JUST DO IT: THE WINNABLE WAR
One thing that identifies us as children of God is our love for one another. In fact Jesus declares in John 13: 34-35 - "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." People will identify us as Christians, if our lives reflect our Father’s love. This love is forgiving, it keeps no record of evil, it is praying for those who hurt us, it is being kind and patient with others even when they are not. It is putting the needs of others before our own. It is a love that brings peace where ever it goes.
The concept of peace, however, seems to be foreign in our world. In the past 3,530 years, there have been only 286 years of peace. Over the same time period, more than 8,000 peace treaties have been made and broken. On a more personal level, there is very little peace in people’s lives. There is tension and strife in the home, at school, at work.
So why so much strife? Why can't people seem to get along? James 4:1-10 explains why:
1 - There is a war within us (James 4:1-3)
The root of the problem is inside of us. What starts quarrels, whether small or large is the pursuit of our own desires at the expense of others.
The Greek word for desires is where we get the word hedonism - which is the philosophy that teaches the pursuit of pleasure is the most important goal of human life. “I want it, so I must get it at any cost!”
You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. (V. 2)
Selfishness always destroys community. Me issues always becomes we issues. What’s in you, will come out of you, and what comes out of you, impacts those around you. And certainly that affects your faith and spiritual growth.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (V. 3)
Selfishness affects how we pray. Prayer then becomes a means for us to try and get the things we want, rather than glorify God. Prayer with the right motive does not say, “Lord, do what I want for me.” Instead it says, “Lord, do what You want with me.” Prayer is not getting my will in Heaven; prayer is getting God’s will done on Earth. Why you pray is more important than what you pray for.
2 - There is a war with above (James 4:4-5)
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (V. 4)
The church is the bride of Christ. When we choose to seek the pleasures of the world, we are unfaithful to God.
1 John 2: 15-17 says Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
Strategies to help us win the war within us and win the war with above.
1 - Submit to God
"Submit” is a military term and it means to give someone with superior rank the respect and authority that is due them. We must treat God in a way that honours Him as our Lord and Saviour. We should submit to the Lordship of Jesus as our Commander in Chief.
2 - Draw near to God
Draw near to God in worship, in prayer, and in living according to His Word. Drawing near to God helps us to become more like Christ: to speak well of other people and to obey His word.
3 - Repent of our sins
True repentance is when we realize that our selfishness, quarreling, fighting, and our worldliness not only hurts us but grieves our Lord and Saviour. True sorrow leads to true repentance which always leads to change.
4 - Resist the devil
Resisting the devil means standing against the devil’s deception and his efforts to intimidate us. Satan is a defeated foe. When you submit your life fully to God, draw near to Him, and repent of your sins, you can resist the devil, and he MUST flee from you (James 4:7)
The war within us and with above is winnable because of Jesus. We have no excuse as to why we can’t get along because of Jesus. We have the victory over our selfish nature because of Jesus. We have victory over worldly temptations because of Jesus.