“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1 NIV)
As I talk with couples, one of the most common complaints I hear from people is, “We just can't seem to get along. We argue so much. We love each other, so why is it we have major blowups over such minor issues?” I talk with parents who say, “With my kids there is constant tension. I don’t understand why we’re always in an argumentative mode.”
James doesn’t beat around the bush. Long before modern psychology came along, he had some profound insights on the cause of conflict. James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” James says that the cause of arguments is conflicting desires. When my wants conflict with your wants, the sparks are going to fly.
The Bible makes very clear that there are three basic desires we have that cause conflict: possessions, pleasure, and pride. These desires are legitimate and God-given unless they’re out of control. When you put them above other people and they become the most important things in your life, they will cause conflict.
So what is the cure for arguments? It’s one of the hardest lessons to learn: humility.
Grace is God’s power to change. What would you like to change about yourself? Whatever it is, you need grace to do it. What do you want to change about your relationships, your marriage, or your family? Whatever you would like to change, you can’t do it on your own. You need grace, and there is only one way to get it: You humble yourself. God doesn’t give grace to people who are full of pride and think, “I can do it on my own.” He gives it when we come and say, “God, I need your help.”
That's where you get the power to make the changes you want to see.
Talk About It
- Think about the last argument you had. Can you identify which of the three desires was the cause?
- What one thing do you most want to change about yourself or your relationships? Do you believe that God’s grace can help you accomplish it?
- How will your conversations and actions change today if you take a humble approach?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.