James 4:1-2 NIV
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.”
If you are one who professes faith in Jesus Christ, and if you are on the internet much at all, on Christian discussion sites, on people’s blogs, or on social media such as Twitter and Facebook, you will undoubtedly notice that many Christians engage in verbal warfare with one another regularly.
They fight over politics and political leaders, over doctrinal differences, over the pretrib rapture, over which mode of baptism, over “fake news,” over masks or no masks, over sports teams, and over anything else that gets stirred up on social media that they have an opinion about.
Now, I am not implying here that we are not to defend the faith against false teaching, especially regarding the gospel of our salvation. But we can have a friendly (civil) discussion while engaging godly wisdom in what to say and how to say it, and regarding knowing when to quit and let things be.
We can disagree with one another without it turning into a knock down drag out fight where people insult one another, call each other names, make slanderous remarks against one another, and just get plain nasty. We can disagree with kindness and with respect.
I have had other Christians disagree with me to the point to where they wanted me dead, literally, to where they slandered me to other people, to where they wanted nothing more to do with me, and so they cut me out of their lives, and/or to where they invited me out of their fellowships.
And what was I doing or saying? The same things you read here on my blog that the Lord gives me to write every day. I was sharing the gospel, and I was teaching the Scriptures, in truth, and I was applying them to our lives today, and to our world today, in truth, in context.
They just saw things a different way than I did, and because I did not come over to their way of thinking, but I remained steadfast in my faith, then they cut me out of their lives, although I wasn’t asking to be cut out of their lives.
Yet, I am not claiming perfection here. I am just saying that we shouldn’t cut other believers out of our lives just because we disagree with them.
James 4:2-3 NIV
“You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
So, what is really behind all these fights and quarrels (not referring here to civil debates)? Why do Christians get so angry with each other to the point to where they falsely accuse each other, get nasty, make unkind and cutting remarks, and get so heated that they cut the other person off?
Pride is a big one! Some people just don’t like to be challenged at all. They don’t like anyone to disagree with them. They don’t want to feel like someone else knows something they don’t know. Or their “sacred cows” are being challenged, such as “pretrib rapture,” “Christmas,” and the like.
Or another reason is that they are living in sin, most likely secretively, and so they don’t want to hear anything that reminds them that they are not living right, even if it is not a direct challenge to them. They don’t want to hear the gospel message because it confronts them with their sin.
And this goes along with them asking God for things with the wrong motives so that what they get they will use for the wrong reasons, not to glorify God with their lives. So, they get angry with God when they don’t get what they want, and then they take their anger out on those who are following after the Lord, sometimes out of jealously.
James 4:4-6 NIV
“You adulterous people, 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. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“’God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.’”
And this really is the crux of the matter. Those who literally fight and get nasty and heated with others just because others think or believe differently from them do so because they are operating in the flesh, not in the Spirit. They are living in adultery against the Lord. They are not walking by the Spirit. And so, they respond in pride and in the flesh.
Now, I am not speaking here of righteous indignation. I am not saying we should not get angry over the things that God gets angry over, such as lies, adultery, abuse, the murdering of innocents, and cruelty to humans, etc. And I am not saying that we should not call these things out and speak truth to these issues. But we need to do so with controlled strength (gentleness).
But what I believe this is talking about is arguing and fighting over things that are not going to matter for eternity but are just a matter of personal preference or personal conviction or personal interpretation of what the Scriptures are teaching on some subjects, etc.
And this can involve fighting and arguing over things that may not even exist in reality or that may not ever come to fruition, but are what people have become convinced of via mind manipulation and hypnotic programming via TV, secular music, movies, video games, and the news, etc.
For, this can involve arguing and fighting over things that are of this world, such as politics, which has nothing to do with our walks of faith in Jesus Christ but can very much have to do with idolatry. For many people hold the government in higher esteem than they hold God.
So, this is all about getting caught up in the things of this world and the way the world thinks and values things and people and faith. And this is about taking on the pattern of the world in letting such things as pride, lust, greed, envy, jealousy, resentment, bitterness, and the like rule our hearts.
So, we need to step back from the things of this world, and we need to focus on our relationships with Jesus Christ. And this can’t be done in a five or ten minute devotional time each day. Jesus has to BE your life. Your life has to revolve around him and what he desires for your life.
So, you must let go of pride, envy, lust, and bitterness, etc., die daily with Christ to sin, and daily put on the armor of God with which to fight off the schemes of the devil. And walk (in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh (Lu 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24; Eph 6:10-20).
For, if you live your life according to the flesh, and what the flesh desires, you will surely not inherit eternal life with God. But if you are walking (in practice) in the Lord’s righteousness, in his power and strength, then eternal life with God is assured you (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
So, make the Lord the stronghold of your life, not the flesh, and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, not the angst of this world.
Hear my Voice
An Original Work / July 9, 2012
Based off Psalm 27
The Lord is my great salvation.
He’s the stronghold of my life.
When my enemies attack me,
My heart will not fear at all.
Though a war break out against me,
Confident in Christ I’ll be.
Of the Lord, I ask that I may
Live with Him eternally.
Hear my voice, Lord, when I call you.
Merciful to me You’ll be.
Though my relatives forsake me,
My Lord God will receive me.
Teach me Your way, O my Jesus.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
I will sacrifice to my Lord.
I will sing with joyfulness.
I am confident that I will
See the goodness of the Lord.
All the richness of His blessings,
My Lord has for me in store.
He asks me to be of courage;
To be strong and to take heart,
Patiently as I wait for Him,
And from Him to ne’er depart.