Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Showing Love At Christmas

James 4:1

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?

RayMcDHave any of us ever seen a child throw a temper tantrum? Maybe it was because they didn’t get what they wanted or what they thought they deserved? Maybe they were in the grocery store and wanted a certain box of cereal they had seen on TV. Maybe it was Christmas morning or at a birthday party and the gift they wanted wasn’t there or the gift they got disappointed them somehow. I pick on children because they haven’t learned to hide their emotions like many of us have (some of us haven’t yet). They let that raw heart-felt emotion show many times.

Adults are not innocent here my friends. I have seen grown adults – in church meetings no less – throw temper tantrums – throwing down a clip board – pulling power plays to gain an upper hand in a discussion – and more. Do we ever sit back – after an outburst by someone (or by ourselves) and wondered – where did that come from? James asks that question today – What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?

James says this about what battles within us: James 4:1-3 – 1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 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. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

I read a book a few years ago that opened my eyes in this area. It was a book written by Andy Stanley titled Enemies of the Heart. In this book Andy tells us that those thoughts and emotions we have tried to hide – sometimes – come from within us. He writes about four enemies of the heart: guilt (I owe you), anger (you owe me), greed (I owe me), and jealousy (God owes me). I recommend this book to everyone! It has helped me and I re-read it from time-to-time. We can also listen to Andy’s podcasts on these subjects on iTunes (search for Andy Stanley Leadership Podcasts in the iTunes store). The series that matches this book is called Enemies of the Heart. He covers all four – guilt – anger – greed – and jealousy.

A side note – and it is important – we may think we have learned to hide our emotions and have learned to guard our tongues – but far too often what is in the heart will surface one way or the other – physically – emotionally – or spiritually. We all need healing and I know I am learning a lot about why I do certain things as a person and as a pastor by reading this book and listening to these podcasts over and over. I would urge all of us to read and listen with an open heart and see what God can tell us.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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December 20, 2016 - Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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