The Cause of All Wars
In James chapter 4 verse 1, James poses a million-dollar question, which pinpoints the leading cause of all the conflicts and wars that are going on right now. The question is, "What causes quarrels, and what causes fights among you?” This question has never been more critical than ever before in light of the recent incidents in Atlanta and Washington D.C. The answer to this question will ultimately solve all the conflicts, wars, and quarrels around us. Notice the phrase “among you” in verse one. This question is crucial to all of us because the context indicates that the answer to this question will solve all the quarrels and fights that happen in our life, in our family, in our church, in our school, in our neighbour, and even in our country.
I have been in a couple of fights and quarrels. For most times, the people in these fights see themselves as the victim, as the wronged, and they blame the opponents or the other side. Two-three weeks ago, I saw a quarrel, and one guy said, "Well, they started it. They taunted me first. They wronged me first. Therefore, I punch him.” Others blame not only their opponents but also their circumstances or their situation. Recently, a man gunned down 8 Asian women at a spa in Atlanta, GA because, I quote from the N.Y. times, "The suspect had a ‘sexual addiction’ and had carried out the shootings at the massage parlours to eliminate his ‘temptation,’ ... He also said that he had frequented massage parlours in the past and launched the attacks as a form of vengeance.” He gunned down eight people because this spa tempted him. He blamed the spa. We tend to think that the problem or cause of all the fights and quarrels is outside of us. However, let’s look at the Scripture and see what it says.
In James chapter 4 verse 1 to 3, James writes, “Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet 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 wrongly to spend it on your passions.” Notice that the most repeated word in these verses is the word "you." It occurs ten times. What causes quarrels and causes fights among you? The answer is you. You are the problem. The problem is not outside of us. The problem is inside of us. They are the passions that wage war within you. They are the self-indulgent pleasures. Notice that these indulgent desires or pleasures are never fulfilled. James writes, “you desire and do not have” and “you covet but cannot obtain.” Regardless of what you do, these desires are never to be satisfied or fulfilled.
Nevertheless, these unfulfilled desires are extremely dangerous because James tells us what these desires can do. It leads not only to violence and quarrels but also murder. These sinful desires could be so uncontrollable that you might fight to the death to fulfill them. In James chapter 4 verse 2, James is warning us of what these unfulfilled desires can do, and these desires are battling right here and right now in our heart.
When your desire is unfulfilled, you will sin. When you sin, you reap the consequence of sin, which is eternal separation from God in hell according to Romans chapter 6 verse 23. James chapter 1 verses 14-15 says, "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death." In verse 4, James says that when you devote your life to the desire of your self-indulgence, you identify yourself with the world, then, therefore, you become an enemy of God. Sin makes all of us enemies of God.
If you love yourselves and live to the fullest of your selfish, sinful desire, you are God's enemies, and you will never fulfill your life.
The End of All Wars
How can you become a friend of God? Through the Lord Jesus Christ, who never fought back, never quarrelled, was beaten, mocked, scorned by sinful man, and yet he remained silent as the lamb. He took no vengeance. Instead, He prayed for evil men upon the cross, saying, "Father, forgive them." He died a gruesome death to pay the penalty of sin and satisfied the wrath of God. Three days later, He rose again from the grave to demonstrate His victory over sin and death. Now, God promises that if you put your trust in Jesus Christ, He will forgive your sin and credit you the perfect righteousness of Christ, and then you will become a friend of God. Once you trust in Christ Jesus, God will regenerate your heart. You will have a new affection for God.
Some of you might think, "Well, I am just going to give up my sinful desire." I am telling you right now that you can’t. Even if you give up your sinful desire, what are you going to replace it with? Another sinful desire? It does not work. You need to fight your evil affection with a holy and greater love for Him. Why? God is the ultimate source of all joy and pleasure. He will satisfy the desire of your heart. Once you are satisfied in Him, there is no need for war, and there is no need for fights. That is how we end all wars.
Dat Nguyen is a student at the Master’s Seminary and a member of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, California. His desire is to be a faithful minister of the Word of God. He loves playing basketball and watching movies.