Summary: An inductive look at frustration and what causes it leading to an exposition of the text and a call to surrender to God.
1. I’ve learned one thing in my attempts at gardening and landscaping. “You have to get all the roots out to get rid of the weeds.” If not they just keep coming back – over and over again. Weeds can be very frustrating because they keep me from having the flowerbeds I want.
2. Speaking of frustrations listen to these lines from “Life’s Little Book of Frustrations.”
You had that pen in your hand just a second ago and now you can’’ find it anywhere.
You ask the teacher how to spell a word and she says to look in the dictionary.
The elevator stops at every floor and no one gets on or off.
You set your digital alarm for 7 PM instead of 7 AM.
You have to inform five different sales people in the same store that you’re just looking. Then when you want to buy something you can’t find a single one.
Just when you’re ready to watch your favorite TV show the phone rings and it’s a tele-marketer who won’t stop talking.
Just when you turn your head something important happens behind you.
Why are these things so frustrating? Because in each situation something keeps you from having what you want.
3. I heard a story about a boy that asked his dad to explain the differences between irritation, aggravation and frustration.
Dad picked up the phone and dialed a number at random. When someone answered he asked, “Can I speak to Alf please.” “You have the wrong number. There’s no Alf here.” Dad said, “That’s irritation.”
Then Dad hit “redial” and asked for Alf a second time. The voice on the other end said, “There’s no one named Alf here! If you call again I will call the police.” Dad said, “Son, that’s aggravation.”
“Then what’s frustration?” asked the little boy. Dad picked up the phone, hit redial again and said, “Hi, this is Alf. Do I have any messages?”
Why would the guy on the other end of the phone line be frustrated? Because he couldn’t get the peace and quiet that he wanted.
When we can’t have what we want we become FRUSTRATED.
4. In a recent survey of teens, 56% said “selfishness” – not thinking of the rights of others – was one of the top five problems in America. Why would they peg selfishness as a leading cause of our society’s troubles?
SELFISHNESS causes many problems because it always takes what it wants, when it wants and doesn’t care who gets hurt.
The problem with that though is that our desires keep on GROWING no matter how many times we try to satisfy them. In other words, we will never be satisfied and we will always be frustrated.
James wrote to Christians with several SURFACE problems – like the tops of my hated weeds.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 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. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-4)
Fights and QUARRELS
Anger, frustration and murderous words
Not much PRAYER and what there was selfish
James confronted the ROOT problem in their lives. (He wanted to deal with this situation like a nasty weed.) And he said they were committing “spiritual adultery.”
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. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:4-6)
Spiritual adultery means, “to give my desires a higher PRIORITY than God” or “to think that what I want is on THE SAME level as God.”
It always leads to PRIDE.
Pride is essentially acting as if we can do God’s work. Jesus’ first disciples tended to do that too. They told Jesus they would go through anything for him. They argued over who was the greatest. They expected to be second only to Jesus in God’s kingdom. But all their selfish plans and desires died with Jesus on the Cross.
Let’s be honest for a moment. Don’t we tend to be selfish too? Isn’t that why we feel frustrated when things don’t go the way we think they should? Isn’t it easy to think that with a little extra will power and determination we can please God? Don’t we often make decisions based on what will keep us comfortable and secure rather than on what God says is right?