Monday May 2, 2022
Scripture James 4: What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Life Lesson: That which motivates us truly matters, in fact we are defined by what motivates us.
– James asks the question, “What causes fights and quarrels among you?” Now some would retort, “It’s those people who are contentious, who disagree with me, or who refuse to see everything my way!
– James answers his own question poignantly by suggesting that quarrels and fights stem from our own personal desires that are at war within us! While many point their finger at everyone else, James informs us that the true source of such conflict is ourselves.
– James goes on to elaborate stating, “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.” Now many might retort, “I have killed no one!” Ever heard of character assassination? This is often times what people resort to when they are not getting their own way.
– We are literally seeing this kind of thing happening daily in the news media against any and all dissenting voices. Rather than allowing for differences of opinion and having a respectful discourse, there are personal attacks including character assassinations that have literally destroyed the lives of good, honest, professionals who were only trying to offer alternative insights. Yes, James’ message is every bit as relevant today in our culture as it was 2000 years ago.
– James goes on to inform us why it is that we are not getting what we want, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” Here, James points us away from ourselves to God. Many who are fixated on getting their own way never even think to bring God into the matter because their hearts and minds have made their own desire an idol that they must have. Which leads us to the next insight that James gives to us, “3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
– So we find that even when such a person decides to bring God into it, perhaps in some final act of desperation, they will not receive what they are praying for because of their selfish motives. This passage is without question one that has challenged and perplexed many believers down through the ages. Why? Many wonder how they can possibly know if what they are praying for is based in selfishness. More on that in tomorrow’s lesson.