1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? 6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Examine / Explain
In these verses we examine the state of the heart. Are we truly broken over our sins? Those of us who are not will wage war and commit murder because we cannot get the desires of our hearts. When what we truly desire is grace and mercy but our sinful heart is in the way and we try to appease it with worldly fleshly things. In doing so we demonstrate our pride and our enmity toward God. He is opposed to the proud because they lack the knowledge that they need grace. They are missing out on the point that we can’t do this and must rely on a gracious God. Be humble. Be broken over our sin. Seek His presence and He will lift you up.
How do I apply this to my life?
Do I live broken, or do I live “broken”? Where is the state of my heart? Am I broken about the things that draw me away from God, or am I broken about the things of this world? What is my perspective on this temporary life? Do I really need more cash in the bank or do I need to spend more time with my family as a spiritual leader? Do I really need to play a video game for my entertainment, or do I need to go watch my children perform in what they are called to do? This is really about killing my will and following God’s will. All things in our lives would work out better if we would just die. Not killing myself to make a buck, or killing myself to look like a good parent. Not a physical death but if we could deny ourselves and take up our cross, crucify our flesh, and follow Jesus, life is lived to the fullest extent possible. Our sinful desires and our refusal to break over them drive us out of the presence of God. But if we admit our pride, we become humble. If we can confess to one another we can find healing. If we died, we would find a savior. I know I can seem like a selfless person on the outside but I know my motives. God knows my motives better than I do. We all want to “look out for number one!” In reality! We all need to look out for one another! But life is messy and we don’t want to pay the cost of looking out for one another. We don’t want to pay the price of denying ourselves anything. In our minds, it costs less if I can keep doing what I like to do. If we get that drink I don’t have to deal with life. If we watch that video, we can cope with the day. If we can get that hit of satisfaction, life seems better. But in God’s economy, we are losing everything. We are gaining nothing except separation from Him.
What is my response?
Father, I need to be broken. I need to know my heart breaks for the things that Your heart breaks for. I need for my heart to be sorrowful over the things that lead me away from You. I must crucify my flesh daily and deny my pride in every moment. If I am walking in pride for how good I am or how smart I am, then I am nothing. I must walk in the saving grace of a Father who holds my value and worth. I will never find satisfaction in this world. What are the things I think I can’t live without in this world? Those are the things I need You to point out because they are idols in my life and must be hung on a cross. Is my flesh dead? Is my pride dead? Did I bury them so that I live in You? I want to be humble! I want to live my life to the fullest in You and to do so, I must rely on You and not myself. I need Your help in that. Remind me that You are there and help me succeed in Your economy, not my own. Amen.