SOAP Devotional 2014-03-07
Scripture – Observation – Application – Prayer
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. (James 4:1-3 NLT)
People are naturally self-centered. It feeds quarrels, fights, and evil desires. Wanting what they do not have causes people to scheme up ways to get what they want even if it hurts others in order for them to get what they want. Fed by being self-centered they are jealous if someone else has what they want and will even fight and wage war to get what they have. James reminds us that there are at least two reasons why believers do not have what they want: 1) because they do not ask God for what they want 2) because they ask for the wrong things, instead of wanting what God wants for them, they only want the things that will give them pleasure.
Lust is driven by a focus on self fulfillment. It is powerful and can cause us to do things we would not otherwise do. It causes problem between believers and unbelievers alike. To heed the warning of this passage there are a few things we can do. First we need to make sure that the things we desire are in line with what God wants us to have. Ask yourself, “How can me having this bring glory to God or promote his agenda?” And ask yourself, “Do I only want this to satisfy my own personal desires?” Then one more question, “Is acquiring this for me going to hurt someone else or deprive them of what they have?” These kinds of questions can help you to look more clearly about the things you want. If the answers come back correct, then put it in God's hands by asking Him. Let Him be the one that shows you how to get what you may want rather than scheming on your own. I am a living testimony that God can and will provide you with amazing things through miraculous means. Keeping your eyes on Him and His plans will keep you a lot more focused in the right direction rather than finding yourself consumed with lust for something you do not need to have.
Father, I thank you for the many wonderful things that you have provided for me. I am equally thankful that you have corrected me when my lust took me in the wrong directions. Father continue to guide me and keep me on the right track and do not let me be drawn into the kind of error that this passage outlines. Bless you, Lord!