‘What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?’ James 4.1
In this simple statement James cuts through to the heart of human strife; it all stems from the desires that battle within. We have probably all witnessed situations where the desires within one person clash with the desires of others, causing untold misery.
However, it is harder and more challenging to turn the spotlight on ourselves. What are the desires that battle within you? What effect do these have on both yourself and others?
James goes on to offer this simple encouragement: if you want something, ask God – but not with selfish motives. Perhaps his encouragement would be to look beyond your actual desires to the underlying need, because that is what needs to be brought to God. One example of this might be a longing for more money, but what is beneath this is the need for security. It is this deeper need that God wants us to take to him as this is the area of our lives he longs to touch.
When God invites you to bring your needs to him, he is not suggesting he is a divine slot machine to give you everything you want. Rather he is inviting you to trust him with the deepest needs of your life. He wants you to turn to him and find afresh the depth of his love for you.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission