James 4:1 - What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
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James opens his letter by writing, “To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations.” His letter is very broad, full of direct commandments written about everyday life matters. However, you quickly feel that this letter may have been directed toward first century Jewish believers, but it deals with things for the modern day believer as well. It becomes very real and very relevant, very fast. And into chapter four, verse 1, we are convicted by this question, “What causes fights and quarrels among you?”
We’ve all been in quarrels and fights. The specific Greek words can mean battles, wars, conflicts, and everything else in between. This can be in regards to physical fighting, verbal assaults, emotional struggles - and conflicts started by you or by another. What causes these things? Simple, the pleasures, desires, and longings that battle within you. Quarrels and fights out in the open come from struggles and battles within.
Think about that - every tension filled relationship, every fisticuff, every verbal lashing, everything that can be labeled a quarrel or fight between individuals or nations have happened because of internal struggles to be right, to have a right, to get your own way, or desires. That pretty much covers everything.
So, what do we do about this? Is this just to be accepted as a way of life? Or is James calling first century Jewish believers and modern day Christ followers to change? What we know for sure is - these are not godly and Christlike ways of living. Instead, our stance should be one of subjection, submission, and humility. Not to the wishes and desires of others, but simply to the will and desire of our Lord.
What fight or quarrel are you involved in today? What does the word of God call you to do about it?