Summary: Jesus said obedient Christians will “receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life,” Luke 18:30. But “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3 (NIV).
Explanation: Many people believe obedient Christians will be blessed with earthly joys: prosperity, good jobs, happy families, health, peace, etc. But Jesus never promised earthly abundance to His followers in this present evil world (Galatians 1:4). In fact, He told His disciples to “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) Jesus sacrificed His natural blessings to focus on serving God. He said, “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth,” John 18:37. Jesus never sought earthly blessings.
What blessings do Christians presently enjoy? Peace with God (Romans 5:1). Forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7). Character development (2 Peter 1:4-9). The assurance that “all things work together for our good,” Romans 8:28. Knowledge that God will help us through all temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13). Fellowship with other Christians (Philippians 2:1). God’s tender care over every detail of our lives for even “the very hairs of our heads are numbered,” Matthew 10:30.
What hinders these blessings? A lack of Bible study to know God’s will. Lack of prayer, disobedience and a guilty conscience. Incorrect expectations. Worldliness. So, let us study the Bible to learn God’s will. “All Scripture…is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16. And then ask God to help you live these truths. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 (NIV).