What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? James 4:1
Listen: James 4
Relational conflict plagues us all. It creeps into our closest relationships and brings tension to almost every area of our life. This is true of us and also true for some of the first Christians. James, an early church leader, directly addresses the conflict he witnessed within his community of Christ-followers. When he does, he doesn’t attempt to solve each particular conflict. Instead, he discusses the source of the conflict—the heart.
Jesus’s reputation is tied directly to the community of Christ-followers, the Church. Our interactions with one another form a narrative around the character of Christ. If we’re selfish and quarrel, Jesus will be perceived this way. If we’re gracious, kind and forgiving, people will see Jesus this way too. Each of us should hold the name “Christian” in highest esteem. If we identify with Jesus, we bear the burden of his reputation.
James knew this to be true and desired for the Church to represent Jesus well. James points out that our conflict comes from our desires—we war because we want. He also teaches that the path towards restoration with God, and each other, comes through humility and trust. We will explore these themes more throughout the coming week.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
As you begin your week, pray and ask God to help you see how you can represent Jesus better, especially as you mend relationships. You might pray something like, “Dear God, thank you for loving me. I know I’ve had a role in the conflicts I experience. I desire to carry your name well. Please open my eyes.”
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.