James 4:1-5 KJV
1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
James turns the discussion now to disputes between believers. I find it interesting that he uses the words wars and fighting. I believe he’s talking about wars between countries and fighting within the church. Both of these fall under the same category. They are disputes that cause us to be more detached from our brothers and sisters. And James says that these come because of lust.
What are some of the things we lost after? Well there’s power, wealth, fame, possessions, superiority, and many other things. If you look at the recent skirmishes that we’ve had around the world as a country we can see that most of these skirmishes come because we have an enemy out there who wants to destroy us. They are seeking the power and so we must defend ourselves. It isn’t always us that have lusts. There’s not a lot we can do except keeping an enemy at bay when they are trying to defeat us.
What about within the church? James says we lust and we kill and we desire to have but we can’t obtain. That’s because fighting never solved anything. Typically it just makes two people a little bit more upset with each other. The end result is that bitterness comes in and then we’re both worse off than we were before. Typically fighting comes because I want my way in one thing or another and I’m not willing to concede that I might be wrong. This is pride through and through.
James goes on to say that when we fight and war over these things we don’t receive anything because we don’t ask. How often do we ask God to intercede in a situation before we fly off the handle? It’s a shame that we in the church can’t get along better. If we would simply go to the Lord with our difficulties, and bring those who we are fighting with along with us, this fighting could be stopped at the beginning.
The truth is that often we ask for the victory instead of asking for a compromise or instead of asking that God’s will would be done in the situation. We want our way. We want to be able to consume it on our own ambitions our own lust. We want bragging rights – to be able to say we were right. Therefore we don’t receive. If we would ask God to do what He would like to do. we will always receive. It may not be the answer that we want but what’s more important – the answer that we want or the answer that God wants?
Interesting that James uses the terms adulterer when talking about those who have friendship with this world. You have to remember the analogy that those of us who are born again in Christ Jesus will be His bride in the days to come. So it is seen as a break of vows when we have friendship with the world. The lust and desires of our heart are for worldly things and therefore we can become enemies of God instead of friends of God. Remember the first commandment – ye shall have no other gods before Him? What do you think it is when we place our desires before His? What is it when our lust is more important than His will. James calls it adultery
A case in point is the prayer for the sick. I know as well as you do we have been healed by the stripes of Jesus. I totally believe that. The question is always WHEN God wants to heal us. Now in my own desires I want to be healed now. I want my friends to be healed now. However perhaps God is using a sickness to draw someone closer to Him. If we then pray that God would heal us, or them, now are we not praying against the will of God? That’s why it’s so important that we pray that God will give them strength to endure until the trial is over. This is praying in the will of God.
Let us be sure that we are not after our own gain or our own desires when we are talking about our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us do all we can to follow after God with all of our might and not have our own agenda in mind when we come to Him. And when we have a dispute with our brother let’s look for a way to end that dispute as quick as possible before it turns into a fight. This is well pleasing to God.