Just For Fun: Would you consider yourself a lover or a fighter? Why?

Scripture: James 4:1-12

This Sunday Pastor Ruben will be speaking about “DEALING WITH ARGUMENTS DURING TENSE TIMES.” Have you noticed that everywhere you turn these days there are arguments? Arguments about whether if it’s safe to start gathering at church or not. Arguments over wearing face coverings. In fact, just last week I was witness to one of these arguments at Natural Grocers. The same belligerent man was arrested a week later at the Walmart on Valley drive. Arguments about whether COVID-19 is real or just a conspiracy. Arguments over Republican or Democrat. Arguments over whether our next president will be President Trump or Joe Biden. And then the biggest argument of all that we face here in the Mesilla Valley, red or green?

In our text today James cuts to the chase and gets right to the point. Long before modern psychology he wrote his profound insight on The Root Cause Behind Most Arguments. In (v. 1) of or our text James writes, “What causes quarrels and fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? In the [NLT] it says, “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” James says that the cause behind most arguments is our unmanaged carnal impulses (desires). When my impulses (desires) conflict with your desires, sparks are going to fly.

I love what the late Congressman John Lewis said, “I believe in nonviolence as a way of life, as way of living." That sounds pretty idealistic doesn’t it? What can we do to live with a few less arguments? Consider these six steps.

  1. (James 4:7-8 a) “Submit yourselves therefore to God … Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

How can you draw near to God during COVID 19? How is that different from any other time? Currently, are you feeling close or distant to God? What do you think is the cause? If your feeling distant, what can you start doing today to draw closer?

  1. (James 4:7 b) “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (1 Peter 5:8 ) “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary (opponent, rival, enemy, opposer, antagonist, combatant) the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

“Resist” is a war term. It means to be prepared to stand your ground, to stand against your adversary. How does it make you feel to know that you have an adversary who wants to devour you? What measures have you taken, or can you take to be able to stand your ground against him?

  1. (James 4:8-9 ) “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.”

“Cleanse your hands” means confession, true repentance.  “Wretched” means miserable, unhappy, sad, heartbroken, grief-stricken and sorrowful.  Our repentance, true brokenness shows up physically.  When you ask for forgiveness does it usually involve such reactions?  What is your normal reaction?

  1. (v. 10) “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

How would you define humility?  What is it needed in order for God to exalt you?  How is humility seen in our lives?

  1. (v. 11) “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.  The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law.  But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.”

Why do you think James admonishes us about speaking evil against one another?  How good are you at honoring this?  Is there anyone that you wronged recently that you need to go to and ask for forgiveness?  Ask God to help you do what’s right.

  1. (v. 12) “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy.  But who are you to judge your neighbor?  (John 7:24 ) “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

How do these two verses, that seem to be in contradiction, actually complement each other?  How does “judge with right judgment” look in your life?  How would you address someone who would say that Christians are always judging others?

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