James 4:1-3 ESV
“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.”
There are many people in the church today who profess faith in Jesus Christ but who are still living for the passions of the flesh. They are not walking by the Spirit, for they are still living by the flesh. They are worldly people who are living not much different at all from those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ. And some of them believe that they have God’s blessings to live however they want, all because of his grace.
Since they are living to gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh, and they are not living to please the Lord, and they are not walking in obedience to him, but they are walking in sin, then it is highly possible that the sensual pleasures of their flesh, which are at war within them, are leading them to hate and to fight against those who are not at war with them. For, those they are fighting against could be people who are speaking the truth in love to them, and they don’t want to hear it, and so they are fighting against them. And I say “hate,” because God says hate is the same as murder.
Sometimes the situation is like Cain and Abel, and the one who knows he is doing wrong hates and is resentful of the one who is doing right, and who has God’s approval. And so the one doing wrong will plot evil against the one who is doing right because of jealousy and resentment and bitterness. For sin does not like righteousness, and the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit is against the flesh. So, those who are walking according to the flesh while claiming Jesus as their Savior may end up hating and doing evil against those who are walking in obedience to the Lord.
And this is a heart issue. The Scriptures teach that these things come from what is stored up in our hearts. If the passions of the flesh are what are stored up in our hearts, that is what is going to come out. But if you know you are not living right, and you are around people who are, you probably are not going to feel comfortable being around them, and so you may devise ways to try to destroy them or to cause them to fall into sin, and in order to silence them so that you can keep on in your sinful quest without hindrance. And that is because you are not really trusting God with your lives.
James 4:4-6 ESV
“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”
If you are professing faith in Jesus Christ while you are living to fulfill the passions of your sinful flesh, you are adulterous, because you are professing that you are in a marriage relationship with Jesus Christ while you are really married to your flesh, or while you are cheating on God with the passions of your flesh. For you are on friendly terms with the world but not with your Lord, but you are at enmity with God, instead, even though you may claim that you are in fellowship with him and that he is the one you worship.
And let me interject here why this is the case. Jesus Christ, God the Son, died on that cross so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died so we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who died and rose again. Jesus shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now honor God with our bodies. And Jesus put sin to death with him on that cross that we might be crucified with him in death to sin and be raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23]
So, if we continue to live in sin, we are living the opposite of the purpose for why Jesus died, and in opposition to the message of the cross and to the message of our salvation from sin. It would be like your spouse marrying you only for him/her to keep on having romantic relationships with others which may also turn sexual. That is not in accord with the marriage vows or with the purpose of marriage where the two are to become one flesh. So, although there is a profession of marriage, a real marriage does not exist.
So, the injured spouse would rightfully be jealous of his/her spouse being with “other lovers,” and would have every right to call the adulterous spouse an adulterer, and to speak the truth in love to that spouse, and to desire that the wayward spouse would reject the other lovers and would now be faithful to the marriage vows. And pride is a major factor in wayward spouses and wayward “Christians” continuing in sin without repentance.
James 4:7-10 ESV
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
So, what’s the remedy to it all? We, as Jesus’ bride, are to submit ourselves to God/Jesus. We must resist the devil. He will flee, but not for forever. He will keep coming back and trying again, so we have to consistently resist him and not let up. And then we need to draw near to God, and he will draw near to us. And this means we need to listen to him and obey him and follow him where he leads us, and then we have true fellowship with him.
And then we need to cleanse our hands (our deeds) and purify our hearts. Now, we can’t do this in our own flesh. Behavioral modification only goes so far, and if the heart is still bent on sin, the sinner will go right back to his/her sin. We have to repent of our sins and we have to turn from them, in the power of God, and we must then turn to the Lord to follow in his ways. But that must also be done in the strength, power and wisdom of God.
And we must cease to be double-minded, confessing Christ as our Savior and Lord while we live in sin and habitually are giving in to that sin, and while we are resisting God instead of resisting the devil, if this is where we are. That must stop! And we must now choose to be faithful to our Lord and to walk in his ways. But first we must truly grieve over our sins. If we don’t grieve over our sins, and if we are not truly sorrowful over our sins, then we can’t really change, because the heart is not in the right place to change.
So, we must humble ourselves before God, repent of our sins, resist Satan (the devil) and follow our Lord in surrender and in obedience. And we must do this every day in the power of God as we cooperate fully with God’s work of grace in our lives.
And the same is true if you are cheating on your spouse. You must submit yourself to the authority of God over your life. You must let go of that pride, humble yourself, be broken about your sin, and be genuinely repentant. Then you must resist the devil and draw near to the Lord in truth every day. And you must obey the Lord consistently and habitually in his strength and power in doing what his word teaches you ought to do to love God and to love others, especially your spouse. Then your marriage will be healed, as well.
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.