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THE CHRISTIAN AT WAR!

"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?  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.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. "

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

Wars and Fightings ... Lesson 1:

"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 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. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."   James 4:1-3

Our text presents to us Jamesí classic paragraph on fightings and quarrels even in the Christian life! One might say of this situation "My brethren, these things ought not so to be." Thatís exactly what James said of our "words" in James 3:10!

Today letís consider that phrase: "Wars and fightings."

The noun for "wars" is (in Greek) "polemos." Itís used 18 times in our King James New Testaments. It is translated "war" 12 times and "battle" 5 times and "fight" 1 time. It is from a root verb that means "to bustle." The term is usually used in a context that suggests not just one battle ... but a protracted series of confrontations ... hence, a war! In the Gospels, only Jesus uses the word! For example, He says in the Olivet Discourse: "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Matthew 24:6 And as one might expect, the heaviest usage of the word is found in the Book of Revelation (9 times).  It is a Book of warfare!

Then the other noun (for "fightings") is a little Greek word "mache." (Pronounced makí-hay) I believe our English word "machete" (the long cutting knife used to harvest sugar cane or as a weapon) comes from this verb. In 2 Corinthians 7:5 Paul tells us he was constantly around such fightings! (Our word is only found 4 times in the whole New Testament!) Also according to Paul, certain things can "gender" (meaning "to father") strifes (mache)! Why donít we learn those things and stay away from them? Hereís one of them: "Grievous words stir up anger." Proverbs 15:1 Spiritually and theologically one can get involved in these fightings as well! Paul talked about them in Titus 3:9 where he used the expression "strivings (mache) about the law!"

Also let me point out to you that both these nouns are plural in our text! Many wars and many fightings have occurred among Jamesí hearers! (Now these people are professing Christians! Itís the same group to whom James has earlier said: "My brethren!")

Hereís the amazing thing to me. James accepts the fact that such behavior is common with these Believers! James obviously acknowledges it without too much surprise or amazement! Itís just a part of life! Men (and women) will argue and bicker!

Of course the man of God here is going to rebuke such behavior and give the folks the secret to overcoming it ... but he quietly realizes its presence!

I once read where a man said "War is normal." He believed that such fighting occurs so often we hardly notice it anymore.

One famous American General said "I love it (war)! I do love it so! I love it more than my life!"

I am beginning to wonder if many (make that "most") Christians donít love it too! I donít mean army against army warfare, but group against group or family against family or person against person!

A philosopher once said "Being reveals itself as war!" Another quipped "The state of peace among men living side by side is not the natural state; the natural state is one of war." In fact, during all the years of written human history ... 14,600 wars have been recorded!  That's astounding!

War has become so "normalized" that we mindlessly speak of gender wars, trade wars, price wars, gas wars and even information wars!

Well, war may be epidemic. It may be accepted. It may even be widely accepted among Christians ... but James knows the solution to it!

And we shall find that solution as we go a bit further into our verse. We shall do so tomorrow, Lord willing!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

Wars and Fightings ... Lesson 2:

Notice how the Holy Spirit leads James to word his initial question.

"From whence come wars and fightings among you?"

Where are these wars and fightings?

AMONG the professing Christians!

The Greek preposition there for "among" is spelled "en."  It means (with the dative case as here):  in, on, by, near, by, before, among or WITHIN!

That's a pretty comprehensive description.

Fightings within us!

The pronoun "you" is "humin" in Greek and is plural in number.  James is writing to his brethren in Christ.  He is a very plainly spoken preacher!

In Romans 7 even the great Apostle Paul examine himself!  He looks deep down within his heart and soul!  His conclusion is:  "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not."  Furthermore he surmises:  "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"  Then he declares:  "I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me."  (Verses 18, 24 and 21 of Romans 7!)

Let me say this again.  I'm simply echoing James!  WITHIN us are fightings and wars and lusts that must be conquered!  Only the Holy Spirit can do this!  We must have His filling and power!

Those things were in Peter and James and John ... and they will be in you and me!

Educators of the past have so realized this depraved human condition (this "war-like" spirit) in mankind that they declare:  "War is more nearly the normal human condition than peace!"

Listen to Paul again in a particularly trying time of his life:  "For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears."  2 Corinthians 7:5

And, oh, the fallout from such fighting! 

It is said that over a million bushels of bones (human and horse skeletons) have been harvested from the battlefields of Europe through the years!  They were shipped to England and then ground into bone meal for fertilizer! 

I began to wonder about the spiritual fallout from all the fights and fusses God's people have had!  Husband/Wife bones!  Preacher/Church bones!  Father/Son bones!  Mother/Daughter bones!  Employer/Employee bones!  Church Member/Church Member bones!  Where does it all end?

One political scientist spoke of "the constancy and ubiquity" of war!  It is always happening in all places!

In fact, military officials tell us that truly professional soldiers (Generals and the like) can suffer extreme emotional letdowns when war if over!  One famous American General said that he expected "a tremendous letdown" as the war against Germany drew to a close!

I am wondering if I might have just met some professing Christians who are also addicted to such bickering and fighting!  They can just never let go and enjoy peace and quiet!

It is IN them!  I'm telling you this is the truth!

And mankind has so adjusted to it all ... that he believes it to be just a normal state of life!

Hence we accept (even in our churches) criticism, gossip, slander, secret meetings (war sessions), rebellion and anarchy!

BUT I do believe James is soon going to have a better idea!

The Lord always does!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

Wars and Fightings ... Lesson 3:

If any preacher ever cut right to the heart of a matter, James did!

In his little Epistle he again and again strikes incisive blows to old sinful pride, lust and selfishness.

In his little paragraph about fightings and wars, he is true to form!

He identifies the problem. 

Let me give you just a part of the text:  "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?"  James 4:1

That little noun "lusts" translates a Greek word "hedone!"  (It gives us the English words hedonist and hedonism.)  It means "pleasure!" One lexicon says the verb is from a root, "handano," which means "to please." 

The little word is only used 5 times in the New Testament.  It is translated "pleasure" or "pleasures" 3 times and "lusts" 2 times.

The word is often used in the area of "sensual delight" too.

James has put our own selfish desires on the "witness" stand ... and accused them of being guilty of many a war and conflict!

Isn't it so?

One ancient philosopher said:  "Wars and revolutions and battles are due simply and solely to the body and its desires."  If kept in context  ... this is similar to what James is saying.

I am NOT saying that all war is wrong!  A fight to defend a nation's liberty and freedom is a matter of principle.  The Bible has definite accounts of some wars ... ordered by God Himself!  In fact, Exodus 15:3 says:  "The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name."

But personal confrontations and church disagreements and too often national (and international) wars are the results of man's hedonistic "lusts."

How many "gossip" sessions have been fueled by a person's desire for superiority?

How many church power struggles have been over a man's (or a family's) desire to rule the flock?

How many husband-wife arguments have been allowed due to someone's desire to be right or to be "fulfilled?"

In most of the confrontations you see ... stop and examine the situation.  See if James is not right!  We war and fight because we want something!

Lord, today, help us to learn to control our "desires!"

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

WARS AND FIGHTINGS ...LESSON 4:

"War in our Members!"  That's exactly what James' sermon title would have been that Lord's Day!  I mean the day he preached the first verse of his fourth chapter!

Here are his exact words:  "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?"

The noun "lusts" is the Greek word that give us the English term "hedonism!"  It means one's desires, strong desires, especially desires of the flesh!

The verb "war" translates "strateuo," which means to fight a prolonged campaign! (To make a military expedition! To lead soldiers to war!  To do military duty!  To be in active service as a soldier!)  This is the source of our English noun "strategy!"  It's a present participle in the middle voice! Christians are continually at war!  And such fighting will change them forever! (Here the change is not for the better ... but for the worse!)

And look where this war takes place!  "In our members!"

I've tried to trace that little noun (members = "melos" in Greek) through the New Testament this morning.  It's found there 34 times.  More often than not, it has reference to our body parts!  Here is its first Bible occurrence:  "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." Jesus said that in Matthew 5:29. 

James literally says that we war in our members!

How can one's "eyes" be at war?  This has reference to what one DESIRES to see! Some of these things can be wrong!  To lust after some forbidden sight (a Bathsheba on the roof) will cause war within the heart of a Christian, who is supposed to be looking unto Jesus.  To look at a neighbor's new boat or remodeled house can cause war too!

Just go down the "sense" list?

What one hears can cause war too!  Did you hear what so-and-so said about you? Get ready, blows are about to begin!

What one touches can also! 

Where one's feet takes him or her!  "Feet" are among your bodily members!

What one tastes can even lead to battle!  My pie is better than hers!  Or one may crave the taste of that wicked old alcoholic drink again!

Even smell!  Like that of cigarette smoke!  (Sickening to some ... tempting to others!)

This almost sounds like James is describing war on a two-fold front:  War within an individual believer ... and war between believers!

Either way, the "solution" is to get one's desires under control!  To reign in one's "members!"

And THAT, dear friend, is a life-long task!

It can only be done via the Power of the Holy Spirit of God!

Lord, help us to grow!

                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

WARS AND FIGHTNINGS ... LESSON 5:

James pretty well summarizes life for millions of people when he says:  "Ye lust and have not!"  (James 4:2a)

The verb for "lust" here is the Greek word "epithumeo."  It means to long for something strongly!  To crave it!  "Thumos" in Greek is their word for passion!  The prefix "epi" just intensifies the meaning! 

James has formed the verb so that it indicates to us habitual lusting!  On-going action!  Constantly desiring things! 

Now truthfully "epithumeo" can be used in a good sense as well as a bad sense!  For example the Angels "lust" to see the beauties of God's Grace in the lives of us Believers!  ("Which things the angels desire to look into."  1 Peter 1:12)

Jesus strongly desired ("epithumeo!") to eat the Passover Meal with His Disciples before Calvary!  Luke 22:15

But of course the word can also be used in an evil sense, as it is in its first use in the New Testament.  "But I (Jesus) say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."  Matthew 5:28

Here James undoubtedly uses it in a wicked context. 

Even we believers lust for things!  (Anything from a new car or home to clothes or reputation or esteem or any one of millions of other items!)

But James says we, even after so lusting, have not those things we so wanted!

The verb "have" translates "echo" in Greek.  It means to have or to hold!  To keep or possess! 

We may get the things we so lust for ... but we don't hold to them or keep them! They lose their value or glitter!  We go on soon to new things!  The possessions we seize do not satisfy us at all!  We're soon pursuing bigger and better things!

Or James could be saying that we are really so confused about the things we want ... we miss the root desires of our heart! 

We might think we want more money ... but really that hunger is for security! (Which money does not bring!)  Only Jesus can bring security!

We might long for a bigger gun ... safety is our goal!  But guns do not always bring safety!  (I am not against owning guns either!)  The Lord brings safety and protection!

Or it just could be that God frustrates our lusts so that we cannot get what we think we want!  Why would God do this? 

To teach us that all our desires actually are only satisfied in Him!

The Psalmist said:  "All my springs are in Thee."  Psalm 87:7

David further added:  "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple."  Psalm 27:4

Now those spiritual desires CAN be met in the dear Lord!

Psalm 37:4 promises us:  "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."

Glory to God!

Let's quit lusting and start longing for Jesus!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

WARS AND FIGHTINGS ... LESSON 6:

Listen to what James says ... even to professing Christians!

"Ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain."  James 4:2b

The first verb here means to kill, slay or murder!  ("phoneuo" in Greek)  It is a present tense verb too!  This suggests habitual action! 

But I thought, how do Christians kill?

We all obey the Commandment:  "Thou shalt not kill!"  Plus ... if we did so, we'd all be in jail or worse!

James must be using the verb "kill" in the same sense John did!  "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."  1 John 3:15

But what could make a so-called Christian hate someone that much? 

Again, James answers.  Our desires do!

The expression "desire to have" translates a verb "zeloo" (our word "zeal") which means to be hot or to boil (often with anger or envy)!  It is translated "covet" in the New Testament also. 

Yet even with all this passion ... we still "cannot obtain" what we really want!

"Obtain" (in Greek = "epitugchano") has the idea of "lighting upon" something. Getting it!  To attain it! 

Here's Bible proof that our lusts and wicked passions cannot be truly satisfied!  They are self destructive and self refuting and self frustrating commodities in our lives!

The only real One who can give us the "desires of our heart" is the Lord God Almighty!  "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."  Psalm 37:4

This is a pretty violent phrase James has used here today!

God, deliver us from such behavior!

Fill us with Thy Spirit!  ("But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23)

That's the very opposite of killing and lusting and fighting!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

JAMES 4:1-3 ... LESSON 7:

James 4:2 says a lot in just 4 words!  "Ye fight and war."

Of course to get the whole "context" I need to show you the whole verse.

"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."

I just noticed something about those two verbs.

One of them ("fight") is in the middle or passive voice (both forms are identical).  The other ("war") is in the active voice.

Just how precise can one be in studying the Bible?  (VERY!)

Does its "inspiration" even involve points of grammar?  (YES!)

Is it really perfect in every way?  (YES!)

The vocabulary word "fight" translates "machomai" and means to quarrel or to dispute or to contend.

Its accompanying verb "war" is "polemeo" and means to make war or to carry on war. (Showing hostile attitudes in a community!)

Here is my point.

The "fighting" indicates individual battles.  It, being in the middle voice, suggests that the quarreling here described affects the Christian doing it.  (The Believer's conscience must have been at that time still sensitive enough to have been impacted by his sin of fighting!)

BUT by the continuation of his "fighting" (going on and one with it) he well may have "seared" his conscience.

For sure this kind of action will lead from "fighting" to "warring!" 

The "warring" (a constant state of fighting and contention) is NOT in the middle voice (reflecting on the combatant) ... but is now just in the active voice (not necessarily reflecting any impact on the subject)!

Do you get it?

"Ye fight and war!"

The fighting (which comes first) is so new to the so-called Christian's behavior that he is quite sensitive to it!

But, by continuing this fighting until it becomes war ... James' so-called Believer becomes desensitized to his activity and pursues it relentlessly and habitually!

(Sin always "desensitizes!")

First comes the "fighting!"  (Awkwardly and squeamishly with stress on the fighter!)

Then comes the "warring" (Automatically and without feeling!)

What a view of the progressiveness of sin!

And by the time this cycle is finished ... one is entangled the the endless "cycle" of his sin! 

This even reminds me of a Proverbs verse.  "His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins."  Proverbs 5:22

(I plan to write more about this verse and the paragraph in which it sits in the next "Paragraphs in Proverbs" study.)

We're so glad you've visited here today ... with a Bible in your hand!  You are welcome here anytime to study the precious Word of God!

Don't ever start the "fighting" (one Christian against another) ... then you will never have to worry about the "warring!"

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

JAMES 4:1-3 ... LESSON 8:

This is one of James' most well-known statements.

" ... Yet ye have not, because ye ask not."  James 4:2

And the amazing thing is this.  James places his words of wisdom here at the end of a "warring and fighting" statement!

It is as if he is saying that we have unrealized desires ... simply because we do not "filter" them through God's program called PRAYER!

I can have anything (I really need in God's Will) ... if I will just ask for it!

Things that are wrong, forget them!  (You can't pray and ask God for them anyway! They are outside His will!)

Things that are permissible and approved of God ... WHY just sit around and long for them?

Ask God for them!

Generally speaking, He has promised to grant them!

The verb "have" translates "echo" in the present indicative active 2nd person plural form.  It pictures my entire list of possessions.  (I own nothing proper that God did not give me anyway.  James 1:17)

"Because" is the little Greek preposition "dia." It suggests "the channel of an act!" God's channel for giving me the genuine needs of my life is PRAYER!

And the action word "ask" is English for "aiteo," meaning to request something. (It often carries the idea of asking for something with urgency!)  Often in Greek it was used with such vehemence that it was translated "require or demand!"  Here it is an infinitive (present tense, middle voice).  If we are to keep on having ... we must keep on asking!  (That's what the present tense tells us.) And the asking will IMPACT us personally!  We ourselves must do the asking ... not just expect someone else to do it for us! (That's what the middle voice tell us.)

So ... here is the Bible solution to all lusts (strong desires) and arguments and battles wars among professing Christians ... take those longings to the Lord ... in prayer!  He can (and will) grant us what we need!  And what He does not grant us ... we do not need!  Forget it!

Amen, Brother Bagwell!

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

JAMES 4:1-3 ... LESSON 9:

James 4:3 gives us a tremendous prayer principle!

"Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."

The Greek verb for ask is "aiteo" and means to desire, beg, crave or even to require!  Here it is in the present tense ... suggesting that the action is going on currently.  They are praying regularly!  (And fighting regularly as well!  See these two earlier verses: "From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 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.") James 4:1-2

To "receive not" incorporates the Greek verb "lambano," which means to take hold of!  It is a perfectly acceptable word to use in the context of prayer.  Jesus Himself did so!  (In Matthew 7:8 He says:  "For every one that asketh RECEIVETH; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.")

James' listeners are asking in prayer ... but not getting their requests granted by the Lord!

Let me say it another way.

Here their prayers are plainly NOT answered! 

Why?

We are distinctly told.

"Because" (in Greek = "dioti") here serves as a subordinating conjunction.  That means it introduces a less important but still critical thought to the sentence.  It "links" (the job of a conjunction) the reason for their unanswered prayers to the rest of the sentence. 

So far ... they keep on asking.  And they keep on not receiving.  BECAUSE they ask "amiss!"

What does that important little word mean?

In Greek it is spelled "kakos" and has the idea of that which is bad!  Or worthless! Or even injurious!  (Intrinsically so.  The noun "poneros" pictures active spreading evil.)

By translating the word "amiss" the King James translators obviously are telling us the word means something with "wrong aim."  It "missed" its goal!  Hence ... "amiss." My dictionary says that which is "amiss" has gone "astray."

In both John 18:23 and Acts 23:5 our word ("kakos") is translated "evil."

Our word can also have the meaning of being sick or diseased!  (Sick prayers!)

The word is often used of the sick folks who were brought to Jesus for healing!

That's exactly what we must do with our "sick" prayers also.  Bring them to Jesus and trust Him to fix them!

He will!

And He does that by changing our hearts!

A heart that lusts and fights and wars and kills will not know how to ask things humbly before God!  It will not know how to confine its requests to the limited scope of God's perfect will!  It will not know how to ask "aright!"  (Therefore it asks "amiss!")

While I must leave the last clause of our little verse for tomorrow ("that ye may consume it upon your lusts"), these professing Christians have become simply prayer "consumers."

Most people today (wrongly) define prayer as getting from God what I want!

Prayer (truly) is ... preparing my heart to receive what God sends! (That which is in His will!)

Think about it!

Until our desires are under control ... our prayers can not be effective!

That's what James 4:3 is teaching us this Tuesday in August!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

JAMES 4:1-3 ... LESSON 10:

In some ways this is one of the saddest paragraphs in all the Bible.  Christians ... or at least so-called Christians fighting and warring and lusting and consuming!  And it's all to the detriment of the cause of our dear Saviour!

I recently read a chapter in a history book about the destructiveness of war.  It was amazing!  Did you know that in Vietnam we had "daisy-cutter" bombs that could clear a jungle or forest of all growth (to the size of a football field) for helicopters to land?  I sure didn't!

During the American Civil War (in Virginia) a huge oak tree was cut down to the ground solely by fired bullets from Union forces!  (23 hours of vicious combat) Maybe they weren't very sharp marksmen!

And General Sherman burned the South on his way to the Sea!  (Including Atlanta where we live.)

Did you know that "Chickamauga" means river of death?  (That battlefield in near Chattanooga, Tennessee.)

In fact during the 20th century over 62,000,000 civilians (civilians!) perished.

And we are not even going to consider here the rapes, the children slaughtered, the mutilated bodies or the mass graves!

I am talking about the destructiveness of war!

Plus the mental and emotional devastation must be considered!

It is said that in the 1973 Arab-Israeli war almost one third of the casualties were psychiatric ... indicating the terrific stress of warfare!

Ruined nerves, life-long nightmares, what used to be called "shell shock!"

As I read those words I began to wonder about some other "casualties!"

The damage inflicted by carnal selfish spiritual warfare!

By church arguments and fights!  By folks who hated the preacher or one group within a church despising another group!

By gossip and slander and name-calling!

By secret meetings and political maneuverings! 

(All to help someone finally get what they wanted!)

God, help us!

And we too have left our strings of casualties!

Preachers who have quit the ministry!

Church folks who no longer attend anywhere.

Young people who have witnessed "church wars" and who consequently have sworn off God and religion forever!

ALL BECAUSE OF OUR LUSTS!

So says James!

"... That ye may consume it upon your lusts."   James 4:3

What sadness!

That Greek verb "consume" is "dapanao" and is derived from the word meaning "to devour!" 

Listen to Paul:  "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."  Galatians 5:15   (Devour means to gobble down!  Bite means to cut with the teeth!)

What destruction is left behind!

And in all this ... James (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) gives us the solution to the whole problem!  "Ye ask not!" 

PRAY!  That's what James says!

Prayer can tame our desires!

Prayer can bring peace!

Prayer can even heal the hurts of the wounded!

And the GOD of all prayer alone can help us grown up and mature the way we should!

That, after all, is James' goal for his hearers!

Let's quit fighting and start ... praying!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

JAMES 4:1-3 ... LESSON 11:

I sometimes wonder if perhaps wars and fightings are not just traits of our fallen human natures!

We are all sinners ... until "saved" by the Grace of God!

Mankind seems to be an incurable fighter!

I have even read literature praising war!

One piece suggested that it brings out the "best" in us!  It's on the death fields of battle the author suggested that we see the most brilliant shades of love and loyalty and devotion and bravery. 

James says this kind of selfish warfare is not to be allowed among Christians!

Look at the public's fascination with war stories and war pictures!  What "draws" man to such things?

It is said that some career fighters keep re-enlisting simply due to the love of battle! It gives them a "high!"

Often the war literature describes the euphoria and love of bloodshed or gruesome battle scenes! 

One airman spoke of the "gorgeous" sight of an enemy bomber splattering itself and its occupant against a mountainside!  (Of course I might feel differently too if they had been shooting at me!)

Someone called all this "a delightful horror" or "a terrible joy!"

We lionize it all.  (Lionize =  to treat as an object of great interest or importance)

It called the good old American "fighting spirit!"

Maybe we should also call it the good old Baptist "fighting spirit."

Look at how the kids today love the most violent games ... and the bloodiest programs on television!

Again, we love to fight!

And James has recognized that fact in his "war" paragraph.  And He does NOT like what he sees.

In fact, he tells us how to change things!

Don't lust!

Don't fight!

PRAY!

Let God meet your needs!

And until He does ... be content!

(To fight to defend one's country and freedom is one thing!  To fight for the sheer thrill of it is another!  Likewise ... to fight to defend the Faith is one thing!  To fight my brothers and sisters in Christ over selfish things is another!)

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

JAMES 4:1-3 ... LESSON 12, FINAL LESSON:

As I studied for this text, something overwhelming came into view!  I guess I was just unaware of it before now!

Person after person has begun to blame the wars and fightings and conflicts of this world on one Person:  Almighty God!

One sage said:  "War IS religion!"

A psychologist noted that the Bible is full of warfare.  He emphasized the verse that declares God to be a "Man of war."  (Exodus 15:3 --- "The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.")  From that fact he "jumped" to the (not-so-obvious) conclusion that all war is God's fault!

Excuse me!  But it is apparent that James 4:1-3 is against (at least some kinds of) war!  Jesus encouraged us to be peacemakers ... not troublemakers!

True, we are to fight the devil!

True, God did have wicked societies destroyed in the Old Testament days.  (But not until He had given them over 400 years of goodness and grace ... sufficient time to repent and live godly!)

True, the Bible at places is a "bloody" Book.  BUT that does not mean God started all the hatred!

And do remember this ... the Lord is taking all His children some day to a City called Heaven, a city of PEACE!

Here's the twisted thinking of many.  If a religion can accept all other religions equally ... things will be fine and no fighting will result!  (A huge jump of logic, by the way!  And an erroneous assumption for sure!) 

BUT THE WORLD'S MAJOR PROBLEM IS THAT THERE ARE TWO OR THREE RELIGIONS THAT WILL NOT ACCEPT ALL GODS EQUALLY! 

And, of course, Bible believing Christianity is at the center of his aim here!

The wicked writer says that we "exclusivists" are the cause of all fighting and war and bloodshed!

We who believe that there is only ONE way to heaven!  Only ONE true and living God!  Only ONE Holy Book!

He is wrong of course.

(By the way there IS only one way to Heaven!  In John 14:6 Jesus Himself said:  "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.")

Some today accuse us of being guilty of "raging intolerance!"

I personally believe God WAS at the head of the war against atheistic communism!

And the war against pornography or abortion!

BUT God is NOT at the head of the wars brethren fight against brethren down at the local church!

He is NOT in family squabbles and divorces and hatreds of all kinds!

James 4:1-3 has taught us some valuable lessons. 

Our desires make us fight!

Our desires are never truly met in that carnal fashion!

However God ... through prayer ... can meet our desires and longings!

Bring your needs to the Lord!  Don't "fight" for them!

HE (our great God) can take care of you for sure!

Additionally Christian, let me remind you that we will be at war perpetually (constantly) against three things:  The world!  The flesh!  And the devil!  (But NOT at war against one another!)

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

 

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