What is the source of conflict among you? What is the source of your disputes? Don’t they come from your cravings that are at war in your own lives? (James 4:1 CEB)
Far too often as Christians we live in the middle of a war zone. That’s bad enough, but what makes it an especially bitter pill to swallow is the fact we cannot deny, namely that we have no one to blame for the war but ourselves.
For many, this is the hardest part about being a Christian. The hardest part. Trust a God that can’t be completely understood? Lots of folks do that. Withstand mockery or abuse from folks who are antagonistic against Christian faith? Many do that. Resist a temptation that seems almost irresistible? I see it done all the time. All of this by the grace of God.
But to stay with a church over the long haul that is filled with systemic disputes and conflict? Well, let’s just say the casualty rate is horrific and the “collateral damage” is through the roof. It’s a tremendous challenge to survive in such a setting. Few can or will.
The ceaseless temptation in such an environment is to point the finger at others and then use the war and the gore as an excuse to walk away from it all. But James refuses to let us do so. He takes hold of our pointing finger and turns it right around at us and says, “Its your dispute. It’s your cravings. It’s your own selfishness that fuels the conflict. Deal with it.”
Where does all the conflict and disputes among you come from? It’s your own cravings, I tell you, that are the cause of the war (James 4:1 DSV)
Heavenly Father, by the grace of your Son, help me ever to deal with it; to deal with what I can. Me. Amen.