September 08, 2023 – Friday
James 4:1-3 NIV
1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 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 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
James 4:1-3 NET
1 Where do the conflicts and where do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this, from your passions that battle inside you? 2 You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask; 3 you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions.
James 4:1-3 NKJV
1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
There are three versions of these three verses above. I like all three, but I like the NKJV best, but the other two provide some real depth as we look at how the words in the verses might be translated. There is no way to truly say one is more accurate than the other. We would have to goes back to the Greek transcripts and be able to read and understand the Greek including how the words were used some 2,000 years ago.
The NKJV gives these verses and following verses the title Pride Promotes Strife. The NET (New English Translation) gives us the title Passions and Pride while the NIV gives us the title Submit Yourselves to God. All of the titles are extra-biblical, that is they are not in the original text, they are added as headings to help one prepare for what they are about to read or to describe what lies ahead. Both the NKJV and the NET provide a title about what lies directly ahead in our verses for today while the NIV reaches further into the chapter looking at verse seven, one of my life verses, 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. This verse tells me we will have little or no success resisting the devil unless we submit ourselves first to God.
Returning to the verses, looking first at verse 1, 1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? James clearly describes the strife between Christians with the words, wars and fights. These also describe the internal wars and fights we have within ourselves. Whether internal or external the battles are often bitter and severe. The cause of these wars and fights always has some root of carnality, regarding the lusts of the flesh or of the spirit.
Then in verse 2 we have, 2 You desire and you do not have; you murder and envy and you cannot obtain; you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask; where lust may be substituted for desire. Were you surprised by the word murder? I was, but it links us back to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:21-22, 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brothr without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ [empty head in Aramaic] shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. When our verse says Yet you do not have, this points to the vainness of a life lived for pleasures. Such a life is never fulfilling. And of course, we do not ask for those things we know God would not approve.
And in verse 3 we have, 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Sometimes we will ask for things we know God does not approve of because we simply covet it so greatly. But this is but one thing, a selfish and greedy prayer. These prayers are asked of God with nothing but selfish motives. Go back to Matthew 6 and read through the Lord’s Prayer, there is nothing selfish there. There is no attempt to convince God to do our bidding. There is only needed requests to help us to walk in ways that please Him while seeking His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Bottom Line: How we live and how we pray as Christians determine whether or not God listens to our prayers. After reading these verses we can recognize when our pride is leading us instead of our desire to follow Jesus.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Once again thank You for providing insight for us so that we may more often live our lives in a way that honors and glorifies You and not ourselves. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton