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James 4:1: What Causes Quarrels And What Causes Fights Among You?

James 4:1
[1] What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (ESV)

There is a story told of a church quarrel that went something like this:

"The business meeting at First Baptist was well into its second hour. It had been another cantankerous one. Lots of angry comments, snide remarks, and power plays. And, making it especially sad, the issue on the table wasn’t even an important one. The debate was over a relatively minor recent change to the church’s worship service.

Finally, one of the older members stood. He paused for a moment, looking down at his feet, thinking about how exactly to share what he was thinking. Several members shifted in their seats waiting on the old man to finally speak. At last, he did.

“Who, in hell, cares?” he said.

A couple of the ladies gasped at what they thought he’d said. He continued, “Don’t mishear me. I didn’t just use vulgar language. I asked a question. Who, in hell, cares? We’ve been debating this little bit of nothing issue for ninety minutes. It’s all about each person in this room getting what they want. But who, in hell, cares? Who, having died without Christ and finding themselves in hell, is going to care two hoots about whatever we decide tonight? We’re wasting our time arguing over things that don’t amount to a hill of beans and the world around us is dying without a saving knowledge of Jesus. Who, in hell, cares?”

The old man sat down and there was an awkward silence for the longest time as no one wanted to be the first one to jump back into the previous debate after his words."

James speaks of the folly of quarrels and fighting in the church. When we are in the midst of such a quarrel we are sure to think that the problem is with a particular person and their evil actions. James says that those who are fighting are looking at the wrong enemy. The enemy is internal. Within each of us is a sinful nature that places self first and the needs of others second.

This battle is real. I am sure that everyone who has ever been in the midst of a church fight has experienced pain. The one who receives the most pain, however, is the Savior who bought and paid for the church that is being torn apart. It is so important that the church come together, confess their sin, and each one bring their own sinful passions under the control of the Lord Jesus.

When you are tempted to quarrel with other believers in Jesus Christ think about the phrase mentioned in the story above: "Who, in hell, cares?" It will help you with your perspective.