Posted by: missionventureministries | March 22, 2018

SUBMIT YOURSELVES TO GOD – James 4:1-3

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? …You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3) 

Our prayer life or lack thereof reveals the focus of our heart. James is intensely practical and approaches the topic of answered prayer with realistic clarity and insight. When you do not receive what you pray for, do not be surprised look at your bad motives and why your request remains unheard. When you do this, the reason becomes painfully obvious, that you are egocentric and greedy, and this behavior obviously does not guarantee the fulfillment of such selfish requests. 

So often when we’re in a relationship conflict, we scheme, we tell our friends our side of the story, we go for counseling, we read self-help books on how to deal with difficult people, instead of taking the problem to God in faithful prayer. Maybe one reason that we fail to pray is that it’s hard to pray for someone and be upset with them at the same time. As sinners we want to justify our resentment by making the other person pay; and don’t want to let it go. But Jesus clearly taught that prayer is not to get our will done, but to get God’s will done, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Prayer is not so that we can use God; it is so that God can change us and use us for His kingdom. 

Jesus also taught, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7), He did not say, “Ask and it will be given to you instantly.” God may have good reasons to delay the answer. Often the delays strengthen and test our faith. He knows the right timing to answer. Our responsibility is to ask, and with correct motives. 

Our main reason for asking God to bring peace into our home or into some difficult relationship is so that God be glorified. Christ is not exalted by constant conflict but He is glorified when people crucify self and allow His love to flow through them, even toward those who treat them wrongly. Ask God for Him to be glorified in your relationships, and you will get the most amazing answers to your prayers. 

We need to come to the realization that the first step to resolve conflicts with others is to judge our own selfish motives. Wherever is happens, at home, work or church if we do not put to death our sinful, selfish desires, we will have war. People that behave in an inappropriate way are living in the flesh and not by the Spirit. So who do we want to please, ourselves or God? 

The decision to judge our own selfish tendencies is not optional for believers because Jesus said “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). 

It is a daily requirement to take up our cross because, “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Luke 9:24). So to the true believer, there is really no choice between pleasing oneself or pleasing God. When we live to please God by denying self, we will not only gain our life but also joy, peace and freedom. 

So, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?” (James 4:1). The way to resolve conflict with others is not to win the war. Rather, it is to wage war against those powerful forces that are waging war in our soul! We need to judge our selfish motives, daily put self on the cross, and we will move in the direction of peace in our relationships. 

The psalmist wrote: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18); therefore, we need to learn to abide in Christ and to submit our will and our desires to His Lordship in order to be able to know how and what to pray for. If we long to know the will of God, and to pray according to the purposes of God and in submission to His will then we will see our prayers answered. “But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer or His mercy from me!” (Psalm 66:19-20)

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