Are you capable of being responsible with it when it comes? This point is so very important. If I ask God for $1 million for a business idea that will help millions of people, I am fooling myself if I expect to receive it while I have been irresponsible and unwise with the $1,000 I have already received.
Many people want to jump from $10 faith to $10 million faith, and it doesn’t work that way. You have to be faithful so God can give you more. If my 9-year-old son asked me for a car, as much as I want to give it to him, I can’t because he’s not ready for it. Even if he were 16, I wouldn’t necessarily give it to him unless he had been faithful with his bicycle. Did he take care of it? Did he keep it clean? Had he been reckless with it? If he had, why would I think he would act any differently toward more powerful equipment?
This is called faithful stewardship and is mandatory if you want to receive the blessing of the Lord. Proverbs 28:20 says, “A faithful man will abound with blessings.” You can’t give a loaded gun to a child. And, quite literally, much of our failure to receive has to do with the immaturity in our lives. If we’re acting like spiritual babies—not controlling our tongue, whining all the time, irresponsible with our stuff—God will not be able to entrust us with more. It would be poor stewardship on His part.
But the good news is we don’t have to stay babies. We can grow up. How?
1. Control our mouth and words. Make sure the things that come out of your mouth line up with God’s Word (James 3:2)
2. Be thankful in everything. Grumbling and complaining is one for the chief reasons the children of Israel did not enter the Promised Land (1 Cor. 10:10).
3. Be responsible now for your life, your money, your body and your possessions. Be a good steward of the things you already have (Luke 12:42). Don’t expect God to give you more until you care for what you have.
4. Believe you received it the moment you ask, no matter what you see or feel. This is walking by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). You have to break the habit of only believing something when you see it. You must see what is invisible now and believe that it is yours, just as a pregnant woman knows there’s a baby in her womb because she has received the seed and the doctor has confirmed there is life inside. She hasn’t seen anything, but it’s there. She knows it’s there.
5. Plant a financial seed toward the need you have. Luke 6:38 says, “Give and you shall receive.” Your seed is so vital to receiving what it is you have asked for. Galatians 6:7 says, “Let no one be deceived, whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” We must take action if we want to see results. James 2:20 declares, “Faith without works is dead.”
Again, let me remind you, Abraham demonstrated his faith by the offering of his son. While it is obvious God is not requiring your son of you, the principle is the same. We must back up our need with some seed—an offering! Not just any old offering, but one that is valuable to us.
You may ask, “What if the need isn’t financial? Why would I plant a financial seed for a spiritual or emotional need?” Simply because money is a proof of trust. God doesn’t need your money, but when you give, it shows God He can trust you because you can let go of one of the most valuable things you have. An example of this is the widow in Elijah’s day who gave financial seed and reaped the miraculous harvest of her son’s resurrection from the dead (1 Kings 17).
I am convinced if you follow these simple steps, you will put an end to the disappointment of unanswered prayer. Remember, though, that God can’t give you something He doesn’t have. He doesn’t have poverty, sickness, disease and sadness, so don’t bother asking Him for any of those. And He won’t hurt someone or take something away from someone in order for you to have it. However, He has plenty of “every good thing” for anyone who will ask.
Gregory Dickowis the founder and pastor of Life Changers International Church, one of the largest churches in the Chicagoland area. He also is the host of The Power to Change Today, an international television ministry that reaches a potential audience of more than 900 million households weekly.