From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?– James 4:1
Let’s face it, although we seldom want to, most of our problems are of our own making. This old adage is really true–“We are our own worst enemy!”. We live in a fallen world and by nature we tend to make ourselves miserable. Sadly, that nearly always affects others adversely. This short article from the “Baptist Bible Hour” hits the nail on the head:
Have grudges, or petty differences, or personality clashes been tearing at your church lately? Has your own love for the Lord, and his people, been diminished by some strife in the church in which you have taken sides?
Where do such body-breaking, unity-shredding difficulties come from? James answers rhetorically: the problems among you come from problems within you. Wars in the church result from unsuccessful wars inside your soul, James says. The strife and tension comes because of your unchecked desire for personal gain and pleasure.
Check yourself by James’ answer sheet. Does the bitterness in your heart come from pure motives and a selfless spirit, or does it come from wanting to get your own way? Have your words sought to edify and build up others, or have they been tools to tweak your own agenda?
The writer of Proverbs observes: “Only by pride cometh contention” (13:10), and James echoes that assessment. When we seek our own happiness and put ourselves first, the inevitable result is a clash with anyone who gets in our way.
Regardless of what genuine offenses or real grievances you may have suffered, surrender your case to Christ, pray for those who have opposed or injured you, and refuse to be drawn into a war with others in the church.