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Do you want things?

James 4:1-5 " 1 Where do wars and fights [come] from among you? Do [they] not [come] from your [desires for] pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend [it] on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? James 4 tells us that wars and fights come from a person wanting pleasure in their members (bodies). This causes murder, lust, covetousness, fighting and wars. Having pleasure in your life is not in opposition to God’s will because the scripture tells us that we have not because we ask not. Thus, if having a pleasurable life was against God, the verse would have been worded differently. However, the next line tells us that when we do ask, we do not receive if we ask for things that will simply satisfy our own lusts. This is like having a great vehicle that runs perfectly, is functional for all of your needs and simply asking for another just because you want another- maybe because it is more aesthetically pleasing. Interestingly, here God calls this type of behavior adultery. Why? He does so because we think that we may obtain things that would content us through the world system. It is not as complicated or as profound an action as one might assume. In fact, more commonly, this type of behavior is slight in terms of effort. Let me explain...             Let us assume that you have that vehicle that I spoke of above. It runs well and it is fully useful for all of your needs. However, let us say that you change employers and your new profession requires much more travel. Let us also assume that the vehicle you have, although wonderful, does not have the most efficient gas mileage. Therefore, you must determine and alternate plan. The quickest and most effective would be to purchase an additional vehicle because, let us assume, that you still have the needs that the first vehicle supplies with the exception of the gas mileage dilemma. To cause the Spirit who dwells in us to yearn jealously in this situation would be to take it on yourself to obtain a second job, or have your spouse work, or come up with some method for earning the money it will require to purchase the additional vehicle. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with those actions, because you did not seek the Lord and ask Him to direct your path, then you have sinned because to know to do good and not do it is sin. It would be better and not sinful if you were to go to the Lord with thanksgiving, in prayer and supplication and tell Him your need/desire in this situation and then He would either bring it about without you or, direct you in the way He wants you to proceed. It seems so mundane, so every day and not like blatant idol worship, but it is a poignant enough matter to the Lord that it evokes jealousy from Him.      Furthermore, exists the matter of covetousness. Most people in the body of Christ would say they are not covetous. That is because they define covetousness more as envy than covetousness. Most people believe that covetousness is desiring to take away what someone else has so that you can have it for yourself- that is envy. Covetousness is the drive that makes humans want to obtain what others have for ourselves without removing what the others have. This is not evil in itself, but when you scheme to obtain without using your faith or consulting God for His recommendation, then you are coveting. The word translated as “covetousness” in the above passage is translated as “desire to have” in the original King James Version. This older translation is a better picture of the meaning of the word. Covetousness is the most aggressive force behind most every action in the life of not only the believer but every inhabitant of the free world! It is covetousness that drives people to work longer hours - so that they can purchase more. It is covetousness that drives women to wear more makeup than they should or to cause families to go into unnecessary debt. Covetousness is what drives fashion, auto, and home trends. Covetousness is what leads to most divorces.      To understand this, one must take an honest and hard look at themselves and the world around them. Why do you want to look beautiful? Because you covet the desire that your husband either gave you when you were younger or gave another woman. Why do you want to have a big house with land? Because you covet the respect it will earn you among your peers. What happens when you obtain that big house or spend too much money on Botox? What happens when you want a diamond ring that is too big for your budget and you don’t get it? In all of these scenarios, wars ensue. Family wars - between people who supposedly love each other. It would seem that covetousness causes one to love themselves more than their families and especially more than the Lord. When people act on covetousness, it can be actual action- like going and purchasing something they cannot afford, or it can be that the person covets so strongly a thing that they are ill at ease and contemptuous to be around. This is all wars and fighting. Further, if one covets so much for themselves, they have nothing to give to the body of Christ. If they covet only in their minds, they are blind that they should have compassion on those in need. This is where wars and fighting comes from among us. The root of which is always pride.      Let it not be so named among you. Let your desires and your needs be presented before the Lord with thanksgiving that He may bring about your blessings.

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