Dr. Conway Edwards, Lead Pastor
Bible References: James 4:1-4; James 1:17
As we turn to James chapter 4, we observe that James not only raises the question of what causes conflict, he answers it, giving both the specific causes of the problem and the cure. We can’t get along with others because we are unhappy and discontent. Our external conflicts come from internal conflicts that we can not contain – the idea that “I want what I want”. We fight because we want something we are not getting, which can lead us to outbursts or “bad” behavior, often hurting those closest to us.
There are three primary desires that anger us when not fulfilled:
- We want to have something: possession (i.e. greed)
- We want to feel something: physical pleasure (i.e. lust)
- We want to be something: power and prestige (i.e. vanity | control)
When my desires conflict with your desires, and when I don’t get what I want, then the sparks are going to fly! We become angry, envious, disillusioned, write the other person or people off, all in an attempt to get what we want.
Everything we want is an appetite that can never be satisfied in this world; it can be satisfied only through our relationship with God. We have to manage our appetites (money, power, respect, prestige, food, relationships, beauty, control, fame, etc.) because you will never conquer them. We shouldn’t make our pleasure the ultimate pursuit of our life; God must be the ultimate pursuit for each of us.
Want to build on this lesson? Think about the situation that comes to mind where you didn’t get what you wanted and you readily blamed someone else for the outcome. Take a deep breath and as you exhale let go of the blame, accept accountability, ask for God’s forgiveness, and pray that God grant you wisdom, peace, understanding, and freedom from internal conflicts as we pursue Him.