Lord, I want to live for You; I want to love and desire what You love and desire. Change my heart, that I wouldn’t be a friend of the world in any way. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read James 4
ENMITY WITH GOD?
Watch this 3-minute video explaining Sin as Contempt for God by Thabiti Anyabwile.
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James 4:1–12 “Friendship with the world is enmity with God” (4:4). What causes quarrels and fights in the church? Desiring the things of this world—better stuff, lofty reputations, the treatment we think we deserve.
In our jealousy and selfish ambition, we seek after the world and pray God will grant our wishes instead of satisfaction in His will. Yet “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (4:6). If we submit to God and resist the devil, the devil will flee and God will draw near. We do this through humble repentance and mourning our sin. We refrain from gossip; we refuse to tear down our brothers and sisters and leave it to God to judge. In the end, He will exalt the humble.
WHAT CAUSES FIGHTS AND QUARRELS?
James 4:13–17 In light of eternity, our lives are short. This passage offers a warning to businessmen, reminding them—and us—that we have no control over the future, so we should hold our plans lightly and trust the Lord to do what is best. In the meantime, we should seek to do the right thing, particularly toward others in the church (see Gal. 6:10).
1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?
- Examine your life: Do you tend to be quarrelsome or easily offended? After reading James, what do you think is at the heart of your quarreling? Perhaps take some time to recall your work on Heart Idols in an earlier discipleship activity where you used one of these articles or worksheets—20 Idol Crushing Questions, Identifying Personal Idols, or Identifying Idols—to prayerfully evaluate your heart and its idols. Discuss with your accountability partner, and think about a plan for growth. See this example, or this one for help with growth plans.
- If people with worldly desires cause quarrels and fights in the church, what kind of leaders should we look for in a local church?
- Are you too friendly with the world? Are you more familiar with the top 10 songs on the radio or the latest TV shows and movies than you are with the Word of God? Recognize the areas you need to submit to God and draw near to him and discuss with another believer.
- Reflect on any conflicts that you’re currently trying to sweep under the rug. What were the heart issues that caused your frustration? Confess any sinful attitudes, actions, or words to God. Seek counsel on any next steps needed, and journal your answers. For a longer resource see chapter 1 of Peacemaker by Ken Sande. [Healthy Relationships]