James 4:1 (NLT) “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?”
Quarrels and fights – other translations say wars, conflict, fightings, discord, feuds – from where do they originate? According to James they come from our own evil desires within us. These evil desires are at war within us.
What are they at war with?
The phrase “at war” is interesting in the original language. It means “1. to make a military expedition, to lead soldiers to war or to battle (spoken of a commander).” That is an interesting implication of the evil desires within us (lust, murder, covet – see James 4:2) are on a military expedition – actively leading the charge within us.
The phrase “at war” also means “2. to do military duty, be on active service, be a soldier. 3. to fight” Again, I find this every interesting and eye opening. I didn’t think much of the evil desires within me as alive and active. I never considered them “on active service”
My daughter has a friend who just got out of boot camp with the United States Marine Corp. He is a Marine. He is receiving training to be ready to do his military duty and his selected occupational, vocational, job in the Marine Corp.
Our evil desires are at war with everything God desires for us. Our evil desires are at war with our status quo. It is at war with our position, place, prominence, self perception, our possessions, etc.
- I want more _________ (stuff) – so I plan and connive how get more of it
- I want his car! (or boat, or house, or job, or _______) – the seed of jealousy is planted and watered
- I want peace and rest – so I clamor and rant about what I fear
- I want fellowship – so I do whatever I must to get others to like me
- I want to be respected – so I give unsolicited advice
- I want to be built up – so I tear others down
- I want someone else’s position – so I sabotage their character
Romans 7:21-25 (NKJV) 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
But you can’t stop reading there. That’s the end of Romans 7. The good news is in Romans 8. Here is the good news. Here is what the “evil soldiers” warring in my body don’t know. They war in vein.
Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.