Jas 4:1-4 “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
We often point to external influences in our lives as the cause for quarrels and conflicts. If the cause for the disturbance is external, then we can claim that the situation is out of our control. We need to remember that there is always one person that we have some control over in any conflict. I may not have control of the conflict, but I have God’s grace to control my actions.
When there is warfare among the beloved brethren, James declares that the source is our own conflicting desires within us. We aren’t getting our way (ye lust and have not), and our own lust drives us to kill (he that hateth his brother, the same is a murderer). We point fingers and make accusations but still cannot satisfy our desires. We battle each other with carnal weapons and then wonder why God is not blessing us. We need to ask God to give us His desire: in this we will find an end to the strife within us. When the strife within us is calmed, then the battles among us will cease.
The scripture assures us that if we don’t get what we have asked God for it is because we do not ask correctly. We have not asked according to His will, but rather have sought only to satisfy our own desires. Seeking to satisfy our own selfish will is to be unfaithful to God and makes us guilty of adultery. We cannot cling to God and be friends with the world. James told us in the beginning of this letter that a double minded man cannot expect to receive anything from the Lord.
I pray we see the hope in this message as well as the rebuke! Looking unto God, we have the solution to the conflicts among us. We don’t have to control the actions of others. We don’t have to control the situation. By the power of the Holy Ghost in our lives, we can deny ourselves (the lust that wars within us), ask God to direct our steps (take up our cross), and receive our requests from God (follow Jesus).
May we, by faith, be an enemy of our worldly desire for preeminence and be a faithful friend to God!