War and Peace.
“In the war of right and wrong, we can’t afford to be neutral.”
Chapter 3 was the backdrop setting the scene for Chapter 4 – The wisdom of the WORLD & the wisdom of the WORD
James 4:1-12 (NIV) - 1“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet*, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world* becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but give grace to the humble.” 7Sumbit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. 11Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you- who are you to judge your neighbour?”
*Covet – Yearn to possess what others have.
*Be a friend of the world – Wanting what the world has.
“Where do wars and fights come from among you?” James Asked ®
James 3:16 (NIV) – “The false wisdom that comes from envy, selfish ambition, bitterness, jealousy produces disorder.”
To put it bluntly, it leads to fighting.
Our current countries situation makes this opening question as relevant as it was in that and every generation since then.
War has existed in every area of human existence.... There’s not a civilization that has not been touched by war.
Matthew 24:6 (NIV) - “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen but the end is still to come.”
Statistic say in 5600 years of recorded human history, approximately 15,000 wars have been fought.
We have all seen the ravages of war on television or newspapers or books.
You may not have felt the fear and suffering in a foxhole in enemy territory...
But we know for instance, the struggle of private wars that flare up within us, as the flesh wars against the Spirit.
We know of or experienced personal wars that tore close relationships apart.
No matter what the war whether private, personal or public – They have common symptoms, sources and even solutions.
We all have those private wars that rage within us – Many times few if any would know it’s taking place. (But we do... we can hide it so well.)
Paul himself was engaged in a private war – he struggled, he fought – he said ®
Romans 7:15 (NIV) - “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
Let’s be honest; we all have this testimony.
Describing this internal conflict Paul said: Galatians 5:17 (NIV) - “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”
Using the wisdom of the World is a sure recipe for private conflict
But we are fighting other wars as well – “Personal Wars”
The one’s we all know to well – fighting among Christians.
James is not talking about disagreements – the healthy conflicts that should be accepted in a growing Church
James is talking about fighting which is “earthly, unspiritual” (of the devil in origin)
He calls them; James 4:4 (NIV) - “You adulterous people.”
This is a very serious reprimand to the Church.
It requires tearing oneself away from self Justification and redirecting oneself toward Self-examination.
Proverbs 10:12 (Ampl) - “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers and overwhelms all transgressions [forgiving and overlooking another’s faults].”
We can make every excuse to justify our behavior.
James does not entertain such talk – In Fact:
In fact: James 1:14 (Ampl) – “But each one is tempted when he is dragged away, enticed and baited [to commit sin] by his own [worldly] desire (lust, passion).”
James gives a warning that you may not expect God to answer prayer when your motives are wicked.
James 4:3 (LB) - “And even when you do ask you don’t get it because your whole aim is wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”
The conclusion for us is that our fights reveal a wrong relationship with God.
The restoration process for every child of God:
James 4:7 (Ampl) - 7 “So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people]. 9 Be miserable and grieve and weep [over your sin]. Let your [foolish] laughter be turned to mourning and your [reckless] joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].”