“Where do the wars…and…the conflicts among you come from?” (James 4:1)
I’d like to know, wouldn’t you? We see our city, our country and our world being torn apart daily by conflicts at all levels—even the ones that threaten to destroy our own families. Come to think of it, civilizations have been dealing with conflict in one form or another since Eve and Adam had their first argument about sampling the forbidden fruit.
Of course, there are often complex political reasons, but St. James cuts through the arguments and tells us that conflict stems from sin—from those things within us that are at enmity with God. We may not always acknowledge it, but a war is raging right now in each of our own hearts! Our desires for the things of God are directly opposed to our desires for the things of this world.
As we contend with these dueling desires, the internal conflict can become external and cause strife with other people. No one is exempt from this tension as even the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest (Mark 9: 33-34). So what’s the answer? Should we just resign ourselves to a life of battles and wars?
St James says absolutely not! He outlines two key steps to overcoming this conflict. First we should submit ourselves to God (and also resist the devil). Secondly, if we come to God, He’ll come to us. Yet before taking those two steps, we have to look within ourselves and recognize the struggle we’re facing. For example, when realizing I can’t deal with a particular circumstance in my own then I’m ready to ask God for help! How about you?
If you want peace, then start by building peace in your own life. Humbly turn over your heart to God. Ask Him to help you resist the passions that are pulling you away from Him. If you do, you’ll see victory—little by little. You’ll become more peaceful as you become more closely attached to Jesus—our Prince of Peace. Then, the people in your family, at work and in your circle of friends will be drawn to you as they sense that peace. They’ll even start to change too (but they’re not going to tell you that). As the old song says, peace on earth really can “…begin with me!”
In God’s Time,