In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jesus
I see this phrase, “In Jesus’ name, Amen,” often appended to people’s comments when they desire to acquire something. This comment along with ones such as “I’m claiming this in the name of Jesus” and “God will bless us with x if we do y for him” place God in the context of a fairy godfather. He is only there to fulfill our whims and make us all comfy-cozy while we pursue our American dream. This is not what the true Jesus of the Bible was about. He, himself, was homeless (Luke 9:58).
Jesus didn’t suffer and die so he could become a genie to grant our physical desires when we experience the slightest bit of discomfort. He took on the burden of our sin so we could be free of it. Likewise, we can’t just command God to go back into his bottle when we don’t want him around. Like the Israelites coming out of Egypt, we have become dissatisfied with God only providing our physical needs and have attempted to pigeonhole him into granting us our every physical whim. The Israelites weren’t satisfied with the deliverance from 400 years of slavery, food, shelter, clothing, water, and protection God was providing them. They wanted increasingly more and grumbled against God when he didn’t do what they wanted (Exodus 14:12; 15:24; 16:2-3; 16:7-12; 17:2-3, 7 just to name a few). Since they expected God to perform based on their performance, he obliged and gave them a choice to follow a system of obligation (Exodus 19:8 and 24:3, 7). As well, there were punishments and rewards for failure or success in upholding these laws (Deuteronomy 28). Ironically, God had already promised these blessings without Israel being obligated to relate to him by law (Exodus 3:8). However, it seems they insisted on getting these things when they wanted and by their efforts of being “good.”
Today, we still see this same system even though it was proven unsuccessful all throughout the Old Testament. We continue to take Biblical principles out of context and retrofit them to our religion. Here are the actual verses these manipulations stem from:

Whatever you will ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it–John 14:13-14 (emphasis mine)

If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you. In this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; and so you will be my disciples.–John 15:7 (emphasis mine)

Note in both of these verses it is about Father’s glory. His glory is not about letting us linger in lukewarm physical comforts. His glory is not about awarding merits for “good” behavior. His glory is about fulfilling his will. As the above verse states, we do this by producing fruit to Father, not relishing in physical squanderings. Again, we see James spell out why such requests are almost insulting to God:

You ask, and don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.–James 4:3 (WEB)

This verse states implicitly the way people ask for things today. However, when we ask to be spiritually equipped for God’s work, he has no problem providing for us in this way.
Now, this is not to say that God isn’t concerned with our physical ailments. God doesn’t mind and even wants to hear our deepest concerns as can be seen in the “cursing Psalms.” However, when we place requirements on God to perform by our expectations while we just grit our teeth and continue down our current path of stubbornness, we don’t see our requests get answered, at least not as we hoped. This can cause us to internally question if God really cares about us when we don’t receive what we expect based on our misconceptions of who God is and how he provides.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s