A Break, and James 4:1-3

Well, about an hour ago, I handed in my last final. So, for the next few weeks, I have “a break”, from school at least.

After talking to Laura last night about my blogging slippage the last month, she lovingly informed me that she wants to see me blogging every day, unless it’s a “sabbath.” That’s a good woman, right there!

Tonight at our community group, we’re going to be discussing James 4:1-3, which Dustin mentioned in his sermon on Sunday. The question I emailed out to our group is this: “How is this [what James is talking about] true in my life?” In light of that, I figured I would write a brief meditation on this gut-punching passage.

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.

This is such a rich passage, and there are a dozen different things that strike me. But, basically, James is saying here: “Conflict comes because we don’t get what we want.” When I look at my own heart in a conflict, this is almost always true. An example: Laura often gives me advice on how to drive. I get frustrated, and tell her, “Telling a man how to drive is like questioning his manhood.” Then we fight. This has happened so many times. We fight about this more than any other one thing.

Let me examine what it is “I want” when I get mad at Laura in these situations:

1. I want to be in control. I want to drive how I want to drive, and I don’t want anyone to tell me differently. Sometimes, Laura overreacts, but sometimes she’s right — something in my driving needs correction.

2. I want to be respected. Of course, this isn’t a bad thing as it stands — wanting my wife to trust me is a good thing, even a godly thing. But respect and silence and subservience (even the face of danger) are different things.

There’s more, I’m sure, but those two come to mind off the top of my head.

Ask yourself: “How is this true in my life?” Because it is true, it’s just a matter of where and how it manifests itself.

Pray that God shows you, and he will. He won’t just leave you there, though. He changes people. I cling to that hope.

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About Danny Slavich

I am a Christian husband, father, pastor, and poet. I lead Pembroke Road Baptist Church a multi-cultural, multi-generational church in urban South Florida.
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