4 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. 4 You adulterous people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”[c] 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James is describing in this passage the most likely reason why we find ourselves at odds and fighting with others. The bottom line seems to be that we always want something that someone else has (lust) and if we don’t get our hearts and minds right before God, then we will do anything to get it. James also goes on to add that we don’t even ask God for these things, “Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to.” (Msg)
But James also gives us an answer to overcome this, pray! Draw near to God with a humble heart, find out what He wants (not what I want – pride) & He will come to you. Prayer is the great leveller. If we’re serious to allow God in He will bring the calm to the fight, give us the ability to overcome the devil, to stand and say no, & to purify the motives of our hearts and minds.
I’m in the midst of asking God for something at the moment, something pretty big, and this passage speaks to me, to make sure my motives are right. Verse 8 especially, “Come near to God, and he will come near to you.” Regardless of the version I read, that promise is the same. God is not far off but walking with me.
Lord, thank you for your encouragement to me through this passage today. As I continue to pray, may my heart be pure & humble before you and were it is not, change me to bring this situation to the best conclusion possible. Amen
Written by Suzie Hodgson