Summary: The pitfalls of fussing and fighting in the Family of God
World War II had ended. On September 2, 1945 General Douglas MacArthur spoke to the 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 - Korea - Viet Nam, Iraq twice, not to speak of limited wars, political assassinations, personal revolts, rebellions and social revolutions.
1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you?
In the over 3100 years of recorded world history, the world has only been at peace 8% of the time or a total of 286 years, and over 8000 treaties have been made and broken. During this period there have been 14,531 wars, large and small, in which 3,640,000,000 people have been killed.
Years ago, a large statue of Christ was erected high in the Andes on the border between Argentina and Chile – called “Christ of the Andes.”
It symbolized a pledge between the two countries. As long as the statue stands, there will be peace between Chile and Argentina. Shortly after the statue was erected, the Chileans began to protest that they had been slighted, because the statue has its back turned to Chile.
Just when tempers were at their highest, a Chilean newspaper writer saved the day.
In an editorial he simply wrote, “The statue of Christ faces Argentina because, “The people of Argentina need more watching over than the people of Chile.”
The Wrong Fight
CONFLICT WITH OTHERS: Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.
Christians are engaged in a very real warfare. We are fighting against God’s enemy, Satan. And we are fighting for the souls of people. Satan is our adversary, and he will use any strategy necessary in order to win. One such strategy he often uses is to incite the children of God to war with one another. It’s hard to win the war abroad when there is civil war at home.
French novelist/playwright Alexandre Dumas once had a heated quarrel with a young politician. The argument became so intense that a duel was inevitable. Since both men were superb shots they decided to draw lots, the loser agreeing to shoot himself. Dumas lost.
Pistol in hand, he withdrew in silent dignity to another room, closing the door behind him. The rest of the company waited in gloomy suspense for the shot that would end his career.
It rang out at last. His friends ran to the door, opened it, and found Dumas, smoking revolver in hand. "Gentlemen, a most regrettable thing has happened," he announced. "I missed."
When we are fighting with one another, it should be a red flag that something has gone wrong.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? James says that our desires lead to conflict with others. The source lies within us. Our desires put us at odds with one another.
He tells us that we quarrel and fight, even kill and covet.
FRUSTATION WITH LIFE: You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
1. Our motives are self indulgent in nature. We want things. We want to have — to possess. In our
desire to possess, we want to take. We want to get it ourselves.
2. There is a certain self-sufficiency about our efforts. We don’t want to depend on God.
We don’t want to ask him for what we need.
3. And when we finally do ask him, we don’t receive what we want because our motives are so
selfish. We want what we want simply for our own pleasures.
a. Spend/consume…lit means to ‘squander’
Fifteen years ago the dominant value among college freshmen was “finding a meaningful philosophy of life.” Today that value has dropped to number eight on the list.
Predictably, “being well off financially” has soared to the top of the list of 70 percent of all freshmen.
What these college freshmen are likely unaware of is the hidden cost of trying to “have it all.” Pollster Lou Harris tells us that 86 percent of the American public is chronically stressed out and 68 percent of that group is stressed out and doing nothing about it
“You can have it all” is not only Michelob’s light beer commercial, it has become the battle cry of an entire generation. Madison Avenue has been remarkably effective in seducing us to “Move on up,” “Grab the gusto,” and “Have it our way.”