This is what God gave me today in his word:
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:1-4)
James is addressing an issue we all, at least to some degree have: the want of more. – In fact, fights were breaking out! Murders were being committed. In fact, apparently these murder/s were being committed by and too, “church-goers”. Why? Either because of a grievance against that person, or in order to get more of something (if there’s no one to see you, because they’re dead, whose to know that you moved the boundary stone that marked property?). So we can see quite clearly that this situation is serious, to the point that James is saying they’re getting close to making themselves friends with the world. – So, now we have murder in the church, greed, envy, fighting, and quarrels. All among the afore-mentioned, “church-goers”. But how could such a thing be possible? After all, they do correspond with James and probably have some sort of gathering of, “believers”.
How could such a thing happen among believers?!
Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:5-10)
Everyone in the world wants money, just like the twelve tribes in the Dispersion did. Either because they love it, or because it’s a sort of necessity (though it’s not really necessary) in this world. Likewise, everyone at some point in their lives, sadly has or will hate (which the bible equates with murder). I can make those statements, because everyone whether Christian or not, still lives in a, “earthly tent,” rather than our glorified bodies, which can always resist temptation. – James in addressing this issue with the twelve tribes, first tells them the roots of the problem. Then how they can “fix it”.
The roots of the problem as portrayed by James, are:
your passions are at war within you – Meaning that they want two different things. #1 They want to please God. They know fighting and murder are wrong. But then #2, they also want, don’t have, and so have the a burning passion to murder. And you can’t serve two masters (both passion for God and for the World). In this case, they’ve chosen the World.
You desire and do not have, so you murder. – The want of more. Someone wants something, doesn’t have it, and so murders… Sin does strange things to your mind.
You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. – You look at your neighbors car, you see how much nicer it looks in comparison with yours. You see their 12 story mansion of a house and wish it was yours. If only you could manage to make the money! What are you doing? You’re being covetous, or in modern terms, envious. Envy consequently leads to fighting. Why? Think about it, you see your neighbor at church. You see them putting hundred dollar bills into the offering plate, that could definitely produce fighting, quarreling, or even a desire to murder; One small thought, grows into something greater.
You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. – Imagine praying to God, “Heavenly father, please let a silver mustang with a million dollar check in it appear in my garage. Oh, and remember to make sure it’s bullet proof.” Obviously you wont get the Mustang. Why? Because we’re not praying according to His will, but according to our own passions (Read: 1 John 5:14-15). – All that to say that they either weren’t asking at all, or were asking for the wrong things.
So, to put in a shorter format, the roots of the problem are:
- Divided passions.
- Desire for something you don’t have.
- Coveting after someone else’s things.
- Not asking God for your needs.
- Asking God for your wants.
After establishing the roots of the problem with them, James continues on to tell them how to fix the problem. Let’s list those as well (just for the sake of it):
therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – Be humble! God will give you grace enough to accept a rebuke and change.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. – Be humble to God. They needed to realize that the problem, was in fact a heart problem; therefore they would need to submit themselves to God in order for it be gotten rid of.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. We need to stop this division of our passions; stop being double-minded, by drawing near to God (purify our hearts). The only way we can do that, is by drawing near to his son, Jesus. Likewise, the only way we can cleanse our hands from what we formerly did, is by Jesus washing them for us.
Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. – You’ve done something wrong! Except the fact, shed a few tears, and then move on in your growth in Christ.
So, now we have the roots to the problem quarreling and fighting, envy, and murder (among a couple of other things). We also have the, “solution”. – The main problem, is that originally our passions were divided and we can’t serve two masters. Our sense of right and wrong was screaming at us to do one thing, while our flesh was first beating our sense of right and wrong to a pulp, and then screaming even louder at us; we were severely double-minded. What’s the solution to that again? Purifying our hearts. How is that possible? Through Christ’s death and Resurrection. – This is what I’ve been getting at this whole time so you might want to pay attention. – Through Jesus dying for us, through his actually giving his life for us, our double-minded nature was crucified! We’re now free of it now, so we let’s live like we’re under the law of liberty! Our envy has been stripped from us, we’ve been forgiven for it, we’ve shed our tears so let’s move on! We may still have remnants of our past life but remember, it is the past. No longer relevant, ever, except for teaching and testimony. God no longer sees a sinful wretch, he sees his son, bloody and crucified.
You are Loved!