The Old Testament Jews, who lived when Jesus Christ walked among them, had the wrong expectations of the Messiah. They expected that God would send them a conqueror who would deliver them from their physical bondage to Rome. They were expecting a political deliverer.
God sent His Son into the world to deliver men, not from physical bondage but from spiritual bondage. Christ came to deliver man from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and one day from the very presence of sin. Mankind is the servant of sin, Christ is the deliverer. The Jewish religious leader’s expectations failed because they were focused on themselves and not on God and His purposes.
We have similar expectations when it comes to prayer. There are many promises in Scripture that we trivialize by our focus on ourselves and our own physical wants and needs. In John 14:13 Jesus says; If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. In John 15:7, He says;…you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. Psalm 37:4 says; …and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
We see these promises and all of a sudden, God becomes the proverbial geni in a bottle, a great rabbit’s foot in the sky, or a heavenly slot machine. Prayer becomes an incantation for riches, or a repetitive magical petition.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Psalm 37:4 says; Delight thyself also in the Lord and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. This doesn’t mean that God will give us anything we want. It does mean that if we delight ourselves in Him, He will place His desires within us.
The Lord’s words in John 15:7 and quoted above are conditioned upon; if ye abide in me and my words abide in you. We abide in His words by reading the Bible, meditating upon what we have read, and then by willingly obeying Him. This is delighting oneself in the Lord. The result for the believer is that our old desires begin to fade away and His desires begin to replace them.
When we pray the Lord’s prayer, it takes on new meaning. Thy kingdom come,….what is His kingdom? Right now it is the rule of Christ in the hearts of men. Do we long for that? Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,…what is happening in heaven? No sin! How would this world be different if there were no sin? What is our hearts desire? Do we long for the absence of sin or do we live for the pleasure of it?
The blank check promises of Christ are not for those who abide in sin, but they are for those who abide in Christ. They are for those who long to do His will. They are for those who intercede with God for others.
These blank checks are for equipping believers to do the work of the ministry. They are for enabling believers to live with victory in their lives, not just outwardly, but most importantly, inwardly.
The blank check verses are for the furtherance of God’s kingdom here on earth. All of God’s gifts and resources are available to every believer to be whatever our calling in Christ requires as long as it is for His glory and not our own. We must remind ourselves of that every day.
Does God care about our physical needs? Yes, He does, but our physical needs are not to be our priority in life. The passage in Matthew 6:19-34 deals with this very thing. It is all summed up in verse 33 which says; But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (physical needs) shall be added unto you. So,…what should be our expectations? We should expect God to finish His work that He started in us when we were saved and He will! (See Ephesians 2:8-10 & Philippians 1:6)