Text: — James 4:1-3 — 1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. [NIV84]
The Big Idea: Lifestyle worshipers, demanding our own way, using our temper to explode and intimidate is neither wise nor godly.
I am fascinated that James connects ‘fights and quarrels’ (to me a flaring temper) with our “desires that battle within” us (v. 1). It appears that these desires fuel our tempers, our anger. The Greek word for ‘desire’ is where we get our word “hedonism.” And, yes, it means the same thing: a profound sensual lust, which goes well beyond the sexual and apparently explodes into fights and quarrels.
Lifestyle worshipers, demanding our own way, using our temper to explode and intimidate is neither wise nor godly. It is, as James says of ‘earthly wisdom,’ “unspiritual, of the devil” (3:15). So one way to bridle our temper is to starve its fuel: harness, diminish or eliminate our sensual desires. What are some ways you have starved your temper’s fuel? Your thoughts?
Scriptures to Renew Your Thoughts
— 2 Timothy 2:23-24 (NIV84)
—1 Corinthians 13:3-5 (The Message)
—Proverbs 17:14 (NIV84)
Heavenly Father, by the shed blood of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and through His power, I confess that I have fueled my temper by lusting after _____________ (e.g. control and power). I have sinned grievously against You. I ask You, Lord Jesus Christ, to bear the consequences of my actions. Remove the pain and shame I have caused Your Name. Be that part of my life that has been disobedient and in bondage to this lust. I release myself into Your hands. In Your Name, Amen.