Summary: Part 7 or 7 in our teaching series, "TRUE RELIGION" For more information, email or visit

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:: True Religion Wrap-up

Today we are wrapping up our teaching series through James’ letter to the early church.

• James has taught us to not give in during hard times, finding joy in brokenness

• Have an identity that reflects Christ, evidenced not only in faith but also in action

• Enter into relationships of true grace and forgiveness with others

• Control our powerful words, using them to build and create life in others

• Seek Godly wisdom, not only for ourselves, but to share with others

• He closes his letter to the early church with a plea for those believers to stay close to God, remaining true to the commitment they made to him.

• He also encourages them to stay close to each other, walking in grace and love with each other and standing united together in their faith and community, to stand united

:: Promoting Chaos

1. Be sure to develop and maintain a healthy fear of conflict, letting your own feelings build up so you are in an explosive frame of mind.

2. If you must state your concerns, be as vague and general as possible. Then the other person cannot do anything practical to change the situation.

3. Assume you know all the facts and you are totally right. The use of a clinching Bible verse is helpful. Speak prophetically for truth and justice; do most of the talking.

4. With a touch of defiance, announce your willingness to talk with anyone who wishes to discuss the problem with you. But do not take steps to initiate such conversation.

5. Latch tenaciously onto whatever evidence you can find that shows the other person is merely jealous of you.

6. Judge the motivation of the other party on any previous experience that showed failure or unkindness. Keep track of any angry words.

7. If the discussion should, alas, become serious, view the issue as a win/lose struggle. Avoid possible solutions and go for total victory and unconditional surrender. Don’t get too many options on the table.

8. Pass the buck! If you are about to get cornered into a solution, indicate you are without power to settle; you need your partner, spouse, bank, whatever.

:: Letter of James

[James 4:1-2]

1What 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.

:: Conflict is Unavoidable

Epithumeo – to set your heart upon, covet and desire after

Zeloo - having strong/warm feeling for, to covet

These are present active verbs. We face a never-ending cycle of trying to be satisfied through these desires but continuously finding ourselves dissatisfied with what we have gained.

[James 4:2-5]

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?

Greed and “selfish” desires often play important roles in out conflicts; is it such a surprise the Jesus would teach us to place God’s desires above our own?

Jesus told of seed that fell among thorns and was choked out by pleasures of life. (Luke 8:14)

Paul reminds us to “set our affections on things above, not on things of this earth.” (Col. 3:2)

“The difference between the spiritual and unspiritual community is not whether conflict exists, but is rather in our attitude toward it and our approach to handling it. When conflict is seen as an opportunity to draw more fully on spiritual resources, we have the makings of spiritual community.” [Larry Crab, “The Safest Place on Earth”]

:: Stand United in God & With Each Other

[James 4:7-12]

7Submit 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 and judges it. When you judge 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 neighbor?

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