Summary: Disagreements are normally centered around power and control. Getting our own way with little regard to what is actually best for a majority or a right thing to do.
The Heart of the matter
For the past couple of months we have had a sort of strange schedule. We have been in and out of the book of James. While we have been moving through James it is still a topical kind of study.
There is an over all flow that I call teaching on “faith that works” and generally James is only topic is faith however, faith is such a big topic is has many - many sub topics. The book of James is a resource when ever we are struggling with issues of faith.
James started with explaining that believers should have joy at all times. Joy is easy when things are good but, bad situations are hard our faith reminds is that this life is temporary. The promises that God gives us are promises in the eternal. James teaches us that our faith is something that we apply to our lives. We are expected to live God’s tag line of “Just do it.” We have also been told that favoritism of one person or another is bad, that we should not exalt or favor to the exclusion on anyone. So, rich or poor should be welcomed in a balanced manner. James teaches that Words, stuff we do as a church and individuals is a way of affirming our faith.
Works expose our faith to the people that see us. Works are not a means of salvation or even a maintence program to help us keep our salvation. They are an outward sigh of the faith we hold.
The book of James is a good resource is you are struggling with your faith….One thing that seems odd. He does not stress what your faith is to be in as much as helping his readers then and now to have a way of evaluating our faith and in a way giving us a measuring stick to help us to examine our progress.
-- In our different examinations of faith so far, we have found James to be very direct in his teaching. He steps on our toes and puts pressure on our hearts as he challenges our faith and how it measures up.
The end of chapter three speaks of two kinds of wisdom, earthly and heavenly. Earthly wisdom is generated my what we think and is self-centered and envious while heavenly wisdom comes from God and brings peace and love. While there is a chapter break the subject of earthly wisdom is continued in today’s scripture.
James asks, “What causes fights and quarrels among you?”
We don’t know if he is responding to a personal knowledge of the people in those foreign lands or to a letter of some kind. It is good that things are so different today that people in the church don’t fight because we have matured in our relationship with God through Jesus. Right…? It may be that James is speaking to people that never really change, that when ever people group together fights and quarrels are inevitable.
Doesn’t that sound cynical?
Unfortunately, we all know it is true. Any culture that can fill the daily TV schedule with shows like Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, Jerry Springer and constant attorney advertising is a culture filled with fights and quarrels.
But, that is the culture in general and has nothing to do with us Christians.
-- I am sure Christians families fight less..right?
Maybe I need to pause and tell you that no matter what we would like to be true….Christian people, Christian families and Christian churches do have fights and quarrels. As I understand it many times they can be quiet bad.
James being a realist, and knowing what people are like is calling for an examination of fights and quarrels within a faith community; for our purpose, a church.
This part of the book suggests that disagreements need to be evaluated before they become fights and arguments. James seems to want us to question where our disagreements really come from.
He asks, “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.”
He describes human nature. We don’t get what we want, what we think should happen so we go on the attack. Fortunately, we only kill our opponents with angry words. Occasionally the tactics it to talk to everyone around the subject building a private army, some might even say back-stabbing.
Disagreements are normally centered around power and control. Getting our own way with little regard to what is actually best for a majority or a right thing to do.
In our different examinations of this book James has called us readers to examine our selves our motives. He has called us to take action and to call on God to help us to grow in our faith and relationship with God.