What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 James 4:1-3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Envy – a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another
Covet – to desire wrongfully and without regard for the rights of others
Ungrateful – to not appreciate or be thankful; a disregard for blessing
Motive – something that leads, inspires or prompts a person to action
As I am reading thru James 4, I notice that this chapter opens with a rhetorical question; “what causes” is quickly followed up with some various answers. James asks me the question, but then he gives me the correct answers without affording me the chance to offer up excuses, justifications, or explanations. I do this with my kids from time to time. I save it for those moments when I have come to the point where I don’t want us to “discover” truth together; instead it is a time when the truth just needs to be stated so that we can get past negotiate and move on to accept and embrace.
To envy, to covet, to be ungrateful – these are not things that please you God. Usually when these things trip me up it is because my focus is on others and not on you God. You know me God, so you know that it’s not the “stuff” that trips me up – I really don’t care much about cars, computers, or gadgets. It’s the relationship stuff that gets me every time. I let Satan sit on my shoulder and whisper lies in my ear, and I listen instead of running to your truth. I let my feelings get hurt over things that do not matter, and I make things that are not at all about me morph into some strange type of personal attack or exclusion. I get possessive over things that were not mine to begin with. I start to use the word “I” a bunch. Why did that good friend of mine call that other good friend of mine and not me to share that burden? Why is that person in charge of that and not me? Why don’t I get to do this thing or that thing …for your kingdom God…any more? Why are You God, making me do this thing that is scary, new and uncomfortable when I could be doing that other thing…for You God…that is easy and unstressful for me?
And then there is the whole motives thing…great. It’s not about me; It’s not about what I want; It’s not about what I think would be best. Who am I?
Abba, I want you to be what motivates me. I want my actions, my thoughts, my words to be pleasing to you. I want to trade my vision for yours, I want to pray “not my will but thine” and mean it. I want to be grateful for the blessings, the gifts and the opportunities that You have given to me for Your purpose. Help me to not focus on what you have given others that I do not have – turn my eyes toward You and the tasks You have created for me. Help me to sincerely rejoice in the blessings of those around me. Help me to see every “God moment” that you send my way. Silence the noise and make your voice clear. Make me bold for You. Make me an encourager to those You put on my path. Today I want to make You smile. Amen