The War Within.
In our fast past social media world, we are constantly consuming information. Some of it is great and helps inform us. In fact there is a million different resources available to us to research the Word of God. There are commentaries, sermons, insights, blogs… all within a few keystrokes.
At the same time there is temptations…. pornography, consumerism, lavish lifestyles we long to have. Of course consuming these things leads to jealousy, envy, hatred and fighting.
Let’s check out what James says about this in 4:1-4:
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passionsa are at war within you?b 2You 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. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4You adulterous people!c Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
According to James, our passions are at war within us. When we supply those passions with a steady stream of material to feed off, then we are really becoming enemies of God. Listen, there is no great spiritual “ah ha” that will free you from passions. As much as it is a slow fade going down the road into temptation, it is long fight to get out of it…especially when you are in the midst of it.
The best recipe is to share the burden with a trusted friend(s) that will walk along side you fighting the war and not fighting you. “Denying yourself” will never feel natural on this side of the fall, but we must engage it together. Remember that it starts in the spiritual realm. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we don’t wrestle against “flesh and blood”… all the stuff we see. We wrestle against spiritual wickedness in high places… the unseen.
So as James explains in the next chapter, 5:18, confess your sins one to another, compassionate and forgiving, remembering that YOU are also forgiven by Jesus Christ. Fight the war of passions on the spiritual realm, in prayer, confession and arm in arm with those that will engage it with you!