WHAT LEADS to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members?
You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask.
[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures. James 4:1-3 (AMP)
Have you ever noticed two infants playing together? Each will be given a toy but will eventually start fighting over one of them. Why? Because one of the children thinks that what the other has is better than their own. When we grow up nothing changes. We still want what others have because we think what they have is better. We envy the guy next door because he has a Mustang GT and all we have is a Toyota. We envy our friends because we think they seem to have a better spouse than we do. We forget that God has blessed us with exactly what we need.
Another thing children will do is say things like; "My dad can beat up your dad!" or "My house is bigger than your’s! Nah! Nah!" or "I have more toys than you do!" In saying these things the child is trying to make the other jealous as well as boost his own ego. Nothing really changes when we get older. Getting older doesn’t always mean you get wiser. You have all seen the bumper sticker, "He who has the most toys when he dies wins!"
Human nature without God loves one-upmanship. It tickles our flesh to think that we are better than others at certain things or to show others up. In the workplace there are those who will stop at nothing to get to the top, even if they have to destroy lives to do it. We also love to see others fail, especially when they may have the same gifting or talent we have. We want what they have or the position they have and think we could do a better job than them if given a chance. Hard to believe it but these things exist in the church today as well. They have existed from the beginning as the portion from James testifies to.
It is also why churches have trouble working together. They are territorial and feel threatened when a new church opens in their city or town or a church in the same city has a program that seems to be more effective than some they have in their own. We should rejoice when another church opens. The first thing that should be done is to approach that new church and establish ties with them. But so many churches want to continue building their little kingdoms and afraid to do that lest they lose some of their members to that new church.
We are told to think highly ourselves. For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. Romans 12:3 (AMP) This is not an option. It is the only way to satisfy God.
Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves]. Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 (AMP)
How many of us actually follow the above verse. Imagine if everyone put that verse into practice the harmony we would have in the body. Unfortunately it is not the case. We who are more mature should know better and help those who are young in Christ and struggle in this area. We need to be honest with ourselves in this. We need to examine our every motive. Is it for our benefit or for the benefit of others? Many times it is because we try to meet our own needs or make our own paths. Jesus told us that if we take care of the things of the kingdom He would take care of us. Matthew 6:25-34
Remember also that with the church, it was never meant to be the way it is today. There are so many denominations and factions within the body. Jesus’ last prayer in John chapter 17 was for us, the body. That we would be one as He and the Father are one. We have failed miserably. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t work to change things. If you believe that Christ who was in the very nature God, lived, was crucified and rose from the dead after three days as a ransom for our sins, we have the basis for that relationship.
But our greatest driving factor needs to be love. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 1 John 3:11 (NKJV)
I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves]. John 13:34-35 (AMP)
Love must be the one thing that guides us in all we do. Without it we become just noise and we lose the harmony God desires for us. Let’s put away the childish things. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (AMP) Let’s grow up and stop thinking that what somebody else has is better than what we have. Be satisfied in all things. God knows what you need and has given you the gifts and talents that are unique to you. What’s most important is not how others see you or how you see yourself, It is how God sees you.
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