What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? (James 4:1)

James’ characteristic bluntness appears in full force here in chapter four. Having just described the peace that comes from wisdom (James 3:17–18), he now contrasts the behavior of his readers. James points his finger at his original readers—and us—as if to say, “I don’t see you acting like wise peacemakers.”

Most of us aren’t peacemakers. Sure, we may have our moments of wisdom that foster peace, but what keeps us from a lifestyle of peace?

We cast blame outside ourselves, on personality conflicts or divergent priorities, on a failure to listen or perceived inequities. But James knows the true answer, and he digs that pointer finger in a little farther. We cannot be peacemakers on the outside because we have no consistent peace within. Our earthly desires still quarrel with the new nature we have received as believers (2 Cor. 5:17). Discord in our churches and homes is merely a symptom of that internal struggle.

Reflect for a moment. How do the conflicts in your life today reveal what’s happening in your heart?

Take heart; we are not alone! Even the apostle Paul struggled with this type of ongoing internal conflict (Rom. 7:14–23). Let’s not forget, however, that we serve the God of Peace (Phil. 4:9) and the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). Submission to Him, as James will soon tell us (James 4:7), resolves all internal conflict.

Identify your biggest internal conflict and agree with God about it.

Carole Sparks is passionate about God’s Word and how it impacts our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives and writes in East Tennessee.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.