it in the microwave for a few seconds and ZAP! it’s done! Want to tell someone something? Just text them, and BAM! it’s done! Want some information? “Hey, Alexa…”
You get the point…
The Bible tells us over and over, however, that Christ-Followers will go through struggles and trials, because we serve him. Not only that, but the Bible says to rejoice in our suffering.
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world” 1 Peter 4:12-13
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3-4
You see, as much as many preachers might like to tell you that you don’t have to go through trials and that you just have to ask for whatever it is that you want, and you’ll get it, it isn’t true.
Yes, pray in faith, ask God, but also remember that, to be the very best Christ-Follower you can be; for Christ to use you, you must learn that sometimes he withholds what you ask for because it isn’t in his perfect will for his plan for your life.
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4
This Bible describes the Christian walk as being like a race. But not a sprint, rather it is a long-distance race of which we must learn patience and endurance.
…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2
So, run. Run this race. But remember, you must learn endurance. You must learn when to sprint, and when to jog. And, let him know your heart’s desires, but also remember that his will is so much better than ours, and if he doesn’t give you what you’ve asked for, have faith and trust that he knows what you need far more than you think you know what you need!
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9