Thursday, July 26, 2018

More Reasons We Quarrel

Chuckle: "You may easily play a joke on a person who likes to argue -- agree with him." --Ed Howe
Quote: “A little explained, a little endured, a little forgiven, the quarrel is cured.” --Mary H. Waldrip

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" (James 4:1 NIV). "For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit , and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature" (Galatians 5:17 NIV).
Our passage says that quarrels and fights (conflicts) are the result of a war inside us between the flesh and the Spirit. If you demand what you want and I demand what I want, conflict is the result. The Greek word "hedone" translated "desires" in verse 1, is the same word from which we get "hedonist." The hedonist's one goal is to satisfy his/her selfish desires.
Have you noticed you don't have to teach children to be selfish? However, teaching them to be unselfish and to share is a full-time job. Some favorite adult sayings in our society proliferate selfishness: "If it feels good, do it." "What's in it for me?" "I have my rights." "Get what you want." "Look out for number one." etc. If we don't grow up as Christians, we continue to be driven by selfish desires of the flesh. If all you think about is what you want, you will have conflict. James mentions some normal desires that can mutate into something destructive.
Desire for possessions: "You want something but you don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight" (James 4:2 NIV). God's plan is for us "to use possessions and love people." But when we "love things and use people," we have rebelled against God and reflect a lack of growing up spiritually. Howard Hughes, once the richest man in America was asked if he had enough. He said "no." He said he wanted just a little bit more. He was never satisfied. If we continually have to have more to be happy, our relationships will crumble and lead to unhappiness.
Desire for Pleasures. "You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your (own selfish) pleasures" (James 4:3 NIV). If everything has to be just like you want it, and it doesn't happen that way, you will go through life as an very unhappy person. Do you focus on yourself and expect everyone else to cater to your desires? When we focus on God first, then self takes its rightful place -- right behind a loving and genuine concern for others.
Desire for Power and Prominence. This can lead to excessive pride. We see this attitude in the Frank Sinatra song: "I did it My Way." Proverbs 13:10 says "Pride only breeds quarrels or arguments." Have you ever been right in the middle of a big argument, and suddenly realize you are wrong -- but you didn't stop arguing? Why did you not stop when you knew you were wrong? You know why -- it's pride. James says this attitude will destroy us. The Bible says: "Pride goes before destruction. a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18 NIV).
The proud are in conflict with God as well as with each other. "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). If you depend on self, you are in conflict with God. I've often found God working in my life to show me my pride and bring me to humble myself before Him. He knows when I'm proud. Pride causes me to miss out on his blessings and the joy of living in a loving relationship with Him.


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