God is not a celestial coke machine. You push the button, and out pops your request. (James 4:3)

God is not a celestial coke machine. You push the button, and out pops your request. (James 4:3)
Photo by Stéphan Valentin / Unsplash

Welcome to the Odd Verse of the Day series.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:3

James doesn't pull any punches.

Let's start with the context.

To frame James 4, the author discusses the ease with which Christians are blending their faith and worldliness. 

By worldliness, I mean their actions, mindsets, and words are no different than the rest of the world. What's the point of being a Christian if you don't look different from the rest of the world?

In our specific verse, James here calls out the tendency to treat God like a vending machine.

GOD DOESN'T EXIST TO SERVE YOU. WE EXIST TO SERVE HIM.

That sounds so simple, yet we often make ourselves the main character when we read the Bible. 

But we are not the main character of the Bible. God is the main character. 

God is not our celestial sugar daddy who gives us what we want (I bet that was a sentence you never thought you'd read). He's not the cosmic genie you wish on just right and get three wishes. He is not a celestial coke machine. You push the button, and out pops your request. 

  • God is the creator - we are the created
  • God is the potter - we are the clay
  • God is the LORD - we are his servants.

When James talks about spending prayers on our passions, this is precisely what he is talking about. You treat prayer like a transaction where you can get what you want from God. 

Today's takeaway

I must tune in to what God wants, not what I want. 

God doesn't prove his love for me when he answers my prayers. 

God proved his love when he sent his son. 

While I was still sinning, Christ died for me. 

There is never a time when he does not love you, but that doesn't mean he will always do what you want him to. 

Let's pray about that!

Father, help me want the things you want. Hate the stuff you hate. Understand what I don't understand, and let go of what I don't. Amen.


Today's verse comes from my video series, Roll For Verse. In this series, I roll dice to pick a random Bible verse each day. Then, I spend a few minutes sharing devotional thoughts on the verse. If you'd like to join the fun and study the Bible in a new way, check it out on TikTok or YouTube.

@pastor.payton Episode 14 of Roll for Verse takes us to seeing God as a vending machine. This video is based on the fun format of Roll for Sandwich by @Adventures In Aardia Come back for more just like this. #rollforsandwich #fyp #verseoftheday #biblestudy #d20games #d20 #rollforinitiative #rollforseries #rollforverse #christiantok #christiantiktok #bibleversedaily #biblejournaling #dailyroutine #prayerwarriors #prayersneeded #prayerworks #prayforukraine #prayersup ♬ Medieval castle/Magic/Western-style building/Mystery/Otoboke(1464825) - AiM