Summary: Once we establish the reality and causes of conflict we need to find a cure for them. God shows us the way to remove conflict is by a humble spirit towards others.
1. End of WWII
World War II had ended. On September 2, 1945 General Douglas MacArthur spoke to a waiting world from the Battleship Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay, “Today the guns are silent...the skies no longer rain death...the seas bear only commerce...men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight. The entire world is quietly at peace....”
That long war cost sixty million lives, and an estimated $1 trillion. It came only one generation after what President Woodrow Wilson called “the war to end all wars.” Since World War II we have been engaged in Korea and Viet Nam, Iraq twice, not to speak of limited wars, political assassinations, personal revolts, rebellions and social revolutions.
The history of the world is a war history. James brings it even closer home when he makes it clear that our personal stories are war stories as well, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (v.1). What a penetrating question! Why can’t we get along? Why do we rub each other the wrong way?
2. Review – Causes for Conflict
A. Our Passions – Internal
1. Evil Inclination
2. Good Inclination
B. Our Passions – External
1. Conflict with God (“Adultery”)
2. Conflict with One Another
C. Misuse of Prayer
2. Instead of Glory to God
3. Cures for Conflict – James 4.1-10
I. Go UP with God (5-8)
A. God is the Priority – Surrender to Him (4.7)
There’s a story about a young man hired by the Penn. Department of Transportation. His job was to paint the white lines on a nearby highway, because the machines were temporarily out of order.
• The first day he painted 8 miles.
• The second day he painted 4 miles.
• The third day he painted 2 miles.
• The fourth day, he only painted 1 mile.
The supervisor couldn’t figure out what was happening concerning the performance of the man’s job and asked him, “Hey! What’s the problem?”
The young man replied, “I’m painting less and less, because the paint can is getting farther and farther away!”
The young man would have done a much better job if he had carried the paint can with him. The truth is, we will do better living the Christian life if we walk NEAR to God….in close daily communion with Him.
1. Adultery – devastating
2. Spiritual Adultery applies
a. God – “No other gods”; “Jealous God”
b. Israel’s Idols
The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. 2 When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” Hosea 1.1-2
8 “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? Jeremiah 7.8-10
c. Our Idols – Wealth; Entertainment; Convenience; Traditions – Sunday PM; Invitation (A. Campbell – no invitation – not in scriptures)
B. Satan is the Enemy – Struggle Against Him
1. Adversary – 1 Peter 5.8-9
8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
2. Spiritual War – Ephesians 6.12
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
3. Grace/Chesed is greater than the adversary
4. Stand against him – James 4.7
b. Spiritual weapons – 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10.4-6
c. He flees – Luke 4.13
II. Go Up by Going Down (5-6, 10)
A. Emphasis on Humility
1. Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less
2. Pride says, “I will”; Humility says, “THY will.”