James 4:1

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

New car, new job, new wife, new driver, new putter, new cell phone . . . The list could go on and on for the many things that come through our minds to make life better. Thankfully, the wife thing has not been one of them, but I can relate to the new driver and flashy new putter desires. Many times after a round of bad putting, my “member”created a spiritual internal battle convincing me that my current putter is bad because my putting stroke is subjectively flawless.

When we have an emotional or personal affliction, we too often consider upgrading something we already have in our life. James 4:1 teaches us that many times the problem lies with “the things” we already have. We need to do more subtracting rather than adding in order to find contentment. If a cell phone has become my priority, maybe I need to look at it and depend upon it less and less. If my friends’ posts on Facebook get me agitated every time I open up the application, maybe I need to open it less frequently instead of starting an Instagram account. Our problem is not needing more and better, but being satisfied and thankful for the blessing of less.

In Romans 7:23, the pain and reality of these fleshly pressures are revealed. Paul wrote, “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Our mind convinces our body of a supposed need and we then find ourselves captive until this need or “fever” is satisfied. Thankfully, I haven’t had it in a while, but I’m very familiar with “new car fever.” Our current automobile is fine, but we have an intense hankering for a new automobile. We feel only one thing can satisfy our need – – buying a new car. We don’t instantly buy the new car, but convince ourselves that the need must be real if the feeling or desire is still there within us next week. There is no doubt our flesh will be infected with this fever until we realize our current state is very sufficient and we really have no need.

Our flesh emphasizes our “withouts” more than our “withs.” We think we can fill our supposed “without” instead of rightfully and prayerfully managing our “with.” It’s like watching QVC or any of the commercials showing a brand new device to make life easier. I never knew my old umbrella was insufficient until I watched one of these ads. Now, I have three of the reverse folding umbrella tricks lying around.

A wise Puritan theologian and pastor wrote, “‘it is not by increasing of wealth, but by diminishing of our desires; for certainly that man or woman is a rich man or woman, that has their desires satisfied.” Thus, the strategy to employ against this type of internal war is to lessen our level of earthly desire in order to have a spirit of contentment for the present blessings already in our garages or golf bags.

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