Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
I believe this passage is talking about warring and fighting in the world today, but I also believe it is about internal and spiritual conflict on a personal level. It seems that all external conflict stem from an internal discontentment. Whether its world wars, neighborhood disputes, family conflict or personal dissatisfaction, they all go back to the heart and attitude of individuals. Think about it this way, in any conflict, there is a warring party and a defensive party. In an internal conflict there is self-seeking vs. righteousness or what is right. Usually it is all about one side getting what they want at the expense of the other side.
So how does this apply personally? The passage says you lust, murder and covet but you cannot obtain what you are after. This results in a continual discontentment. Then the writer goes on to say you don’t have because you don’t ask God. If you do ask God, you don’t have because you are asking for your own selfish gain. This is interesting because it implies that James is talking to Christians and yet he is talking about things like lust and murder. So even though there are many out there that profess to be children of God, they are involved in conflicts and wars both externally and internally.
Well, this answers some questions. Why don’t we always get what we ask from God? It says, friendship with the world is enmity with God (actively opposing God) It’s why verse 6 says that God resists the proud. This is so important to grasp. I cannot expect God to answer my prayers as long as I am actively pursuing the things of the world. It indicates that the root is pride and God has no part of it.
So now we come to the question, what is friendship with the world? Does it mean having friends that are not Christians? Does it mean going to events that are hosted by unsaved people? Does it mean supporting non-Christian business? No! Friendship with the world simply means that you are more focused on being successful in the worlds eyes than you are in God’s. This is where true internal conflict comes from, but there is an answer to this plague of discontent. The solution is to humble yourself and make Jesus the Lord of your life, not just your Savior. When He becomes your LORD, you willingly turn all things over to Him and commit to live your life by His ways and plans. The only thing you will be concerned about is if you are living life His way and loving others.
Today I want to encourage you to turn your life over to your Heavenly Father and make Jesus your LORD and Savior. Even if you have already accepted Him into your heart and life, decide today that you are laying down all your desires to pick up His. Success is not bad, it is only what you do with it that becomes a problem. If you are out for only your glory, you will struggle continuously to keep it. Let Jesus take over and you will receive the contentment and joy that your heart has been longing for.
Today’s scripture reading: James 4:1-6