"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. 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."
As I (Lindsay) sat at work a few days ago, a scene from a tv series I had recently watched came to mind. The scene went something like this...there were quite a few people stranded on an island as a result as a plane crash. A group of people was building a raft in hopes of sailing off the island. However, their high hopes were soon crushed when a man who was a high school science teacher approached them. He was concerned about when they were planning on leaving the island in the raft. The monsoon season was approaching. Soon the tides/currents, etc. would shift, causing them to sail off course into less heavily traveled areas, and therefore decreasing their chances of being rescued or spotted on the raft. The group, who was planning to sail out the following day, was quite upset that this man had said nothing to them until that day and asked, "Well, when should we have left?" The man's response was simple..."Yesterday."
This scene flashed back into my mind at work because as I sat in the office, it seemed that the only people who came in to see us that day had one thing in common-- impatience. As I searched for a way to describe what the overwhelming theme of the day was, this phrase came to mind, "Everybody wants everything yesterday."
Don't get me wrong. I'm not claiming to be the queen of patience, but the situation did make me think quite a bit about today's culture and attitudes as well as the Scripture I had read that morning (posted above). I began to ponder the question, "What causes fights and quarrels among you?" James is puts it simply when he says in the later verses, "You desire but you do not have...You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight."
Today, we are often spoiled with instant answers and results. We don't know the answer to a question, so what do we do? We Google it...and (of course depending on how fast of an internet connection we have), we have the answer almost instantaneously. We want the fastest, latest technology...as soon as it comes out. And this attitude, whether we like it or not, permeates other areas of our life. Put in short, we simply don't like to wait.
But let's take that a step further. How often does that transfer into our relationship with God? We ask, but we don't receive...at least not when we think we should, or not how we think God should respond.
I understand that the above is not a new topic, however, I think there is a challenge to be taken from this other than just simply having more patience. The challenge is taking these "unanswered" desires captive as well as the frustration and anger that comes with them. The challenge is to not let these disappointments rule us or ruin our relationships, but use them as an opportunity to grow and mature in character. So, what causes fights and quarrels within you? What causes fights and quarrels among you and others? What causes fights and quarrels among you and God?
I want to challenge you to search for the answers to these questions. Seek them out. Use them to grow and mature as a disciple. Reconcile your differences- whether they be grudges you hold within yourself, how you've treated someone else, or how you've treated God and your relationship with Him. Are you content with things not going your way yesterday? Are you content with not getting what you wanted today? Are you upset that God hasn't answered you or has answered you in a different way than you expected? How will you react? Will you let it ruin you from the inside out or will you let what you didn't receive yesterday help you grow today?
Jon & Lindsay