September 21

James 4:1-3, 7-8a

“Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?” vs. 1

James saw so clearly how life ought to be lived and he wished that all believers could live in gentleness and peace, with no partiality or hypocrisy. He was irritated that many didn’t live that way and blamed internal cravings or covetousness for the discrepancy. We don’t talk much about covetousness as a negative these days. It’s become ingrained in our economic system and it’s likely global markets would collapse if people stopped coveting what they do not have. Of course some forms of covetousness are healthy and good, e.g. it’s fine for us to covet peace of mind and crave tranquility in our lives. What James clearly saw was that those cravings were in conflict with our material desires. When our deepest hunger is for more “stuff” we’re very likely to do what it takes to get it, even at the expense of purity and goodness. In brief, we stop serving others in order to serve ourselves. If we really want to satisfy our desire for serenity it means saying “No” to our devilish desires and turning back to God in faith and repentance. By the power of the Holy Spirit we can then turn our backs on the ways of the world and embrace the joys of kingdom living. We really can live as God desires!

Thought for the Day: What is my deepest craving?

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