“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war with your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3
EBOLA. EBOLA. EBOLA. EBOLA. EBOLA. EBOLA. EBOLA. EBOLA. Bad. EBOLA. EBOLA. EBOLA. EBOLA. EBOLA. EBOLA. Coming to a city near you. EBOLA. EBOLA. EBOLA. EBOLA!!!!
Get the picture yet? A deadly disease is in our midst. Thanks to the network and cable news talking heads, the airwaves have been filled with little else but this crisis du jour. One man dies in Dallas, and the world is ending. Thousands die from the impact of obesity, cigarettes, alcohol, automobile accidents, and abortion in our nation, and the media can’t find the bodies. But I digress.
I have a word to the wise, if you please. Cut off any dangerous disease at the source. Don’t let people who have it, spread it. Wipe it out. Class over.
The Book of James reminds me that the early church was a hospital for sinners. The leadership took very seriously the spread of deadly diseases like “quarrels and conflicts” among the people. They warned everybody to cut them off at the source.
“Quarrels and conflicts” spread through The Body of Christ like terminal cancer, and must be cut off at the source. Every member of The Body must rid their hearts of “lust and envy” or there will be a break out of “quarrels and conflicts” in the church. These fleshly expressions are a far cry from what the doctor ordered: The Fruit of the Spirit.
For over six decades, I have watched churches tear themselves apart over issues that ranged from the insane to the mundane. One of these Sunday night bouts was scheduled when I was 10 years old. It was a knock down, drag out fight over purchasing either a used or a new piano. The two sides were soon punch drunk, but the fight would not end. I kept squirming in my pew like a Chihuahua on a hotplate. I wanted to stand up and shout, “I’m missing ‘Bonanza!’” “Little Joe” has long since ridden off into the sunset, but the worship wars continue.
Though the word pray is not used specifically in this passage of Scripture, the message is there. Ask is very clear, but at the very least it implies that there is an option to “quarrels and conflicts” and “lust and envy.” It should sound very familiar. Jesus still invites His followers to come to Him and ask.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7
“Whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” John 15:16
Note to Self: When your personal pleasures become personal preferences, any spirit of deference is choked out of your heart, and the Body of Christ. “Lust and Envy” ride into town, one issue at a time. They are The Source of “Quarrels and Conflicts.” When you pray, you cut them off at the pass, and invite Jesus to step in and take over. He is all you need. As Texans say, “One Riot. One Ranger.” TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!