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  • Writer's pictureRICHARD DEAN BROOKS

Submit Yourselves to God

JAMES 4:1-3

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

4: 1-3   Quarrels and fights among believers are always harmful. James explains that these conflicts result from evil desires battling within us: We want more possessions, more money, higher status, more recognition. When we don’t get what we want, we conspire to have it. This shows why coveting is forbidden in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20: 17). It can lead people to kill in pursuit of their desires or in frustration over unfulfilled ones. While coveting can lead to murder, the killing James is referring to can also manifest as bitter hatred and backbiting (see Jesus’ words in Matthew 5: 21-22). Instead of aggressively pursuing what we want, we should submit ourselves to God, asking him to help us get rid of our selfish desires. Trust him to give you what you really need.

4: 2-3   James mentions the most common problems in prayer: not asking, asking for the wrong things, and asking for the wrong reasons. Do you talk to God at all? When you do, what do you talk about? Do you ask only to satisfy your desires? Do you seek God’s approval for what you already plan to do? Your prayers will become powerful when you allow God to change your desires so that they perfectly correspond to his will for you (1   John 3: 21-22).

4: 3-4   There is nothing wrong with wanting a pleasurable life. God gives us good gifts that he wants us to enjoy (1: 17; also see Ephesians 4: 7; 1   Timothy 4: 4-5). But having friendship with the world often involves seeking pleasure at others’ expense or at the expense of obeying God. Pleasure that keeps us from pleasing God is sinful; pleasure from God’s rich bounty is good.

4: 3-4   Why does James say that it is impossible to be a friend of the world and a friend of God at the same time? These two paths lead in opposite directions and to very different destinations. Friendship with the world leads to quarrels and fights (4: 1-3), materialism (1   John 2: 15-17), self-centered living (James 4: 3), and death (Proverbs 14: 12). The other path leads to faith, hope, and love (1   Corinthians 13: 13), the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23), and eternal life (John 3: 16).

Tyndale. NIV Life Application Study Bible

ON THE WAY HOME WALK WITH JESUS and make sure that walk is in submission to GOD!! by RICHARD DEAN BROOKS

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