Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Look at James 4: Resolving Conflict

Submit Yourselves to God

Verses 1-10
These verses address you as a person
(Message: Conflicts are resolved only through submission to God.)

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. 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.

You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."

Verses 11-12
These verses talk about dealing with a brother in Christ or your neighbor
(Message: Judgment belongs to God alone.)

"Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you — who are you to judge your neighbor?"

Boasting About Tomorrow

Verses 13-17
These verses talk about choosing God's will for the future over your will
(Message: Living with a surrendered attitude to God's will is the right attitude. The future belongs to God. You are not omniscient (all-knowing), so don't try to live as if you were.)

"Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

Conclusion: The way to overcome conflict, judgmentalism and self-centeredness is to submit to God's will. If we don't submit to God, we will have strife and conflict in our life.


-Who are you having conflict with in your life right now?

-Why are you not submitting to God to deal with this conflict?

-What person are you judging? (Note: Judging is different from discernment. Judging = condemning. Discerning = Recognizing the difference between right and wrong, and wanting the best for that person.)

-Why are you judging their actions? What sin or action are you judging?

God basically says, 'You can't love Me and treat your brother wrong.'

-By whose plan are you living out your life?

-What is God's will for your life?

-What is it that God has called you to do that you are refusing to do?

So, why is it that you have conflicts with other people? Because you are not humble and you are not submitting to God.

Note: A surrendered Christian who is following Christ and spreading the gospel through evangelism will face conflict from the world [system], the flesh[ly desires] and the devil. James 4 is not talking about this.

No comments: