The source of conflict throughout the almost 42 years of my marriage have been varied. Example; where to spend money, a clean house, clean yard, a dependable car, children that behave and respect, how you treat my family, who we invite to the party, where we go for Thanksgiving or Christmas, TV watching, picking up after yourself, your conversation among friends, how much time you spend at work or with friends, helping with chores, how you speak to me, how you listen, and the list goes on. What are your conflicts about?
James 4:1-3 ESV “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? 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”
So, what causes the conflict in my marriage and every other relationship I have? James says it is my passions, which are my desires, my preferences, my wants, my way, my comfort, my entitlement, my rights, and what I think I deserve. This passion or want festers in my mind and heart and when I don’t get it/them, I sin (murder, covet). My thoughts, my feelings, my emotions, the welfare, and even happiness of life hangs in the balance of obtaining my desire and passions (at least it feels like it while my passions are at war within me.) God says, Matt. 22: 37-39 ESV “Love your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” What I’m doing is loving myself with all my heart, soul, and mind. What passions are war within you? Are you aware of the war within you?
James also says, I don’t have because I don’t ask. I don’t go to God in prayer with a request. I try to obtain what I want myself, by earning the money, and/or manipulating people or circumstances. Is requesting in prayer from the one and only true mighty God your first reaction to your passions and desires?
James further explains that if I do go to God in prayer, I don’t receive because I ask with wrong motives. I want what I want for me, to meet my needs, for my happiness, for the honor and glory of Me. 1 John 5:13-15 ESV “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” Even Jesus our Savior asked in Mark 14: 36 ESV and He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Remove this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” When you pray are your passions, desires and wants within God’s will to bring Honor and Glory to God or for your own pleasure?
It is not wrong that I have passions and desires, as long as they are not against God’s laws, and commandments. When these passions or desires become more important than God’s will, we fall into quarrels and fights and idolatry. Let us pray for each other that we would die to ourselves daily as our spiritual worship to God to know His will and conform to His image.