JAMES 4:1-12 TURN FROM EVIL DESIRES AND OBEY GOD
4:1-6 James warns against worldliness. The world fights and quarrels because we fight within ourselves against our worldly passions. End the passion fight inside and the peace will spill out. Struggles with others start with struggles within myself. What do I desire for than God? What do I covet that I cannot obtain? This is related to Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." I do not have because I do not ask God! How often to do I try to get things or do things on my own, forgetting to ask God to help me. It is not I that does things, but rather all credit goes to God. I can do nothing without His strength and power and might and will. I can do everything with Him, if I just ask! What a wonderful promise. Hold on! There is a caveat! Do not ask wrong. How do I ask wrong? Do not ask for prayer for things of my own passions, for things I am passionate for in this world (like the prodigal son who spent his inheritance). God never promises me I'll have possessions, money, or an easy life and, in fact, I am not to ask for these things for selfish pleasures. To ask for such with a selfish motive is adulterous (disloyal/unfaithfulness/idolatry) to God and to friend (not merely acquaintance) the world is to be an enemy of God. Yikes! God's Word sure is always pointing me to my sins. "No one can serve two masters...You cannot serve God and money" (Matthew 6:24). Ah! The song does not go "what a friend we have in desires." I would never sing that! Why would my heart ever feel it?
Lord, thank You for your grace. I want to be humble, but sometimes feel it is a sin-and-forgiveness circle continually pushing me toward humbleness. I would rather just stay humble, but this sinful self won't let me. I pray for strength to strike all prideful thoughts from my brain. My sinful-self fights against the new person in Christ that is within me. So I thank You profusely for Your grace. May my selfish desired prayers be smothered with prayers for others (intercessory). May my prayers be motivated by the desire to glorify You in all that I do. The things that I want should be things that I can use to Your glory, but not merely pleasure of my own. Align my desires with Your Will, Lord. Thank You for all the good and desirable that You have already gifted me. Amen.
Three ways to pray wrong: Not asking at all; asking for the wrong things; or asking for the wrong reason.