1 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. — James 4:1-3 NIV
Let’s think back over the last few “discussions over differences” that we have had with a loved one, an acquaintance or someone ever the phone. In what percentage of the statements that we made, did the word “I” come up? Were our thoughts, desires, and words based on “just judgment” or on our fleshly desires? Were we seeking justice or desiring to convince the other person(s) involved that we were right and they were wrong? Or, if we are honest, were we just wanting to have it “our” way? If we just wanted to have it our way, that is pride and we were more than likely wrong and just didn’t want to admit it. When these “discussions over differences” get a little ugly, the flesh desires to kill and we satisfy that desire by using unkind and hurtful words. Those words kill relationships. We covet the approval of our opinions from the other(s) involved in the discussion. so, we try to change their minds with our gift of persuasion. Instead, we should understand our limitations and ask God to change the minds of the ones who are wrong, accepting the fact that that might be us and not the others. If we truly want God to answer our prayers (and He always does), then we need to be ready to accept the answer He gives. Because the passage ends with the words “that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”, we tend to limit it to mean money. But, it applies to more than possessions and money, it also applies to time and talents. Are we using the time, talents and possessions that we have now for the glory of God? We need to remember that all these “things” are really God’s anyway, they are just on loan to us and we could lose them quickly. Before we ask God for anything, we should be sure that what we are desiring will bring glory to His name.
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. — Col. 3:17 NIV