Are Your Passions at War Within You?

James 4:1-3 ESV

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

What causes people to be at war with each other or for one person to be at war with another who is not at war with him? It is the gratification and the overindulgence of sinful passions and sensual pleasures of the flesh at the expense of other things of great worth and value and importance. This is called “hedonism,” which is self-indulgence and self-gratification, and it is wickedness, depravity, corruption, dishonesty and immorality.

Those who live in self-indulgence and for sinful pleasures but who at the same time profess faith in Jesus Christ will also be at war with those who are living in faithful obedience to the Lord and who are sharing the truth of the gospel, for the truth of the gospel offends those who do not want to forsake their sins but who want to continue to engage in what they know is evil. And this is why so many are adopting the cheap grace gospel because it gives them permission to keep on in their sinful practices, only now guilt free.

And this is one of the reasons they will fight against those who are teaching the whole counsel of God because they don’t want to feel guilty for their sin and they don’t want to be reminded that what they are doing is sinful and that it is contrary to God’s will and purpose for their lives. And they don’t want to be told that they must forsake their sinful practices and that they must follow Jesus in obedience, so they will attack the true gospel.

And since they are following after the lusts of their flesh, and their hearts are set on doing evil, if anyone gets in their way they are likely to take him or her out. They will find a way to attack and to destroy and to injure in hopes to get their opposition to back down and to give up and to say nothing and to do nothing. And they may even go so far as to kill anyone who stands in the way of their sinful addiction being fulfilled.

Now when this says, “You do not have because you do not ask,” it is not suggesting that we can ask God for what is sinful and evil and that he will provide. But they don’t ask God for the right things to satisfy their emotional and spiritual needs, and if they do ask they don’t receive because they are asking for the wrong things which will provide for their sinful passions.

James 4:4-5 ESV

“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’”?

If a person is an adulterer he is someone who is cheating on his wife, either just in his mind, or in person, or via the internet or via private conversations or pornography and any other means of being engaged in sexual immorality. And Jesus said that if a man looked at a woman lustfully that he committed adultery with her in his heart. But it isn’t just men who commit adultery or who lust after others sexually. Women do this, too, and children, also.

Well, when we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives we enter into a marriage contract with Jesus. So, if after we believe in Jesus we then go after “other lovers” of the flesh which can be anything sinful, or anything that takes the place of Jesus in our hearts, then we are guilty of committing adultery against our Lord, not physically, but spiritually. For if we are on friendly terms with worldliness we are enemies of God.

For our Lord is like a jealous husband who does not want to give his wife to any other but wants her only to himself with regard to the marriage contract and the terms of that agreement. And by faith in him we agree to make him our only Lord, and to forsake our lives of living in sin and for self, and to follow him in obedience to his ways and to his truth. And we are to honor that agreement till the day Jesus comes to take us home.

James 4:6-10 ESV

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

Our Lord is full of grace, which is why Jesus died on that cross for our sins. But his grace is not freedom to keep on in our sins guilt free. His grace instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. And his grace frees us from our slavery (addiction) to sin, and it empowers us to live for our Lord in faithful surrender to him and to his will.

So, who does he give grace to? Not to everyone who merely professes his name, but to the humble and contrite who have turned from their sinful lifestyles to now follow Jesus in obedience. His grace is available to everyone but only those who repent and who turn and who follow Jesus in obedience are recipients of his grace. For if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin we don’t know God and we do not have eternal life with God.

So, the encouragement here is for us to submit ourselves to God (to Christ as Lord). And we are to resist the devil, not play footsie with him, and he will flee, for a time, but he will keep coming back so we have to keep resisting him. And we are to draw near to God in full assurance of genuine faith in him by surrendering our lives to him and by doing his will. And we are to forsake our sins and to not be double-minded, but to be sincere in our purity of devotion to the Lord, and the Lord will exalt us.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Give Me Jesus

Oh, What Gladness!
An Original Work / December 2, 2013

Give me Jesus. He’s my Savior.
I’ll walk with Him in His favor.
I’ll abide in His love always;
Follow His ways to the end.

Jesus is the Son of God.
He died upon a cruel cross.
He’s forgiven all my failures
By His mercy and His love.

Give me Jesus – His compassion,
And His mercy; loving kindness.
Let Him teach me how to love Him,
And to please Him. He’s my friend.

Jesus died for all our sin
So we could have eternal life.
He will free you from your bondage
If you trust Him with your life.

Give me Jesus. Let me trust Him.
May I listen to His teachings.
May I follow where He leads me
In His service. He’s my Lord.

Jesus Christ will come again
To take His bride to be with Him.
Oh, what gladness; free from sadness
When I meet Him in the air.

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