As I scanned through my Facebook feed the other day, I came across a share from one of my pastors.  It was a photo of a attendance sign at a church that included the following:

He is currently on a missionary trip in South America.  I guess, this struck a cord with him because apparently other cultures have trouble understanding our usage of the word “just.”

What is “Just?”

Just can mean several things.  It can mean righteous and upstanding.

adjective
1. guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness: We hope to be just in our understanding of such difficult situations.
2. done or made according to principle; equitable; proper: a just reply.
3. based on right; rightful; lawful: a just claim.
4. in keeping with truth or fact; true; correct: a just analysis.
5. given or awarded rightly; deserved, as a sentence, punishment, or reward: a just penalty. 1 Just. Reference.com. Accessed 27-5-2014. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/just.

It can also be a word describing limitation:

11. by a narrow margin; barely: The arrow just missed the mark.
12. only or merely: He was just a clerk until he became ambitious. 2 Just. Reference.com. Accessed 27-5-2014. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/just.

So why do we use it so much in our prayers?

I don’t think most of us use it in the context of saying that God is just meaning righteous and holy.

I think we mostly use it in our prayers as if we are uncertain, timid, in asking our Heavenly Father for something when he has already given us “every gracious blessing in the heavenly realm” and said that any who come to him in faith can claim every promise of blessing he has made.

Are we limiting God when we put “just” as a qualifier in our prayers?

Yes, he can do anything that He wants because he is all powerful.  But since he gave us free will, he doesn’t take that back and he doesn’t impinge on us.

When we ask God in our prayers, “Just do this.”  Maybe the Holy Spirit is sitting there saying, “Okay, I had all these other blessings sitting here ready for you too, but if that’s all you want . . . “

More than “Just” – Thrive

I’m going to stop using “just” in my prayers.  I don’t want “just” anything.   I want it all, everything God has for me.  And Jesus said,

“I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10

The word translated as “abundant” in the original Greek is zoe, which means:

life
of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic “logos” and to Christ in whom the “logos” put on human nature
life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever. 3 Zoe. Blue Letter Bible. TDNT Reference: 2:832,290. Strongs G2222. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2222

That is what Jesus came for.  That is what he suffered, died, and paid for at the cross.

When we claim the blessings God has promised to us through his Word in the name of Jesus, we are showing that we respect and appreciate the sacrifice he made and we are honoring him.  That in turn gives glory to God the Father.

Which do you choose?

So which do you choose?  Do you want to just ask for the minimum?

Do you want to just ask God to “guide the doctors” and only “if it’s His Will” rather than asking him to heal you directly?  He’s already said it’s His will, that is why Jesus was whipped.  It’s pretty clear.

 

Yet it was our WEAKNESSES he carried, it was our SORROWS that weighted him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins.
But he was PIERCED for our REBELLION, CRUSHED for our SINS.
He was BEATEN so we could be WHOLE.
He was WHIPPED, so we could be HEALED.  Isaiah 53:5 NLT

Do you want to just ask God to “help you get through” a particular trial rather than claiming his protection and deliverance from it?

 

But the Lord is faithful.  He will guard you and establish you against the evil one.  2 Thessalonians 3:3

Do you want the fullness of his salvation, the life and the Kingdom of God he promised, or just the crumbs?

   
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Artist:  Casting Crowns
Album:  Thrive
Song: Thrive

Thrive by Casting Crowns Lyrics

Here in this worn and weary land
Where many a dream has died

Like a tree planted by the water
We never will run dry

So living water flowing through
God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls
With one desire

Just to know You and
To make You known
We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive

Into Your word we’re digging deep
To know our Father’s heart

Into the world we’re reaching out
To show them who You are

So living water flowing through
God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls
With one desire

Just to know You and
To make You known
We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive

Joy Unspeakable, Faith Unsinkable, Love Unstoppable, Anything is possible
Joy Unspeakable, Faith Unsinkable, Love Unstoppable, Anything is possible
Joy Unspeakable, Faith Unsinkable, Love Unstoppable, Anything is possible
Joy Unspeakable, Faith Unsinkable, Love Unstoppable, Anything is possible

Just to know You and
To make You known
We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive

Hey!

We were made to Thrive

 

References   [ + ]

1, 2. Just. Reference.com. Accessed 27-5-2014. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/just.
3. Zoe. Blue Letter Bible. TDNT Reference: 2:832,290. Strongs G2222. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2222