“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3 NIV
I am a Mixed Martial Arts fan. I enjoy watching a good fight. I am also a fan of professional and amateur wrestling. Wrestling is a sport that can be traced back all the way to Bible times. James 4 shows us that according to Scripture, another tradition that can be traced all the way back to the early church is church conflict. In chapter 4, James turns his attention to fights and quarrels “among you.” It is important again to remember that when James is writing, he is referring to those within the church. This says that church fights and church conflicts are a tradition that goes all the way back to the time of James the brother of Jesus!
While James points out quite clearly from the first century church that quarrels do arise in the family of God, he takes our attention off of the one we feel is doing wrong, and places it back on ourselves. He brings us back to taking responsibility for our own actions. James has shown through his letter thus far that he is not concerned with how nicely we talk, but rather how straight we walk. He knows that what we do, will ultimately overshadow what we say.
The point that James makes about church conflicts is that we are called not to prey on others, but rather to pray to God.
Seek God. Pray. Ask Him for resolution. Don’t go to Him with wrong motives. Prayer is not coming to God to give Him marching orders. Coming to God in prayer is like reporting for active duty to the Lord. James wants us to know that coming to God in prayer isn’t to demand that God bless our business, our health, solve our problems, or to give us more money. Coming to God in prayer is more like saying, “Yes Sir. I am here. I am available for anything You want.” Next time, we’ll learn about Tapping out to the Savior.
Today dear Jesus, I come to You in prayer, submitting to anything You desire. ‘Yes Sir. I am here. I am available. Anything You want done… have me to do.’ Holy Spirit I submit myself to You. I give You my pride. I lay down my fears and insecurities. You are not my psychologist who is there to listen to me. You are my Commander in Chief to whom I owe complete obedience. Forgive my rebellious attitude. I am here for service to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.