This morning, I opened my email inbox to find a note from Jacqui B. She shared how after coming home from worship on Sunday, she had opened her daily devotional -only to find the exact same text as we just finished studing together. It’s it great that we have a God who cares for us enough that He’ll lovingly communicate His point in different ways so that we’ll ‘get it and live it’.
I asked Jacqui if I could pass what she read along to you. I pray these words will help you better understand and apply these important principles of James.
Humble Yourself to End the Argument by Rick Warren
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1 NIV)
As I talk with couples, one of the most common complaints I hear from people is, “We just can’t seem to get along. We argue so much. We love each other, so why is it we have major blowups over such minor issues?” I talk with parents who say, “With my kids there is constant tension. I don’t understand why we’re always in an argumentative mode.”
James doesn’t beat around the bush. Long before modern psychology came along, he had some profound insights on the cause of conflict. James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” James says that the cause of arguments is conflicting desires. When my wants conflict with your wants, the sparks are going to fly.
The Bible makes very clear that there are three basic desires we have that cause conflict: possessions, pleasure, and pride. These desires are legitimate and God-given unless they’re out of control. When you put them above other people and they become the most important things in your life, they will cause conflict.
So what is the cure for arguments? It’s one of the hardest lessons to learn: humility.
Grace is God’s power to change. What would you like to change about yourself? Whatever it is, you need grace to do it. What do you want to change about your relationships, your marriage, or your family? Whatever you would like to change, you can’t do it on your own. You need grace, and there is only one way to get it: You humble yourself. God doesn’t give grace to people who are full of pride and think, “I can do it on my own.” He gives it when we come and say, “God, I need your help.”
That’s where you get the power to make the changes you want to see.
Talk About It
Think about the last argument you had. Can you identify which of the three desires was the cause?
What one thing do you most want to change about yourself or your relationships? Do you believe that God’s grace can help you accomplish it?
How will your conversations and actions change today if you take a humble approach?