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What happens outside begins on the inside. James offers us an example of that truth when he writes, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1) James makes the case that the fights and quarrels we have with our fellow believers can be traced to a battle, or war, that is going on inside of us.
What kind of battle is going on inside of us? Simply put, our selfish desires for our own pleasure are at odds with God’s will. That battle spills out into our relationships with other believers and results in fights and quarrels, ruined relationships, fractured marriages, and strained friendships.
So what is the solution? It is the same as any sin. You have to lose your pride and come back to God. James outlines a prescription that involves submission to the will of God, resisting the devil, pursuing an intimate relationship with God, and one more vitally important step.
James writes, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10) Humble people have seen themselves as they really are in the sight of God, have repented of sin, and are striving daily to become more like Jesus.
People who are at war with themselves because of selfish desires are always unhappy people. They never enjoy life and are always looking for that “something” that will magically change their lives. If they could only realize the real problem is within their own hearts and that a right relationship with God is the only real solution.
God has a promise for those who will humble themselves. The promise is that God will lift up the humble person. That promise is important because it is never God’s desire to put us down. It is sin that leads us down the path of death and destruction, not God.
God takes great delight in lifting up those who are humble. He has provided the solution. He waits to lift us out of the war that rages inside of us and spills out into our relationships with other believers. He provides and waits, but nothing will change unless we make the move.