September 19, 2009

What Causes Fights?

James 4:1-6

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires … ?
James 4:1


“I want what I want when I want it.” According to the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, this is a central driving force within every single human being.

James knew about this powerful force as well. We want what we want when we want it, and we get upset when we can’t have what we want—or we envy others who have what we want.

Our wants or desires are what lead us to fight and quarrel, says James. This explains the temper tantrums of a two-year-old. It explains why teenagers sulk or slam a door or leave the house in anger. It explains why husbands and wives shout at each other or ignore each other. It explains arguments and disagreements on the job. It explains road rage. It explains riots that break out in the stands at some sports events. It explains why people steal and kill and why nations fight each other.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have to learn to ask God what he wants for us. We need to learn to say, “I want what God wants,” instead of saying, “I want what I want.”

Take a close look at your life, family, home, or work situation and ask, “Why are we fighting and quarreling? And what do I need to do to make the changes that will keep us from fighting?” Ask God to give his wisdom to help you be the person God wants you to be.

Lord our God, help us to want what you want, and keep us from fighting and quarreling because we can’t have things our way. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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