1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.
James changes his tone as a new chapter begins. He is now beginning to talk about worldliness, living of this world. Our pastor teaches us that as Christians, even though we live in this world, we are not to live of this world. It’s quite obvious that the principles and concepts of life in the bible are contrary to the common workings of the world. To live of the Kingdom is to flip world views on their heads and live in a fanatical way. Christ was a fanatic. He was anti-religion and pro-love.
James is prefacing his points here with a few points to ponder. I believe that when we hear or see the word “lust” we automatically put a sexual connotation on it. Granted, it is the most obvious and easiest form to understand, but we must also recognize its global meaning. Lusting, as defined by a few online dictionaries, is an intense desire or craving. Can you think of other things that you have had an intense desire or craving for?
These brief points expose the inner evils of mankind. We get all worked up inside because we do not have what we desire. This is the spark that ignites the flame of lust and envy. These thoughts and desire twist within us and we grow unsettlingly evil against our fellow man…without cause or incident! How many times have we looked at another and hated them for one thing or another and they didn’t even wrong you? How easy is it to look at someone with disdain because for one way or another they are “better than you”? It’s never enough for us and it turns us against each other with sinful hearts and wicked thoughts.
Yet we forget that if we ask God to give us the desires He wants us to have, we will “lust” over that which is in accordance with His will. I know I just made someone wince…but follow me on this. If lust is an intense desire or craving, then why cannot we lust over that which is good? Why cannot we have a strong desire for pleasing God or giving Him credit? Why can’t we desire His will and crave to follow it? The world likes to tell us that following God is a life of dreariness where we zombie ourselves to church, tone out some psalms, get a good talking to, and go about our restricted lives. Yeah, I wouldn’t want to follow a God that calls us to do that either.
Thankfully, God calls us to enjoy life and tells us of blessings upon blessings we will receive if we follow Him. The enemy wants us to believe that following Christ is a life of doom, but in reality it is a life of freedom. Our lusting of worldly and fleshly things, things that when it comes down to it really don’t matter, creates a life of burden, hardship, pain, and suffering.
What do you lust after?