Squandered Opportunity (James 4:1-10)

James 4:1-4 (NASB)
“What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious 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 with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

Some brothers and I were going through James, chapter 4, when something jumped out at me…

Squandered Opportunity

Our pleasures, our fleshly desires, our selfishness wants, are the source of the “quarrels and conflicts” among us. Whatever “fight” we are engaged in reveals the state of our souls. It is such a state which influences how we spend our opportunity. We “ask and do not receive,” because we ask with “wrong motives.” In other words, the “war in your members” is a result of petitioning God for “pleasures” rather than that which we should instead solicit Him for.

“Which is what?” (you may ask)…

James 4:5 (NASB)
“Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’?”

Do you see the point?

God “jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us.” His Spirit (who don’t forget dwells within us) is what we (Christians) are to ask for, is then squandered when we instead ask for pleasures, resulting in “friendship with the world” which is “hostility toward God.” In other words, the soul which longs for that which the world longs for, rather than God Himself, then “makes himself an enemy of God.”

Now, do you see?

But, thankfully… God is not only jealous. He is also gracious (regarding those who meekly recognize their proclivity to pleasure)…

James 4:6 (NASB)
“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'”

So, knowing this, how should we then respond?

James 4:7-10 (NASB)
“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

Do not squander opportunity. Instead, ask and receive.

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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