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The Source of Conflicts


James 4:1-10

I have a picture that I want you to see.

Well, here in James 4, this is what is going on.

And I want you to notice what they are fighting about. James gives us some indications.

And if you go over to chapter 5:1-6 you’ll see that some of the conflict was apparently a result of unfair or perceived unfair employment practices…and the wages that were paid.

And if you look in chapter 3 you find that some wanted the “honor and recognition of being a teacher”…and there was jealousy and bitterness as a result.

Some of these Christians had come out of the Jewish religion….and they still wanted to draw on their Jewish background to make distinction between them and those who were out of the Gentile background.

So, here in James 4 the bride of Christ is fighting…and James deals with it. Look what he says beginning in verse 1.

 Vs. 1  What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you?

What James says here applies to all kinds of conflicts and quarrels.

Well, look what James says; vs. 1:

 Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; {so} you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; {so} you fight and quarrel.

 These Christians that James is writing to had different ones who were trying to satisfy their own agenda….they were seeking to gratify their own desires and lusts…

And other members were doing the same thing.

And James says they were “fighting and quarreling.”

Putting it simply, they were being selfish.

I really believe this is the source of the conflicts we see in marriages…and families…and through out the world.

And notice here, James says that they are so selfish that they are even carrying it over into their prayers.

But then some of them ask anyway…and look what James says in verse 3.

 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend {it} on your pleasures.

 You know, so many times you hear people say that “prayer” doesn’t work…that it doesn’t do any good to pray.

First of all…have the right motive behind what you ask for.

And the second reason it seems that prayer never works is because some never pray.

A petition unmade…or a petition made selfishly so you can satisfy your desires…well, you are right…in those instances prayer does not work.

Look at verse 4. James is going to mention another reason why these people are fighting.

 You adulteresses…”

He says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship…and that word “friendship could be translated “fondness”.

He says, “You adulteresses, do  you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Three conflicts…or three wars mentioned in this passage…and these people are losing all three of them. (war with self; with others; with God)

So, what is the answer? What is the answer for these brethren and their conflicts?

Well, verse 7: Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

 I think it is interesting here that James says, “Resist the devil” in this context.

We get in these conflicts and we think our battle is against our brother or sister in Christ…or against our husbands or wives…

When we get in these conflicts we are doing just exactly what Satan wants.

And James says, “You get back in your proper rank”.

“And you resist the devil…and he will flee from you.”

Now, verse 8-10, James gives us the disposition that makes for peace; peace with God; peace in the church; peach in a marriage; peace between nations. Look what he says; vs. 8.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

 He mentions your hands here.

 He says, “purify your hearts.” That is to cleanse the inner being. Don’t just cleanse the inside of the dish, but cleanse the inside as well.

 Vs. 9   Be miserable and mourn and weep;

Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to gloom.

 Vs. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

And what will be the result of drawing near to God; and cleansing our hands; and purifying our hearts; and mourning over our sin; and humbling ourselves in His presence? The result will be peace: with God, in the church; in our marriages; and in our families; peace in the heart.