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Aug 02, 2020 | Randy Gunter

Why So Much Conflict Exists, Part 2

Why So Much Conflict Exists, Part 2

1 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. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:1-6 ESV)

Conflict with God: A friend of the world is an enemy of God.

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. (1 John 2:15-16 ESV)

See 1 John 2:2-6.

True Christians are friends of Jesus; they are indwelt by his Spirit and choose to walk in his way.  

People who are friends of God rather than friends with the world conclude the Apostle Paul, to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21 ESV). 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. (Philippians 1:22-24 ESV)

Today’s church needs to have such confidence and faith in Christ and his sovereign work in our daily lives. We need to focus on our mission and Christ’s return.

The Apostle Paul ministered during those same years. Although conflict persistently pressed against him, attacking him, chasing him, and attempting to kill him, peace and joy filled him. 11 …I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)

Paul models contentment. He reveals how to pursue a friendship with God rather than a friendship with the world.

 Our hope is in the return of Jesus Christ! Revelation 21:5 reveals our hope—when he who is seated on the throne of heaven says, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

Jesus is offering eternal friendship.

Conflict with self: Sinful passions and desires are insatiable and reveal internal brokenness. (James 4:1)

What is the source of internal conflict? According to the Bible, it is the passions that are at war within.

No one can live to satisfy their sinful passions and be at peace with God or others. 

Don’t be swayed by the lures and temptations of the world. Friends of God reject friendship with the world, and we are blessed by such choices. Don’t be discouraged; instead, build yourselves up in faith and prayer, resting in God’s love and awaiting his return. 

17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV)

18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. (Jude 1:17-21 ESV)

Your first step to freedom is to humble yourself before God and others. See James 4:5-7. 

Jesus can heal your spirit within.

Your first step to freedom and friendship with God is to come to him in the right way. See James 4:2-3.

Conflict with others: Broken enemies of God war against others.

The spillover of your inner war floods contentiously on other people. James explains this is the cause of quarrels and fights among you (4:1).


Jesus offers reconciliation and eternal victory and peace to the humble.

Series Information

An in-depth study of the book of James. 

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