Coveting Causes Conflict. James 4:1-3.

May 16th, 2009

James 4:1-3.

4:1.  Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
 4:2.  You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
 4:3.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Covetting Causes Conflict.

Now there's a concept to stop and think about. Have you ever wondered where a war begins? What is it that causes any conflict, from the tiniest disagreement with someone to a full blown war. James associates the covetting and murder. This talking to Christians and their treatment to other Christians, but it could also apply to the world at large.

Sometimes we see that some other church member has something. Maybe a new dress, maybe a fancy new study bible, maybe they are doing well teaching that new Sunday School class, maybe they have anicer car, or just seem to be a little to smug or something. Whether they are better or not, only God knows for sure. Our perception causes to desire that we want to be that way, to have that thing. So a cold shoulder is turned, a snippy statement is made, maybe a word or two of gossip is planted. In short we start acting like little kids, bickering over who did what to who, and who started it.

I remember during more than one long trip to grandma's house in the back of our station wagon. My brother and I would be bickering. Even as huge as that station wagon back seat was, and as small as we were, you just need another inch of space. "Mon! He's touching me! He's on my side of the seat! Make him stop! You started it. Did not. did so." Repeat those last two until mom goes nuts and does something about it.

All I wanted was just a little more space. Or to be left alone in my own space. That's all I wanted, but couldn't have it. I let covetting and lust for what I couldn't have fester until it broke out in a small scale war. By the time mom stepped in, it usually ended in hurt feelings... well, hurt bottoms.

It might have been avoided. James says that we don't have because we didn't ask. While traveling , space in a car is limited, but in our station wagon, we did have a third seat in the cargo area. I could have asked, and mom might have let me hop over the seat to let me have my own space. If I never asked for it, I would probably not receive it.

Sometimes the thing we ask for just isn't in God's plan for us. It might be an entirely good thing, but just not one that best uses our tallents. I once heard a bible teacher tell of how he had dreams of being an evangelist on par with Billy Graham, bringing the gospel message to large numbers of people around the world. A good and noble thing to hope for. For this teacher, it just wasn't happening that way. He came to the point of asking God, being told no, and accepted that God doesn't want him to be a global evangelist. He was able to focus all his energies into being the best bible teacher that he could be.

Bottom line. Rather than letting jealousy, conflict, and ill feelings towards others over things we don't have ruin our lives. Ask it from God, that's all it takes. He will give it. If God doesn't give it to you, it's time to do some self evaluation. Do we want this because of our own pride? Accept what God has granted to you and put your natural tallents to work in it.

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