Monday, July 18, 2011

Digging Deeper James 4:1-3 with Commentary

Conflict is a reality in daily life. Conflict in our marriages, with our children, in the workplace, neighborhoods and churches. Conflict on the highways and in the grocery store. Conflict in schools and in politics. What makes the difference between conflict that glorifies God and conflict that does not? There are a lot of factors but the one we will focus on this week is the heart behind conflict with people we know and people we don't know. This is a great verse to memorize.

James 4:1-3
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

"in contrast to those who make peace, quarrels and fights are caused by the passions or self-centered desires...that are causing these people to make war against each other in the church. This is extremely violent language for dissension, and some even think it should be taken literally of people killing each other (v.2), though it is best to view this as a metaphor for the devastating effect of unrestrained hostility.

You do not have because you do not ask is a reminder that believers should ask God for what they seek rather than fighting each other. Prayerlessness results in failure to receive many of God's blessings. James does not imply that God wills to grant sinful, selfish desires (4:3), but bringing requests before God can have a purifying influence on ones' desires.

You ask wrongly. Not all prayers are pleasing to God, only those consistent with his will as revealed in Scripture...Rather than seeing to honor God and advance his kingdom purposes, such prayers seek only to gratify self-centered passions...James is not saying all pleasure is wrong...only pleasure that does not have the glory of God as the goal..." [ESV Study Bible - study notes pg 2396]

Blessings, Diane

Diane Hunt is the Director of Addiction Recovery and Development at America's KESWICK. In addition to her Keswick responsibilities which keep her busy, she loves to read, write and teach, travel and laugh with her grandchildren. Diane has been married to her husband John over 26 years. She has 2 children, 3 grandchildren, 3 step-children, and 7 step-grandchildren.

a. James 4:1 Greek pleasures; also verse 3
b. James 4:1 Greek in your members
Cross references:
A. James 4:1 : Rom 7:23; 1 Pet 2:11
B. James 4:3 : 1 John 5:14

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