“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” – James 4:3
Our motivations help set the stage for what we discover. What we gain in life is not determined only by what we find, but also by the reason behind our seeking. Our motivation. This will be shaped by the perspective we choose to take about what constitutes benefit, profit, advantage, or happiness.
A poor motive for seeking is to satisfy appetites, to gain sensations of pleasure. The philosopher Socrates reasoned that if the pleasure of satisfying desires were the chief cause of happiness, then the happiest man in the world would be a leper. A leper has an endless desire to itch, so an infinite ability to experience the pleasure of scratching the itch.
Our loving Father is not going to answer our requests to become lepers. He desires to give his children good gifts, not harmful ones.
What should we seek that transcends physical appetite? We should seek the water that causes us to never thirst. We should seek the riches that will never rust. We ought to seek that which truly satisfies. These are the gifts God desires to give us.
Motivation begins with self-awareness. What is my perspective? What do I believe benefit means for me? Can I name what I am looking for? As we seek pure motives, to gain that which God promises us as our true benefit, we can discover how to request of God the things he longs to give us.