Thad Puckett, a long-time friend of both my husband and me, joins Hungry For More today. Thad is an avid blogger at Thad’s Thoughts and my go-to for techie updates and questions.
Honest, experienced and truly in love with our Lord, Thad takes us into the reality of James 4. As he grapples with the Word, we find ourselves doing the same. Let’s join him, shall we?
Why do you fight and argue with each other? Isn’t it because you are full of selfish desires that fight to control your body? You want something you don’t have, and you will do anything to get it. You will even kill! But you still cannot get what you want, and you won’t get it by fighting and arguing. You should pray for it. (James 4:1-2)
How many times have you found yourself in conflict with someone you love, someone you care for, someone you’ve committed your life to, only because you have an unexamined selfish trait? Maybe I am the only person this has ever happened to, but I never fail to be amazed when I confront the worst sides of who I am.
Selfishness is the sneakiest of traits, and causes, according to James, all manner of fights and arguments.
But why is it sneaky?
On the one hand, being aware of yourself in the context of your surroundings has definite advantages. You can avoid all manner of problems by simply being aware of ourselves in our contexts.
But when we don’t pay attention closely enough to what our impact is and to the reasons why we do what we do, or say what we say, we run the risk of putting ourselves first.
Even when we do that unconsciously it can lead to problems, sooner or later.
That’s why the message in James 4 is important. We absolutely have to maintain a right perspective of ourselves in terms of relationships with others, but also in terms of sorting out why we do what we do.
James has the key for us if we are to get past selfish desires: pray.
Seems simple, doesn’t it? But we don’t do nearly enough of it. We’ll complain (about what we don’t have) and connive (in order to get what we don’t have) and cajole (others, in order to get what we don’t have), but we forget too many times to do the one thing that gives us God’s perspective on our situation: prayer.
When we pray first, we avail ourselves of God’s perspective on our situation. The result? We see our selfish traits with clarity.
When we are able to see ourselves as God sees us, we are in a position to grow, and avoid what verse 1 warns us about. But, and this may seem counter-intuitive, by seeking God, we can actually get the thing we were seeking in the first place.