Summary: Worldliness is seen in interpersonal conflicts and the only cure for worldliness is submission to God.
WAR AND PEACE
Have any of you read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy? It’s a novel with over 1200 pages about Russian life under Napoleon. I’ve never read it but it is a good title for today’s message. Because we are going to see that the wars and conflicts going on within us are seen in the wars and conflicts outside of us. Or if I put it easier, our conflicts with others are usually because of what is going on inside of us. It’s important that we understand this if we want to know what to do about it. Let me start by saying that last week’s message ended on a very peaceful note. I like that. It always leaves you with a feeling of peace and tranquility or calmness. Everyone knows how much I love to fly 777’s. It’s my favorite airplane. But did you know I just love flying. I am one of those people who always likes a window seat when I fly. I like to look out. I like it when we break out of the clouds. It is so peaceful. So when I’m under a lot of stress I just go fly a 777. When we apply God’s wisdom in our dealings with others, it is always peaceful. Did you notice that when we apply the wisdom that James said is earthly, unspiritual and of the devil. And it leads to disorder and evil. But when we use the wisdom that God gives us it leads to peace. I don’t know about you but I like that much better.
And please stay with me in this passage, because it will end on a good note.
There’s 3 things we’ll look at today. First, when we have strife and quarrels it is from sinful desires lurking within us. Second, this strife is caused by love of the world, which cannot coexist with love of God. And third, we’ll see the cure for this; resisiting the devil and drawing close to God.
OK, let’s start with the reasons why we all fight and quarrel and have problems with one another. We’ll see that in the first 2 verses..Notice how intense he is here.
James 4:1 ¶ What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
What causes fights and quarrels? They can come because of unanswered prayer, friendship with the world, hostility toward God, jealousy of what someone else has and I suppose I could add more. Or just take a look at what is going on in the world around you. Wars between countries. There’s the situation in Israel now. We see domestic battles between family members. They can be husbands and wives, parents against children or children against children. Do any of you have problems at work. It might be between you and your employer, or you and your employees if you are an employer. Or it can be between co workers. They come in all shapes and sizes as we like to say.
Because we live in a fallen world we all have desires raging within us. They might be good, but often, as we shall see in the next verse, they are worldly desires; desires for pleasure and indulgence. Don’t believe me? When I worked for AA I hated taking calls from people wanting to fly to LAS. Why? Because they always wanted the cheapest fare and the flights were very full. They would ask me to play around with different dates and different flights to get the best fare. And why did they want to go to LAS? For pleasure of course. Another interesting destination was the Caribbean, especially those wanting to go on a cruise. They were seeking pleasure.
These all have to do with our interpersonal relationships. And remember what happens on the outside is an indication of what is going on on the inside.
James 4:2 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.
This warfare going on inside of us is seen in conflicts going on in our lives. Not very pretty is it?
This doesn’t look like God’s wisdom applied does it? It looks more like it’s all our fleshly unspiritual side. That’s the nature of the beast. We are envious of what we do not have. Don’t anybody try to steal my Rolex, it’s insured. James talks about killing or murdering. Don’t believe me? Remember Cain and Abel?
Genesis 4:5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Genesis 4:6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?