Oftentimes we look at God as a spiritual genie. We come to him with our requests seeking for instant YES answers. We expect Him to give in to our demands A.S.A.P. When we don’t get what we want, we stomp our feet like brats and sulk in a corner and say, “You don’t love me! You don’t care about me!”
As parents, we say no to our kids simply because what they ask is not good for them. Saying no is also a form of discipline or character-building. We say no because we love them.
Today, I will be sharing insights from Dr. Charles Stanley’s book Talking with God. I divided the posts to three parts, so make sure you subscribe to this blog to get the next two installments 🙂
Dr. Stanley shares six errors that elicits a No response from God.
1. Our Relationships are Not Right Before God. We relate to different people everyday. We talk to our husbands, our children, our co-workers. How do we treat this people in our lives? Are we showing respect to our husbands the way God wants us to? Are the husbands loving their wives? How we treat the people around us affects our relationship with them. Are we being too critical of them? Are we harboring unforgiveness in our hearts? How then do we expect God to agree with us in prayer if we are hearts are full of resentment and judgment?
Luke 6: 37-38 Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.
2. Selfish Motive. According to Dr. Stanley, God says no because our prayers are aimed at ourselves alone. It’s a self-serving request. We pray for a new car because a friend’s husband bought her a new car. We pray that your kids go this prestigious school because their cousins are going to that expensive school too. Are we trying to keep up with the Jones’? God sees the heart. He knows our reason for asking certain things from him. Unless he sees a heart that is pure, whose motive is to be a blessing to others then he will not withhold that opportunity to be good stewards.
3. Wavering Faith. Sometimes our faith in God is dependent on the situation and not on Him. Our faith is like the wind, blowing where it pleases. One day, we praise Him and the next day we feel he abandoned us. At times God uses the No answer to check where our faith is anchored on? Are we really believing in the one true God? Or is our faith on Him based on the good things we receive in life? What a relief to know that our relationship with God is permanent because of what Christ did on the cross for us. God does not change.
James 1:6-7 says, 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
4. A Failure to Tithe. I would like to quote Dr. Stanley on this. He says “One of the most common yet unrecognized errors that can bring about a no answer from God is our failure to tithe. God does not tolerate stinginess –whether toward Him or toward other people.”
Coming from a leadership conference that focused on “Everything is all His”, my perspective on money and tithing has taken a 180-degree turn. The Bible says that the earth and everything in it is His and that includes our homes, our businesses, our careers, our relationships, even this blog.
God is only asking for a portion ( a tenth) of our increase to be given back to him. We are only managers of the resources He has lavishly given us. When God says no to a material needs, maybe, just maybe, we are not being faithful stewards of his resources. He says no to teach us how to handle our finances well because after all, they are all His.
One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. Leviticus 27:30
5. Indifference to God’s Word. Do you believe that the Bible is God’s Word? If so, are you reading it? Meditating on it? Applying His word to your life? Yes, there are principles in the Bible that are too difficult to obey but as the Spirit of God dwells in us, we can obey. We cannot live a Christian life without opening our Bibles daily. His Word is our manual for life. Everything that we need to know about God and what how He wants to live our lives has already been revealed to us. All we need to do is read and apply it in our daily walk.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.
6. Lastly, Unconfessed Sin. God sometimes says no because we haven’t been honest with him. We have been keeping sin or errors in our life and hoping they will go away. That will never happen. We need to recognize that we have wronged him and ask for forgiveness. When we do that, he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) We need to humble ourselves before him daily and turn away from that sin and walk in obedience with Him.
Has God ever said “NO” to you in the past? How did you feel?