The Apostle James asks, "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?" (James 4:1). What a great question!
Look around. Do you not see fighting and quarreling abound?
In our country we fight about when life starts, matters of gender, marriage, property rights, and the right be be secure. We fight about how our kids should be educated, how we should manage public lands, and how our nation should trade with other nations. Even the process to select our national leaders is done by way of fighting and quarreling (because you'd be hard pressed to call it civil debate at this point).
Locally there are fights and quarrels about where the prison should be located, what we need to do with the homeless, rules for the sale of alcohol when R rated movies are involved, and if it's okay to use pesticides on dandelions. How much public quarreling is required before a Walmart might be built in any neighborhood?
We fight and quarrel personally too, don't we? You know the hot topics. What are the fighting words in your life? What causes the fights and quarrels in your family? With your co-workers? Do you ever fight and quarrel with your friends?
Why? What is at the root of your fighting?
God, spoken through the Holy Spirit-inspired writing of James asks, "Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?" (James 4:1b).
The war we have with those around us is ignited because there is a war going on inside us.
War is an ugly thing. Some of us have seen it up close, most of us have seen graphic images on our screens. But I believe the war of our passions that rages within us is of the most horrific and ugly kind. There is none worse and the level of destruction could never be outdone by trained armies. It is the war that breeds all other wars, all fighting and all quarreling.
James lists specific signs were we can see the effects of this war within front and center. The desire for material stuff and experiences. Evil talk like gossip, back-biting, and wrong judgement. Arrogance and a desire for control. And greed. These are the symptoms of the war of passions raging within the human heart and mind.
What's the status of this war within your soul today? What can we do about it? Is there any peace treaty in sight? Any redemption? Any healing? Any salvation from our sinful passions?
Yes. Of course. God is all about putting an end to this war by defeating sin. That is the very reason he sent his one and only Son. It is his desire that the passion of our heart is not the fuel of these war machines; but instead, God desires that our passion is for him. James 4:4-10 is a profound set of instructions that if followed, will end the horrific war within our souls. And if God can end the war within our souls we might see a time in our own lives that has far fewer fights and much less quarreling.
We'll be talking about this is much greater detail tomorrow morning as we seek to worship and love God together with other believers. I hope to see you Sunday!
For the Kingdom!
Pastor Bryan Catherman