Today we begin James Chapter 4. In the English Standard Version (ESV), the subtitle for verses 1-12 is “Warning Against Worldliness.” He begins this section by discussing the cause of conflict…
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (James 4:1)
Conflict comes from our old, human nature. (Paul wrote about the on-going battle between our old nature and our new nature in Romans 7:15-25.) It comes from sinful desires within ourselves. It may be the desire to have something we are not entitled to. It may be the desire to “be right.” It may be the desire to control people or situations, or it may be the desire for people to favour us over others.
Every time there is conflict, someone is not acting like Jesus! (In most cases, it is both parties.) If we were all completely Christ-like, we would have no trouble getting along.
Your homework today is to take note of every time you feel even a hint of conflict coming on with someone. It may be your spouse, child, sibling, co-worker, boss, neighbour, or friend. It may be a total stranger. It may even be a fellow church-member. (Perhaps we should extend this homework to include tomorrow, when we all go to church.) When you fell that conflict pause and ask yourself, “What would Jesus say in this situation? Am I reacting as He would?” Ask His Holy Spirit to fill you and to help you see the conflict through Jesus’ eyes. If He shows you where you need to change your attitude, then be willing to make that change. As for the other person, pray that God will heal the battle raging between their two natures, too. Remember that if they are not Born Again, they do not yet possess a new nature, so their salvation needs to be your first priority in prayer.
Today’s Good News is that Jesus can heal the conflict within us and the conflict that we have with others.
Now, go share the Good News…
FAITH in ACTION!
If you are joining us part way through this Journey in James, you can access the devotionals you have missed in the archives. (The series started on June 1.)
If this is your first visit to this website, please read the “Featured Post” from March 1, 2018.