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...
In the last part of chapter 3 of James, we studied about the difference in the wisdom of the world and the wisdom that is from above. One is earthly, unspiritual and demonic. It is caused by jealousy and selfish ambition, bringing about disorder and every vile practice.
In chapter 4 he asks us a question and answers it with another question.
"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you?"
Some answers we might give:
- He hurt my feelings.
- She always grabs all the attention.
- He managed to get the whole inheritance and left me with nothing.
- Your answer here:
James responds with, "Is it not this, that your passions [Greek: pleasures] are at war within you?" It is very difficult to fill in the blank with a statement that justifies quarreling and fighting over the things that we selfishly desire. The seeking of pleasure, in whatever form it rears its ugly head, can be a devastating thing.
Our thought for the day: Who has more joy in life?
- The one who wars with the passions, or pleasures of life, desiring what he does not have, coveting what others have, hanging on to the world's wisdom which promotes jealousy and selfish ambition?
- Or the one who has the wisdom of God which is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere?