Summary: #14 in the series deals with the sin nature in man that is the cause of all conflicts among people, both in the church and in the world.
The Source of All Wars
#14 in the Book of James Series
By Pastor Jim May
World War II had ended. On September 2, 1945 General Douglas MacArthur spoke to a waiting 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....” But is the world quietly at peace?
Since that day, the U.S. has been involved in so many wars and conflicts that we have a hard time naming them. There is no quiet, peaceful place on planet earth anymore, for even when you feel peaceful, somebody is always gunning for you, whether it’s a jealous neighbor, a co-worker who wants your job, or a despot from another nation or someone of another religion that hates you just for being who and what you are.
Why can’t we just get along together? Why do we rub each other the wrong way? Have you ever thought of how beautiful life would be without other people who make you mad or get you upset? Well, don’t think about it too much, or you will probably come to realize that most of the fault lies within yourself, and even if it was just you on planet earth, you’d find something to be upset about.
My fight isn’t with you, but with me. I’m the most formidable opponent that I face every day. If I could just bring my own feelings, thoughts and desires under control, life would be so much easier. Even though I am a new creation in Christ, that old man of the flesh still likes to make his presence known.
I’d like to think that the normal state of life is to be peaceful, but that’s not true. Peace doesn’t last long because we are constantly in a state of hostility against one another. There’s always something that is trying to drive a wedge of doubt, fear, frustration, mistrust, anger or something like that in between us, even as Christians.
James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
No matter where you go you will face power struggles, even in the church. Pride and ambition stalks the heart of man; and this brings on envy and strife, because one always has to outdo another.
Have you ever been around someone who just has to get the upper hand, or the last word? They have done more, seen more and been more places than you have, no matter how much you have done. Every time we think that we might finally be getting the upper hand, and maybe a swell head, someone always finds a way to bust that bubble and bring us down to earth. It’s no different for us preachers as it is for you. Someone always finds a way to take you down a notch if you get a swell head.
1) The young preacher had just announced to his congregation that he was resigning in order to become the pastor of another church. He was standing at the door after the service and greeting people, kind of saying his last goodbyes, when one of the elderly saints approached him, her eyes were filled with tears. She sobbed, "Oh pastor, I’m so sorry you’ve decided to leave. Things will never be the same again."
The young man was flattered, but he thought that he knew what to say to help her through this hard time of seeing a great pastor leave. He took her by the hand and said, "Bless you, Sister Matthews, but I am sure that God will send you a new pastor even better than I." She choked back a sob and said, "That’s what they all say, but they keep getting worse and worse!"
2) Another pastor was pleased that a particular member in his congregation always asked for copies of his sermons. One day his pride got the better of him and he asked them about it. "Oh," they said, "they’re just the perfect size for the bottom of my bird cage!"
There are those who think more highly of themselves than they ought to, and they are nothing but a source of antagonism for those of us who can’t accept that anyone is as good, or better, than we are. One such man was quoted as saying, “I have found within myself all I need and all I ever shall need. I am a man of great faith, but my faith is in myself. I have never failed me.” That man was G. Gordon Liddy who spent time in prison for this involvement in the Watergate Scandal under President Richard Nixon.