Jms. 4:1-2a “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You covet but you cannot obtain what you want, so you quarrel and fight.”
Do we even begin to realize this or acknowledge it to ourselves? We are self-seeking, grasping people. When we don’t get our way, when we think we know what’s best in the face of God and others who think differently, when life situations don’t please us we become cantankerous and belligerent, ready to fight for what we want.
There is an appropriate time to stand up for principle and even fight for it but it is simply sin to fight over opinion, the desires that battle within me.
Jms. 4:2b-3 “You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
When I am frustrated praying is not my default response; I go straight to work to get what I want. God through James says that is precisely why we fail to get what we want. What a concept!
But before I pray I’ve got to come to terms with those desires battling within me, or I will ask amiss (King Jim wording). I will pray selfishly rather than asking God to arrange the details so they bring the greatest possible glory to him.
My attitude is pretty self-absorbed when I’m frustrated so it’s essential that I address that problem before I approach God asking him to intervene in my current situation. In order to pray appropriately my heart must want – really want – what God wants. Uh, oh – that requires relinquishing those wrong motives and laying aside those desires that were battling within me.
Then, and only then, can I pray “aright” (more King Jim) – asking God to handle the situation in the way he knows is best, the way that brings him the greatest glory. How does that get me what I want? It gets me what I want when what I want most is what God wants most: His glorification.
He is at work within me day by day to transform those desires that battle within me into this desire to want what he wants, (Phil. 2:13). That’s the road to fulfillment and satisfaction in my walk with God – and to answered prayer.