Several years ago, I remember when my children brought two lab-mix puppies home begging to keep them. They made all sorts of promises–“We’ll take care of them, they were free!” they said. I gave in…Besides the kids did say they’d do their part, right? WRONG! Two weeks later, the reality of my decision set in… I had two new puppies!
I wasn’t prepared at all. Nights of endless whining and yelping quickly proved that. Sure, I had a book to help, but had I read it?
Had I followed the instructions that I’d actually read?
Had I given up and tried things my way?
Yes, most definitely.
In retrospect, I can see just how unprepared I’d been for what I’d allowed in my home. Had I taken more time to consider the situation and weigh my options perhaps I would have opted out altogether.
I mean, I’ve asked the Lord for years to perfect my gifts, to grant me favor, to anoint me for His glory. And most recently, I’ve asked Him to allow me to be the wife of a suitable partner. I’m grateful He has done all of the above with the exception of the latter. Still, I realize that with every request there are inevitable responsibilities. Time and effort is needed to excel and steward that request properly.
The bottom line is this. We simply must get to a place where we ask ourselves some important questions before we even think about asking God a thing:
- Do I have a plan in place to maximize God’s glory?
- Is my plan in line with what God desires for my life?
I already know what you’re thinking…what’s the difference? Well, there are several things you can do to maximize God’s glory. For instance, I’ve prayed in the spirit for my daughter when she was ill. It glorified God because I trusted Him to do what only He could through me. I laid hands on her and yes, she literally was healed-it was an earache- and as small as that seems—we went to the doctor and the infection was gone…hadn’t had to go back since- that was almost ten years ago… that was a miraculous healing, but healing is not my spiritual gift so for me to go and start laying hands on everybody would not be be in line with God’s desires for my life. So yes, there IS a difference! As Paul put it in 1 Cor. 7-11:
“A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial: to one is given a message of wisdom through the Spirit, to another, a message of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another, faith by the same Spirit, to another, gifts of healing by one Spirit, to another, the performing of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, distinguishing between spirits, to another, different kinds of languages, to another, interpretation of languages,. But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.” (HCSB)
Now if we haven’t seriously pondered those questions and come up with a unnanimous “yes” in response, we should understand just how unready we may be for our request….I’m a witness that we must ask God for wisdom to determine His will for our lives instead of doing what we want to do and expecting God to play by our terms. For instance, when we ask for a house or a car, we first have a responsibility to believe He is able. Then we need to prepare ourselves to be a good steward over what we’ve been blessed with—side note—I need to wash my car.
That said, before we ask for what we think we want and need of God, we must be sure that our motives are pure and that we are absolutely ready for what or who we request. Otherwise a gift given too soon is not a gift at all, it’s a problem.
So if nothing else, consider your response if God says yes. Will you be ready?