“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.
…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…”” (Excerpts from James 4:1-3, vs. 5b-6)
Conflict is necessary, even beneficial. Conflict also sucks. It can bring out the best in me and the worst in me. A lot of the time it is because I am so conflicted in what to do. Should I be bold? Should I be meek? What does being wise look like? What does humility look like?
How do I keep from being a double minded man, unstable in all his ways? (James 1:8)
Reader: I can candidly say I have a very large problem right here. If I had a list of all the faults in my Walk, resolving conflict would be right towards the top most days.
Why is that? Hanging out my heart for all to see the first word that comes to mind is: Chicken.
I would like to wallow in self-righteousness by saying I am “searching my heart”, “confessing selfishness or covetousness”, “wanting to be found humble instead of prideful.” Facts are that I could legitimately be doing all of the above—except most times it winds up for me being the easiest thing—doing nothing.
The bluntness of James is right here: Quarrels? Fights? Why: Because my passions (desires) are at war within me. I want and do not have; this lights the fire of quarrels and a quarreling heart.
But is wanting or having desires a bad thing? Nope. But the scripture here is clear: If I want something I should make sure that I am asking for something God wants to give me. That would be a Yes! Something I am not sure about? That would be a Maybe. Something that my pride is dictating to want? That would be a No.
If I want to be a disciple then when I seek God and get an answer I am uncomfortable with, I can’t send it back for a second opinion. Boldness starts at the house of God surrounded by folks we know, not by strangers out in the world.
I don’t want to end this posting with anyone thinking I have it all together with some so spiritual sentence. I don’t have it all together; I am struggling with a particular situation and relationship that is causing turbulence in my soul—and it is mostly because I am chicken and cannot see a favorable outcome. Doesn’t matter: As a disciple I am called to obedience to do what He would have me do—not to obtain a particular outcome. Outcomes, good or bad, belong to our God alone.
Father, my heart is quivering within my chest. If it were up to me I would kick the conflict to the side of the road and wait it out. I still don’t know if that is the right thing to do only because it would suit my sensibilities first and foremost—is it your direction to do that? My chicken fear rings in my ears too loudly for me to hear. Therefore, I must be obedient to Your Word and in faith step out in confidence. Have mercy on me O God. AMEN.