Thursday, July 26, 2007


James 4:1-11 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Our opening Scripture and prayer spoke of peace. Peace is so wonderful. With peace, we can worship, think, enjoy and love. Peace is the wonderful fruit of maturity. Maturity in a home, maturity in a church, maturity in a business or maturity in a government.

But we have a bit of a problem with the way we seek to obtain peace. We think that peace needs to happen somewhere out there. And in order for it to happen out there, the way to peace is imposed. Peace comes through conflict and conquest. We even have a historic word for it, a Pax Romana, or Roman peace, an imposed peace through strength.

In pagan societies and in devlish behavior, this is true. Peace can be and is imposed from the outside. But that kind of peace only lasts as long as the coercion. Throw off the coercion and revolution and anarchy ensue until another peace is imposed. But in Christ, this entire way of worldly thinking is inverted. Peace is not imposed by the stronger. Rather, it comes by subduing ones own desires, even desires that may be good in themselves. It looks to the good of others, rather than to personal advancement over and above others. Peace is not something that is conquered and obtained. It is something that comes when competing desires are subdued and put in their proper priority and place.

What is the cause of strife among people? Among family members? Among fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in a particular church? Is it not striving? Is it not thinking of yourself foremost and everybody else as also rans? And what if somebody else has something that you desire? Say, a good wife, a nice car, a peaceful home, a seat of honor. What causes your strife with them? Isn’t it the fact that you want what they have? And this causes you to lust to envy? Producing in you all sorts of ungodly, competitive desires?

That is not the way to Christian peace. We do want peace. We want it the way Jesus brought it, through service, self-sacrifice, obedience to the Father’s commands. If we learn this kind of humility, then peace will dwell with us and God will lift us up to the seats of honor. But let it be Him who lifts and not you, yourself. That is the way of the world, the way of the devil and of the flesh. But let us choose the better way, the way of the Spirit, the way of Jesus Christ.

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