“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so 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.
4 You adulterous people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”[c]
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[d] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.”
As an individual and as a nation, pride does not serve us well. It makes us arrogant and unwise. It casts caution to the wind and exposes our vulnerability. It taunts our adversaries rather than trusting in our God. It presumes God’s continued blessings despite our apostasy.
We must each search our own hearts and ask God to reveal areas of pride or situations where we are guilty of “fights and quarrels.” Particularly within the body of Christ, among brothers and sisters who serve God, how can we read this passage and not recognize how sharply it points to the divisions we see between believers? It’s easy to think, “But that’s because they . . . .” But God tells us to examine our own hearts. No disagreement is possible unilaterally. It takes two to have a quarrel.
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