Today you should read: James 4:1-5
Church conflict and drama is tough. By God’s grace we have not seen much in our 9 years as a church at CPC but if you’ve ever been a part of a church split or see a mass exodus of people you love then you know how hard it can be. Although CPC hasn’t experienced anything of that nature, we have probably still seen our fair share of church drama and today’s passage shows the root of that conflict.
In fact, James starts the chapter off by asking, “What causes quarrels and causes fights among you?”
He then seems to list off a plethora of answers such as…
- Desires at war within you (v. 1)
- Desires you want but cant have (v. 2)
- Coveting (v. 2)
- Not asking for what you want (v. 2)
- Asking with wrong motives (v. 3)
- Cheating on God (v. 4)
- Friendship with the world (v. 4)
And obviously all of those above answers can easily start quarrelling and fighting within the church body because they are all sin that us Christians still struggle with. However, without ignoring the list above, I’d point our attention to a certain word that is mentioned 15 times in these 5 passages. This word is not always but certainly most often the root of these problems. That word is “YOU.” Yes, “YOU.” Before you leave us a nasty comment below, please read those five passages and highlight each time it says “You” or “Your” and then reread the above list. How often do we look back at church splits over something that seems harmless as church carpet colors or worship music styles to the heavier stuff like gossip/slander and moral failures where your sinful flesh didn’t play a part in the above scenarios? Take the first two examples. Is carpet color and preference in music style truly worth division in the church body No but it becomes it because we put our selfish desires over what’s best for the mission and others at times. Gossip/slander is either started or fed by us or not stopped by us and although quarrelling/division may not have started with our own personal moral failure it is usually snowballed into church splits/mass exoduses when “you” make people into idols, covet, etc. Jesus loves the church and sacrificed Himself for the church but the church will still be messy. A big part of that mess is taking the log out of our own eyes so that we can learn to help, give grace, forgive, use church discipline and hold others accountable without selfish motives we may be blind to or that is putting gas on the fire.
Be encouraged that the last verse (v. 5) reminds us that our God is a jealous God who wants to take us and the world that we may still be attracted to out of the picture so that we can devote all of our love and devotion to Him, not leaving room for conflict among us. That can’t happen, no matter how much he loves us, if “YOU” are standing in the way. Maybe you’re going through something right now with some people or someone at CPC and this is God reminding you to look back at your motives and actions in the conflict right now and examining how “YOU” may play a bigger part in it then you noticed before today’s Scripture. If so, please cheat on your jumpstart schedule and read the rest of ch. 4, making things right the way God prescribes in the next several passages
Posted by: Erik Koliser