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Summary: This sermon looks at three desires that cause arguments and four steps to help resolve arguments. I. Give in to God II. Resist the Devil III. Draw closer to God IV. Seek forgiveness

Avoiding Arguments

We are going to look today at how to avoid arguments. Remember I have said that James is a very practical book – perhaps the most practical book in the Bible. As we get to chapter four James talks about how we are to avoid arguments. He doesn’t beat around the bush when he discusses arguments – he gets right to the point. Follow along with me as I read verse one of James chapter four.

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” James 4:1 (NKJV)

The Message translation says it this way:

“Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves.” James 4:1 (MSG)

This verse can be applied to arguments in your home or to international conflicts. When I talk to couples one common complaint that I hear is that, “We just don’t get along. We love each other but we each want our own way – and we fight all the time.” James talks about this in chapter four. He gives us both the cause and the cure.

It’s interesting that conflict starts early in life – even before we can talk. Have you ever noticed that when a baby wants to be gratified – they let you know? Even before you can talk – you can let your desires be known. Babies have certain needs and desires – and they will let you know when those needs and desires are not met.

As we get older we still have needs and desire – some of them are self centered and when they butt heads with others needs and desires – there is conflict.

Marriage has built in conditions for conflict. Think about the things you expected of your spouse before you were married. How idealistic and unrealistic were you about marriage? You know all marriages have three stages in them:

Stage one – the honeymoon stage where everything seems perfect.

Stage two – the reality stage where you realize things are not all peaches and cream.

Stage three – the work it out stage where you say, “Let’s make a deal.”

There are going to be arguments and conflicts in life – how you handle them makes a difference. Let’s look at James chapter four verse one again.

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” James 4:1 (NKJV)

Go ahead and circle the word “desires”. First we are going to look at three common desires that affect everyone:


I. The Desire To Have POSSESSIONS

We all want to have “stuff”. We like nice things. Materialism. Possessions. We like nice things around us. God created things for us to use and enjoy. The problem arises when we love “stuff” more than we love people. We are to use our possessions to show people that we love them. We have a big problem when we use people because we love our “stuff”. We start loving things and using people. We manipulate them – try to control them – move them around so that we can have more “stuff”.

The sad fact is – we have our DVDs and MP3s – but we find that we are still S-A-D. A survey was taken of couples getting a divorce. They were asked, “What was the number one reason that you filed for divorce.” Do you know what the answer was? 56% of them said, “We had money problems.” “Things” became the battleground. Is it any wonder that the Bible says:

“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10 (NASV)

That brings us to the next desire:

II. The Desire To Have PLEASURE

We all want to feel good. We all want to enjoy life. We all want to have our senses satisfied. Look at what James says in verse three:

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3 (NKJV)

It’s not wrong to enjoy life in fact 1 Timothy chapter six verse seventeen says:

“Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:17 (NASV)

It’s not wrong to enjoy life – but when pleasure becomes your number one goal in life – it will cause conflict. When my comfort becomes number one in my life my thinking is, “I am going to do whatever it takes to make me feel good.” This drive becomes every self centered – and there is conflict. Why do you think people argue about sex in marriage? The desire for pleasure is very strong – and we are only looking out for our own pleasures – resentment builds up.

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