Sunday, October 14, 2012

Desires and Destruction

Desires and Destruction


What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” – James 4:1

I must have been about 12 years old when it happened, and yet I can remember it to this day.  I was sitting in the pew, probably playing tic-tac-toe with a friend to pass the time while the church business meeting was going on.  Then all of a sudden there’s shouting from two women, and their husbands start shouting at each other, and I just felt scared.  Sitting there in a church that was supposed to “love one another even as I have loved you”, apparently something wasn’t right.  What was it all about?  They were arguing over the color of the new songbooks they were going to buy because one thought the color would clash with the carpet! 
Sometimes we can get so caught up in getting our way and so stubborn in our fight to be right that we completely fail to examine if the fight is worth it.  Church arguments like this are often fueled by an underlying side-taking, where one side is formed against another.  Side “A” will gather in the corner of the church and talk about side “B”, and vice versa.  There will be a phone call from a B’er to another B’er about side “A”.  The next thing you know, you have a church quarrel worthy of selling circus tickets to see! These quarrels are what split churches, wound friends, and break apart families. 

The same thing goes on in many homes.  Growing up my house wasn’t quiet by any means.  My family was very vocal about their opinions and that would often result in fussing and bickering.  I remember going to a friend’s house one Sunday afternoon and actually asking her if her family was mad because they weren’t shouting at each other.  Her mom and dad were busy in the kitchen making lunch, and it was quiet.  I actually thought something was wrong because their conversation it wasn’t measurable on a decibel scale!

Quarrelling, fighting, bickering and fuming can tear apart the peace that Jesus came to give.  They wrench at your heart as strong words are used.  Words are said that will never be forgotten, relationships are broken, and bridges are burned that cannot be rebuilt.
James tells us in Chapter 4 verse 1 that quarrels come from our desires.  He goes on to list the desires that lead to several sins, listing lust, coveting, adultery, and even murder.  But then in verse 7 he gives us the solution and says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 

Do you realize that when you are quarrelling, in church, home, or elsewhere, you are not submitting to God?  Do you realize that in fact, you’ve become the devils tool?
Our desires are at the root of all our problems.  That’s right, ALL of them.  James 1:14-15 says, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by HIS OWN DESIRES and enticed. Then, when DESIRE has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Desire leads to sin, and it then stands then to reason that desires give way to sickness.  James 5:16 links sin to sickness saying Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, THAT YOU MAY BE HEALED.”  Consider that.  Your desires that fuel your disagreement and your sins bring you physical harm!

To remain at peace in this world of chaos, we have to crucify our desires with the flesh. The new creature that we become through salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17) should desire only one thing: to bring glory to God.  Galatians 5:24 says And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  If God is your Master, your desires cannot rule over you.  The throne only has one seat!
Matthew 16:24-25 says “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”  You cannot follow Christ and not deny yourself and your desires.  Your desires have to change!  You have to desire only to glorify God in all you do, doing His will instead of your own.  You can’t desire to be right all the time, to be heard all the time, to be first all the time, or be even liked all the time.  But God’s word also says in Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”  Desiring Him will end up pleasing your heart more than winning the argument. 

So the next time you’re in one of these quarrels, stop, think about what you’re fighting for, think of the destruction that can follow, and ask yourself one question. What would God want?

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