James 4: 1-3, 7-8
Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
I suppose there is a comfort in knowing that the epistle writer experienced many of the same ills that need addressing today. Conflict, from where it comes, and how we deal with it. So often we blame as a way to engage and enlist others in our efforts to get what we want. In these few verses James put the responsibility for conflict on us, ultimately because we don’t get what we want.
The kicker in this may be that we begin with our wants in the first place, rather than submitting ourselves to God. Rather than submitting ourselves to God we give in to selfishness and “being right,” which create divisiveness and enmity among the people of God. Sounds kind of like the devil we are supposed to be resisting. I am reminded of an old saying, “garbage in, garbage out.” When we constantly consume conflict and dispute, we will constantly engage in conflict and dispute. Perhaps we resist the devil, and the devil will flee. O God, may our first steps always be to draw nearer to you rather than blame, conflict and garbage.