James 4 v. 1 – 3
‘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 addresses what he sees as the root causes of conflict and quarrels – selfish desires or ambitions – ‘the desire for position or influence, the desire to get even, the desire to protect ourselves from criticism, or the desire to have an easy, comfortable life’.
Quite often, says James, we get ourselves into these conflicts by not taking them to God in the first place –
‘Prayerlessness is a sign that we are trying to run things in our own strength, for our own good…James says ‘you don’t have something because you didn’t ask the one Person who can give it.’
But we also don’t get what we ask for in prayer, James says, because our motives can be wrong (again, self-serving).
‘James is not talking about praying for a loved one to be healed, or an awful situation to be stopped. He is talking about praying with wrong motives – asking God to rubber-stamp our agenda.
Our prayers should not be about getting God to do what we want, but about seeking to love to do what He wants.’
(Quotes from Explore : By The Book, Timothy Keller, Sam Allberry)
help me to turn to You
all the more
in times of personal conflict,
that I may understand the root causes,
that I may see my own selfish desires and motives,
that I may ask You for the right things.
May I learn the true wisdom
of taming the tongue,
and pursuing it’
and every day.
All posts in The Letter Of James
- Finally, a reminder of our mission…seeking the lost, bringing them home
- Prayer works…but how?
- A call to prayer and to praise
- Watch out, the Lord’s coming is near!
- Time to stop exploiting…
- What is your life? No longer our own, but Yours, Lord.
- He will draw near to you…and will lift you up
- Even more grace, freely given
- Understanding our quarrels
- Wisdom from heaven to tame the tongue (and heart)
- Our words, powerful for good or ill
- An inactive faith is a dead faith
- The root of our salvation is by faith, the fruit of our salvation is by works
- Mercy triumphs over judgement (but without judgement, we don’t fully grasp mercy)
- All are equal, all are one…let’s live it out
- Hearing the Word, and acting upon it…
- Father God gives good and perfect gifts
- Heavenly riches (crowns of life) and earthly poverty
- In need of wisdom? You only have to ask…
- Introducing Bible Month – the letter of James (i)