How do you react when God seems to deny you what you ask in prayer, at least for the time being, and you do not understand why? What if you prayed for a long time and it still did not get answered yet? Does that make you change the way you think or feel about God? Does it makes you feel dissapointed or maybe offended with God? Does it affect the quality of your relationship and intimacy with God? Believe me, it did affect mine in the past, and it took me 4 years and a LOT of pain of mind and soul to get to understand what I am writing to you about below.
First of all, I realize that since God has restored certain truths in the last century – truths about faith, blessing, prosperity, confession of the Word, healing, etc – because of much focus on this sort of teaching in the church, many of us without realizing it, have made a shift in our hearts and we subconsciously started to think that God give us all the things we need to feel happy, that it is our right to get all these things from God and that made us focus on what we get from God instead of living FOR God and FOR His Kingdom, whatever the cost. We subtly have gone from believing that we are here to live for God to we are here to get from God and we are here to obtain happiness. We made out own happiness the end goal of the Christian life, instead of to live for God, whatever the cost.
But happiness is not the end goal for a Christian, because we are not to live for ourselves, but to live for God. Living for Him, no matter the cost, is the end goal, that's what we were created for, so if we make our relationship with God, our enjoyment of Him depend on Him giving us this and that, what if He has different thoughts and does not give us those things that we want to feel happy or delays them for a long time?
Why God did not answer yet some of your prayers? There can be many reasons, but maybe He is testing your heart to see if you love Him and serve Him because He is God or because of what He gives you.
After Jesus multiplied the bread and the fish, the people followed Him. But He knew what was in their hearts and He told them that He was not pleased with it:
"Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, YOU SEEK ME, not because you saw the signs, but BECAUSE YOU ATE OF THE LOAVES AND WERE FILLED. DO NOT labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” (John 6:26-27)
In other words, Jesus says: You are seeking Me because of what you can get from Me, and I DO NOT WANT YOU TO MAKE THAT THE MAIN REASON YOU ARE SEEKING ME. You should seek Me, because I am your solution for salvation and I am your God.
If we want to be free in God and enjoy unbroken fellowship with God, we need to serve God UNCONDITIONALLY, meaning, whatever you give me, I will be thankful for that. I trust You that You love me and care about me because your Word says so, but if You feel You need to not give me something I want at a particular time, then I will be content, since I am not living for my own happiness, but for You.
Since I am living unconditionally for You, my happiness does not depend on what I get from You, but on just having Your presence in my life, YOU are more than enough for me. This understanding actually made me happy and content, so if you do not seek your own happiness, but God, you get happiness along with it, regardless of circumstances.
The second reason we might not get what we want from God is because we are in a war in this life. We have an enemy who is after us day and night and after every fellow human being, and therefore we cannot just live as we want.
Do you think soldiers in a war just have parties carelessly while the enemy is prowling about their camp? No, they are sober and vigilant and obey the instructions of the Commander even if they do not understand why he is asking them to do something. The Master Commander understands, as he can see the whole picture, he has secret knowledge the average soldier does not have about the enemy, and has a strategy laid out on how to win the war. Therefore, it is crucial for the soldiers to obey and trust unconditionally, so they are protected and can rescue others from the enemy.
So, because we are in a war, and we are living as the main reason for God and His Kingdom, is it something to wonder about why God would deny us some things sometimes or ask us to suffer for Him and His cause as a priority, rather than have what we feel we want given to us?
I believe in God's mind, the priority is to first give us what we need to live for Him, to accomplish His purposes on earth, and then secondary our temporary happiness here on earth. Let's get this heavenly perspective in our hearts and our relationship with God will flourish and we will actually end up being happy in all circumstances!!!
That's why the Bible says that we should rejoice always in the Lord, even when we fall into various trials, because God's priority is not on us feeling good, but in our spiritual development and in us paying a part of winning the war for souls against the devil. What would you rather go for: settle for the low level goal or you and your happiness, or the high calling of God of living for Him and to make a difference for eternity in this world. Don't waste your life on small things, when there are bigger things available to you.
What does your happiness depends upon? God or the fulfillment of some of your desires? I really encourage you to listen or read the wise words of this prophet of God from Nigeria, called T. B. Joshua, whom I highly respect (his website is www.scoan.org):
"If you make God the ONLY reason, then your commitment to Him will be total, not partial"
"Life is not a playground; it is a battlefield. The sooner you understand this, the wiser you will be. It is the mind of God to answer prayers. Even when He seems not to respond immediately to our petitions, He is still saying something, which we may not understand because of our limitations in the things of the Spirit. In such moments, God may be saying, “Be patient; for there is a time and season for everything."
"Sometimes when we pray it appears we are being denied answers to our prayers or that the answer to our prayer is being unnecessarily delayed. Sometimes we work so hard and the result or reward of our effort seems to delay in coming. As a Christian, if you find yourself in such a situation – don’t lose heart, don’t lose faith. There may be a reason for the seeming delay. God is not a man that disappoints. HE may be taking HIS time to consider your request for certain reasons that may be hidden from the ordinary mind. It may be:
1. To strengthen your desire for Christ 2. To prepare you for the challenges ahead. 3. To reform you for a better position in God. 4. To preserve you for redemption. 5. To keep you for a new level in life.
As a man of faith – whatever level you find yourself – you will still believe that the best is yet to come."
Whatever the reason, since our end goal is not our own happiness, but in knowing God and serving God and living by faith as a first priority, that means that we might need to suffer for Him or for the sake of His purpose. And this is more important than our own happiness, though we will be rewarded both in this life and in that to come for it. The Bible says He is a REWARDER of those who DILIGENTLY seek HIM (not what He gives mainly). If you seek Him, and His righteousness, ALL the other things that you NEED will be added unto you.
I think the emphasis of the prosperity teaching that we have heard in the last few years unfortunately has gone to an extreme where it has become what I call the 'luxury' teaching and the 'covetousness' teaching. Many are no longer content with having what to eat, what to wear and a place to stay, but lust after luxury cars, mansions in this world, and bigger and better to feed their lusts. It reminds me of the children of Israel that were complaining about God's provision while in the wilderness, saying: We are sick of this HEAVENLY bread, we want meat! They despised God's miracles in their lives in the small things and lusted for more. God was not pleased with them, though He gave them what they wanted, but also sent them leanness of soul, while they lost on the best in the future. I am not against prosperity, if the focus of why you want it is so you can use it for the extension of God's Kingdom mostly. But again, making the pursuit of this the main focus instead of the presence of God I consider it an idol, being loyal to Mammon and despising God.
We need to believe that He is more important to us than our own happiness and this will free our hearts to serve Him with gladness, with freedom of heart! It actually brings that happiness that is not dependent on circumstances!
We are in a war in this life, therefore we cannot just do what we want, winge about what we don't get, we need to follow the instructions of the Master Commander, so we escape the death that our enemy is seeking to bring us and also execute His orders to save others from the enemy. In a war, we are more concerned with accomplishing the mission than getting our desires met.
And because we are in a war, and in a time of testing before God, we can understand such times when we do not get what we want and not feel offended with God about it – which I used to be for almost 4 years – because we live FOR HIM, not for our own happiness.
Trust Him and be happy in serving Him and living in Him and you will see that He will give you the desire of your heart in the end, IF you delight in Him even when He seems to not give you what you want. Moses ran after God's spiritual main priorities, the children of Israel, with a few exceptions, ran after natural desires, which one do you want to be? Go for the best, choose real life….
I really recommend that you watch this movie from YouTube.com, which talks about how happiness has slowly become a main focus for many, which is humanism, rather than living for Christ, at any cost: