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Summary: Murder, strife, envy and pride. All of these character flaws are all apart of today’s sermon. Righteous living as a church begins with righteous lives of our members.

James 4:1-12 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2) You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3) When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4) You 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. 5) Or do you think the Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 6) That is why the Scripture says “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

7) Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8)Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash you hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9) Grieve mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10) Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.

11) Brothers, 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. 12) There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you -- who are you to judge your neighbor?

Murder, strife, envy and pride. All of these character flaws are all apart of today’s sermon. Righteous living as a church begins with righteous lives of our members. James told us in the previous chapter of how we praise God and curse man with the same mouth. These words all come from thoughts within. They come from our desires. Our desires, not God’s will.

James 4:1) What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2) You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

All of our fights and arguments come from our evil desires within us. These desires not only manifest themselves in our own minds but they show themselves in our dealings with other members and the public at large.

When we come to Christ and accept him as our personal Lord and Savior, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. That gift comes with a desire to do God’s will. It is our own sinful nature and desire that causes the strife inside of us. Our evil desires drive us to gain more possessions, to acquire more wealth, to lust after another and drive fancier cars. Power, prestige and prominence are materialist and go directly against the Holy Spirit. It is these same desires that drive us to aggressively pursue these so called gains. Deep in our hearts, we know what motivates our thoughts and our actions.

Jesus teaches us concerning our possession in Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?

Power, prestige and wealth will not buy us into eternity. This life is but an introduction into forever. It does not matter what possessions we have gained or how much we have in our bank account. If you were to win the Nobel Peace Prize or top the list of the wealthiest men alive, you still would not be given entrance to heaven without Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.

We are told to take everything before the Lord in Prayer, including our materialistic requests. Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; Knock and the door will be opened to you.

These tow teaching appear at first to be contradictory but James tells us in verse 3) When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

When we ask for things in prayer, what are our motives. Are they only selfish and self serving? When we talk to God, are we only carrying on a one-sided conversation? Just simply looking to fulfill our own desires or are we sometimes seeking for his approval in what we are already planning to do? Do you earnestly seek His will for your life? If we want to have an effective witness and an effective presence in our life, we must earnestly seek not only the face of God but his heart as well.

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