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. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Comment: It seems hard to believe that this was written to Christian people. Here we read of the practices which were still apparently happening in the church. I trust that they were extreme examples, and maybe even by imposters! Remember, however, how far the godly king David sank into rottenness in the matter of Bathsheba and Uriah. But the gospel offers forgiveness and a new covenant with God – it calls for change but doesn’t offer instantaneous transformation. Remember that it does call for change.
Here are listed quarrelling, fighting, evil desires, murder, adultery, friendship with the way of evil. What a shattering list! But note well that, while calling their behaviour for what it is – evil – God promises His Spirit, and Grace to those who seek Him humbly. This is a very sad comment on what some ‘believers’ sink to. It is, sadly, often true as the media delights in putting on the front page. Thank God for the change He does work in us gradually. And remember in the beginning of this book of James, he speaks powerfully about how real faith is associated with true character change and good works.
Prayer: Thank you for Your forgiveness, but, Oh my God, I would be living a pure and honest life before You! Please work in me to that end.