We are a Christian people. We all belong to the same God. Why is it, then, that so many times we feel as if we must slander one another in our own volition and according to our own conception (whether right or wrong)? If we are indeed God’s people, would it not make sense for us to act in a manner that would serve God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31) instead of publicly making fools of ourselves? In acting as we do, on many occasions, and making a scene in front of the public eye instead of solving matters privately, we hinder God’s work on this earth by drawing attention to ourselves rather than glorifying God.
What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from the cravings that are at war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires. Adulteresses! Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy. Or do you think it’s without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously? (James 4:1-5 HCSB)
If we, God’s people, are to live according to God’s Word, then we must always consult it before speaking out, making decisions and before making a public scene out of any private matter. James, Jesus’ half brother, asks the question, “What causes fights and quarrels” among God’s people? His conclusion: our own desires. We tend to fight our brothers and sisters because we want to fulfill our own desires. What does this implicate?
- When we fight with our fellow brothers and sisters, we focus on our own desires rather than the desires God has for us.
- When we war against our own family in Christ, we focus other people’s attention on what we want rather than what God wants.
- When we cause dissension within God’s Church, we put the focus of God’s Church on people rather than on God.
James refers to these types of people as adulteresses, not because he just feels like being malicious, but because he recognizes a serious problem within God’s Church. Since the fall, man’s initial rebellion against God, God’s people have always had the tendency to consider their own wants before asking God what He wants for them. No Christian is above doing this. How can we follow God and still otherwise fulfill the lust growing within our own bodies? We cannot.
James goes on comparing this type of attitude to being a friend of the World, which is at enmity with God Himself. He claims that if we choose to befriend this Worldly philosophy then we, yes even God’s people, act as an enemy of God. Now, I hope no one misunderstands, I do not believe that any one person can ever lose his or her salvation, but I do think that we can choose to act against the grace that God has offered to us and in doing so refuse some of that grace. Since God is just, He will eventually punish those who cause dissension.
As for us, God’s people. If we are to be followers of Christ, we must vow not to cause dissension within God’s Church. If a matter must be settled, settle it between the parties involved. If anyone ever has a matter to settle with me, I invite them to come talk with me personally, and I hope that anyone else would also be open to settle matters rather than make them worse.
One of the problems that this world has is that virtually every person thinks that he or she is right and everyone else is wrong about everything. Because of this line of selfishness and pride that wells up within us, we believe that if we are done wrong, the world wants and needs to hear about it. We expect handouts when we should have a willingness to work for what we have and we expect that everyone will agree with us because we think we are right. Here is the truth. The world does not care about our problems and prefers not to see our personal drama. The world is just as selfish as those certain people within God’s Kingdom and only wants to see itself in the spotlight. When we focus on ourselves, we not only alienate ourselves from the Christian community who is legitimately seeking God, but we also catapult ourselves into a world that doesn’t really care about us unless we have something to offer it.
For those who choose to cause dissension: please stop keeping people from seeing God by placing yourself in the way. That sort of action is an embarrassment to God’s Kingdom, and not only do we publicly make fools of ourselves, we drive the world away from Christ (which is the most important thing).