The Cure for the Common Conflict
by Dennis Michelson
Introduction: Conflict is an inevitable part of life. In this passage James uses some strong language to offer an uncommon cure for the common conflict. One effective way to defuse conflict is communication but when hearts are not right then tongues will be used to retaliate - not communicate.
1. The Symptom of the Conflict (3:8-12) - The Tongue
Jas 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Jas 3:9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
Jas 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
Jas 3:11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
Jas 3:12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
2. The Source of the Conflict (3:13-18) - The Heart
Jas 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Jas 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
Jas 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
Jas 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Jas 3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
3. The Seriousness of the Conflict (4:1-4) - Unfaithfulness
Jas 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
Jas 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
Jas 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Jas 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
4. The Solution for the Conflict (4:7-10) - Humility
Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Jas 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Jas 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
Jas 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.