These passages in James are so full of goodness to apply to our sanctification. James knows with wisdom from chapter 3 of his letter that the strife we have in this world is all attributed to the desire for ‘x’ (put anything but God in the ‘x’). It’s either something we don’t have that we want or something someone else has that we want. The selfishness of our culture is beyond words. However, even when you look at how wars are started, it is always over wanting ‘more’. It’s the ending of verse 2 that kills me. “You do not have, because you do not ask.” Now I know where James goes in Verse 3 but I want to camp out here for a second.
1 WHAT LEADS to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? 2 You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask. James 4:1-2 [AMP]
One of my biggest issues is self-sufficiency. I always go to how I can fix, how can I attain, how can I….? Rarely does it go to ‘Can God fix this, would God will that I have, or how can God…’? I always heard this saying and goes something like this, “Search after and love God with your whole mind, heart, and strength, and then do whatever you want…. because, what you will be wanting is what God wants, you will be hearing His voice in your life, seeing His hand moving, and His Holy Spirit will be working in you. I know this is where James is going with this, but I just can help but dwell here in verses 1 and 2 and do the same thing you did—look at the world and all of its problems…and the whole set of reasons are right here in 2 verses.