Summary: People are quick to anger and slow to have forgiveness and resolution. James helps us deal with conflict and not act like the Hatfields and the Mccoys.
James chapter 4:1-4:10
Turn to James chapter 4:1-4:10
In these verses James addresses two issues- Our issue of selfishness and why we have so many disagreements that explode into conflicts that need resolution. The second thing he addresses is our selfishness and why we need to surrender ourselves to God.
(1) Fighting (2) Surrendering to God.
Fighting is sure not new- Countries, Nations, people fight all the time.
Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make sure their employees get trained on anger management, conflict, resolution, employee stress, keeping their hands to themselves, keeping quiet and not becoming a disgruntled employee.
What causes quarrels and conflict? Envy!
Envy defined – a feeling of anger towards someone because they have something you want. (Repeat)
It is why countries go to war, it is why people go to war!
(2) tells us that some lust, hate, murder to have what they want.
I like what you got, I don’t like that you have it!
Most of you have heard of the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s. The two famous families from Kentucky, but most do not know why this feud lasted over a decade, or why at least 12 people died. It was over a pig, that’s right, a pig!.
It started over a pig
It turned into timber rights
Escalated because one Hatfield was interested in a McCoy
Until bullets fly and years later they don’t even remember why they hate each other. They just do!
Fussing and fighting isn’t new. One of the first fights in the Bible is Cain getting mad at his brother Abel and killing him out of jealousy.
Just pick up the newspaper
Just turn on the news.
There is conflict everywhere.
Okay, what is the cause of conflict?
James doesn’t pull any punches- it comes from a battle within you. When you don’t get something that you want, you are ready to fight.
What starts as a spark, we pour gasoline on, until it is a full-fledged fight and a battle of desires.
We battle against other people
We battle against God.
Churches, a place of worship, a place where God’s people gather has been a place of conflict.
People leaving churches because so and so didn’t say hi to me.
Divorce within the church.
Board and pastor fight, pastor and congregation fight.
Christian homes become a place of turmoil
Divorce, people not talking to one another.
If I have not struck a cord yet, give me a minute. Because conflict hits every level of society.
This happens because of a battle that goes on inside of us.
(3) “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Ask what? Ask for God’s help!
You don’t receive- why? Because you have wrong motives… it is all about you!
Oh God….fix that husband of mine.
Oh God…fix that wife of mine.
Change my boss, straighten out my neighbors, give me better parents, change my kids,
It is everybody else’s fault!
One time I talked to a couple because all they did was fight! When I approached them, the husband said we fight all the time, but we love each other! If you love each other, stop the fighting and find resolution instead of conflict.
Some live for the drama and attention! You wonder why God has not responded?
Because you are asking with the wrong motive.
Begin with yourself. What can you do to resolve the conflict?
What part do you playing finding happy ground.
“Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God, or do you think scripture says without reason that the Spirit he causes to live in us envies intensely.”
When the battle is between you and the Lord, the Spirit of God in your life and the battle of flesh and selfishness. If the Spirit of God does not change us, don’t look for Him to put his okay on our bad behavior or attitude.
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
What is the cure for conflict (v7-8)
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands , you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Boom, there it is!
Submission to God, surrender! Two of our favorite words.
As a kid, we played the mercy game. You would bend back someone’s finger until they surrendered. That is how we view God, pulling us back, taking all our fun until we cry uncle or surrender to Him.
Christ wants us to submit our lives to him, to submit is the better life! It comes with blessings, and less heartache, it comes with stability and direction.