"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 kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. 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." James 4:1-3
A rather cranky old grandfather was taking a nap one afternoon when his mischievous grandsons carefully smeared some Limburger cheese in his moustache. It wasn't long until stench woke him up. Sitting up with a start he exclaimed, "My gosh! It stinks in here!"
Retreating to the next room he said again, "It stinks in here, too!"
The same happened in the next room and the next causing him to blurt out, "The whole house stinks!"
Running outside to catch fresh air he found no relief to which he complained, "The whole world stinks!"
Have you ever felt like the whole world stinks?
Does discontent and trouble you seem to follow wherever you go?
Maybe it is just a lousy world you live in. Maybe not.
James informs us that the main problem with your world is the rotten smelly stuff going on in you! And trouble follows you because you ARE the trouble and wherever you go - well - there you are! The one person you can never escape is you!
He said that, not me! I'm just the messenger!
The problem seems to be desires that are at conflict within you. You want what you don't have or can't have and you despise what you do have. Pretty miserable.
Remember that James is written to Christians. So, the desires that were at war within them were their sinful desires versus the will of God. That serves to remind you that you cannot be at war with God and have inner peace.
Earlier in his book, James comments on this same problem using another metaphor. "That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." James 1:7-8
Does that describe you? Is that the turmoil raging in you?
If you have two natures warring within you, one of them has to win and one of them has to lose. God doesn't send His Spirit into your life to be a room mate. When you receive Christ as your Savior He comes in with the plan of becoming your Lord! He won't settle for less.
Christians can be the most miserable of all because they possess the two natures. Non-Christians just sin and don't worry about it because their conscience is dead and they are just doing what comes naturally. But once Christ becomes your Savior and the Spirit is activated in your life, the fight is on! His Spirit wars against your flesh. Someone has to surrender!
Think about it. If you are at war with God, who will ultimately win? Who should win?
If God will win and if He should win why are you fighting a losing battle? When will you surrender? When will you declare Him Lord?