What leads to [the unending] quarrels and conflicts among you? Do they not come from your [hedonistic] desires that wage war in your [bodily] members [fighting for control over you]? (James 4:1, AMP)
Through this passage, I have come to understand that most conflicts can be avoided if I recognize the source. The source being my selfish desires and struggle to have what I want in life.
James is talking to the believers in this passage. He just got done sharing the need to be peacemakers (James 3:18). But now he comes face to face with some in the church who are not promoting peace. Instead, there are some that are more concerned about their own needs. Hmmm… Does that sound familiar? If I take time to examine my own heart… I can definitely see times that I have been more concerned about myself than others.
Quarrels and conflicts come when we take the spotlight off of Christ and place it on ourselves. I haven’t met anyone who didn’t want a little attention or approval. We all long for this, but we need to find it solely in the Lord. We need to seek Him and His approval. Human approval isn’t worth anything compared to the approval of God.
The above picture reminds me of what the Christian community can look like, if we all point back to Christ. These cute little sea otters are all just minding their own business. Sure, there are a bunch of us taking photos just a little ways away. But not a single one of these sea otters hogged the spotlight. None of them were trying to be famous or concerned about how they looked in the photo. When the camera lens of God’s grace is pointed at you, do you point right back to the cross?
I love the example that John the Baptist set in John 3:22-36. His disciples came to him and exposed their competitive spirit. They lost sight of John’s mission. John and his disciples were on the scene to point people towards Christ. John’s main purpose in life was to point people to Jesus. Here is John’s response to his disciples…
To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
HE MUST BECOME GREATER; I MUST BECOME LESS.”
John the Baptist had no problem taking the spotlight off of himself and shining it brightly on Jesus. This is how we all should respond when someone points out anything good in us. We should shine the light right back on Jesus and the work that He has done. May the spotlight always shine brightly on our Savior. May He become greater, as we become less!
Where’s your spotlight pointed?
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…”
Read more of James 4
Dear Father God, I pray that my spotlight will always shine brightly on Jesus. May You receive the glory for anything good in my life. May the work of the cross be what shines brightly through me!
Shining my spotlight on Jesus,