What makes you mad?
Do you ever wonder what causes fights and quarrels between you and others? Some of you may be saying, “No, I know exactly what causes fights and quarrels between me and others, they are so stubborn.” It is easy and most of us are quick to cast the blame at the feet of others. We naturally assume that fault lies somewhere other than with us. The other person will just not listen. He is so opinionated. She always has to be right. Everything always must be about them.
In James 4:1-3 we find these words regarding fighting and quarreling with others,
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?
2 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.
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
(Jas. 4:1-3 ESV)
James tells us that fighting, and quarreling are a result of warring passions. Each of us wants what we want. Internally, we each have desires and are seeking to fulfill those desires. Any delay in fulfillment, any hinderance to those desires is taken as an offence. It is a personal assault that must be met with quick retaliation. A wife desires to be heard by her husband so she publicly shames him with a comment in front of friends to which he responds with harsh criticism. Both children want the same toy, so they hit, push, or even bite one another in order to obtain their desire. A student desperately wants to be part of the popular crowd, so he belittles another student.
James says we have these desires and they are not obtained so we murder. We seek to harm others. We covet. We want the respect that others get. We want someone else’s job or success. We want the intelligence the other student has. We want these things, but we cannot obtain them, so we fight and quarrel. We want to share our day, but our spouse only wants to share his. So, we fight and quarrel. We want ten minutes to ourselves and no one will let that happen. So, we fight and quarrel.
James goes on to tell us that we do not have because we do not ask and when we do ask, we only do so that we can spend it on our passions. In other words, we do not ask God to provide and when we do ask him to provide, we do so in order to get what we want. We do not ask in order for God to be glorified or for the good of the other person. We simply ask so that our desires will be satisfied.
So, what causes fights and quarrels among you?
The next time you are ready to fight to get your way stop and ask yourself, “What am I wanting right now?” Are you wanting to please self or please God?
By His Grace Alone,