Summary: James addresses ’wars and fights’ in a way which we sometimes miss.
Dealing with Difficulty as a Believer
* Ever since Genesis 3, mankind has been in the throes of fights, wars, struggles, suffering, which are generically called, difficulties. It is a never ending battle. No matter what you call them, we face these every day. You have heard me say that each one of us is either in the middle of a storm, coming out of a storm, or about to enter a storm. These struggles are a part of life for this fallen and depraved race known as ‘mankind.’ So it is no surprise that we find this addressed in God’s word.
* We have been working our way through the epistle of James. (Turn to text) If you recall, the last time we studied this book, we saw James address the issue of wisdom and should remember that we saw 3 types of wisdom; demonstrated, deceptive, and divine. To read the end of chapter 3 is to gain a clear understanding that when we give our lives to Jesus is to have a life changing and mind-altering experience which, if followed, leads us to a develop a wisdom that is from above. However, because God gave us the capacity to choose, we can choose something else and every time we choose to follow our own path, our own way, and our own mind, we choose the lesser and give the enemy an opening into our life
* Let’s read our text.
* Without a doubt, in 6 short verses James hits us between the eyes with a very practical approach to our difficulties. Let’s do the same.
1. The Source of the difficulties – James asks a very direct and powerful question, and as it turns out, it may be a different question than we perceive him to have asked. He doesn’t “What are you fighting over?” Rather, he asked about the “source”, the “basis”, or the “root” of your wars, quarrels, and fights. He goes for the jugular vein. The reason is simple; “not until you deal with the root of the problem will you affect the result of the problem.” For instance, when we bought our house we had a problem with the steps which lead into our pool house. Planted on either side of these rickety steps were some small but determined bushes. These bushes were causing damage which dislodged the steps. I trimmed the bushes; I cut the bushes, and even saw the bushes down to ground level. Nothing I did fixed the problem until I did the hard work of digging out the root. It was the ROOT which had and has to be removed. So James asks us about the source or the root. Too often we choose to deal with what is above ground and try to ignore the work of digging out the root.
* The other issue in this text involves the understanding of what these questions actually mean. (Read the first two questions)
* Notice ‘among’ in the first question and ‘within’ in the second. It gives you the idea that James is addressing a church fight with the first & a personal struggle with the second. Yet, in the Greek the exact same word is used both places. Why is this significant? It is because this little preposition carries with it the idea of being “inside of the person.” So James is saying it this way, “What is the real source of difficulties, struggles, and even fights among you?” When a difficulty impacts the body of Christ, rarely is the stated cause the root cause. Remember, that James is writing to believers and believers are those who Jesus has changed. Jesus has saved us & sent His Holy Spirit among us to guide us into Holy and Righteous living which is birthed out of Spiritual unity & harmony that the world cannot explain. So when difficulties come, what is the source? I suggest 2.
a. The most general source is Sin. Our text speaks of desires and cravings. Basically this is picture as that ongoing war between the Old man and the new man. Truthfully, sin grieves God as much today as it did 50 or 500 years ago. Sin, in the life of an authentic believer, creates a person in conflict. The Holy Spirit of God will not allow sin to come into the life of a redeemed person without being confronted. A believer who chooses to embrace their sin is a person who had a fight & war going on inside. One thing about a war, it is difficult to contain; it has a way of breaking out and wounding others even if it is friendly fire. A conflicted person is a dangerous person because they have lost their sensitivity. (illus PTL) Sin will still take you farther, keep you longer, and make you pay.