Wars and conflict exist all around the world. The news is filled with reports of terrorism and threats of violence. It is a sad fact of our existance and, in reality, wars have existed for all of recorded time. Likewise, individuals constantly find themselves in situations of potential conflict. We all have our own likes, dislikes, fears and ideas, and we like to have our way. Pride is the big culprit in conflict. James knew this 2000 years ago. He also knew that our desire to have what we want is most often in direct opposition with God’s desire for us. So we deal with the internal struggles and we also deal with the external conflicts that affect our relationship with others. James guides us to recognize our prideful and selfish desires. He also gives us a plan for getting on the right path that brings pride into submission with God’s will.
Jn 4:1-10; Pr 13:10; Jer 29:11
Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? (Js 4:1) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (Js 4:7) Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (Js 4:8) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (Js 4:10)
Once we admit that our pride is the problem in most of our conflicts, we have some options for moving in the right direction. First we must submit to God. Recognizing the order of command is essential in any hierarchy. Submit; put God in control. It’s a battle for power and God must hold his rightful place in our lives. At the same time, we have to resist the devil’s tactics. He knows where to attack us; he knows our weakness. We must use defensive maneuvers to overcome his attacks. Running away is a must, and knowing and using scripture to fight the devil is essential. Then we need to draw near to God by seeking forgiveness and turning from our sin and double-minded behavior. Living near God does not allow having one foot in this world and one foot in God’s. God demands, requires and deserves our total love and devotion. God wants us to be truly sorry for our sins and repentant. Being humble before God leaves everything in His control. When we recognize we are nothing without him, he will lift us up. We need not expend our own energy and time trying to promote ourselves in the eyes of this world, which means nothing. When God lifts you up, you’ll know you have been lifted.
Who do you submit to in your earthly life? How has pride gotten you in trouble? How do you identify real humility? How do you resist the devil? What is your favorite scripture for resisting the devil? Why does James tell us to cleanse and purify ourselves in order to draw near to God? How does a sinful lifestyle hold a person back from God’s best? Can you be a Christian and live with one foot in this world?
Learn a few scriptures to have in your arsenal when Satan attacks. Write them on an index card. Keep them close. Determine to squash pride with God’s help and power. When conflict arises, utilize the plan of submit to God, resist the devil, draw near to God and humble yourself before the Lord.
Dear Lord, you know what’s best for me. Help me to rest in your plan and lay aside my pride so that you can work in and through me. I need your power to resist the temptation to control and to have my way. Thank you for your unending love and patience, in Jesus Name I pray, Amen.