Saturday, November 09, 2013

James 4:1 – 10
The failure of desire

“Carving” – Greek word for (unrestrained) gratification.  Natural or sinful. (Hedonism – philosophy that the pursuit of pleasure or happiness is the highest good.)

Problem: Christian hedonism.  We do things to feel good, pleasure, happiness… unaccepting of pain.  Mistake emotion and energy for truth.

I.             The symptoms of this crisis of desire.
                A.            Fighting:
                                1.            [v 1] Internal battle.
                                                a.            Romans 7:15:  I don’t know what I’m doing, because I don’t                                                                   do what I want to do. Instead, I do the thing that I hate.
                                                b.            Romans 7:19: I don’t do the good that I want to do, but I do                                                                    the evil that I don’t want to do.
                                                c.             Romans 7:24:  I’m a miserable human being. Who will                                                                              deliver me from this dead corpse?
                                                d.            Psychologist call this “cognitive dissonance” (the                                                                                            difference/tension between what we believe and how we                                                                              live our life)  “Action changes belief.”
                                2.            [v 2] External battle.
                                                a.            Insist on our own way/will – opposed to someone else.
                                                b.            Become angry – anger is considered “sincere” in American                                                                            society – it means we get what we want.
                                3.            RESULTS:
                                                a.            We can become bitter – deep, nagging, unconscious anger.
                                                b.            Prayer is replaced by effort.
                B.            Selfishness [v 3]:
                                1.            Wrong motives (NIV)…
                                                a.            Literally “evil intentions” (in character, influence, effect)              
                                                b.            1 John 2:15 – 16: Don’t love the world or the things in the                                                                        world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is                                                                        not in them. 16 Everything that is in the world—the craving                                                                    for whatever the body feels, the craving for whatever the                                                                       eyes see and the arrogant pride in one’s possessions—is                                                                          not of the Father but is of the world.
                                2.            Pleasures (lust/desire/craving)
                                3.            RESULT:
                                                a.            Prayer is rejected
                                                b.            God does not grant the request
                C.            World likeness (“worldly”)
                                1.            [v 4] A friendship with the world:
                                                a.            James calls this an adulterous relationship: “unfaithful”
                                                b.            It makes us an “enemy” of God.  [Back to our condition                                                                               before we were saved, see Romans 5]
                                2.            [v 6] Pride is the root.
                                                a.            Opposed to God?
                                                b.            Opposed by God.

II.            Strategies to curb desire.
                A.            Know what the real battle is… spiritual warfare [v 7]
                                1.            Submit to God
                                                a.            Acknowledge (confess and repent) sin.
                                                b.            Accept the gift of Jesus shed blood on the cross.
                                                c.             Actually obey, don’t pretend.
                                2.            Resist the devil
                                                a.            Military term – “to arrange in battle against”
                                                b.            To take up battle position against the devil.
                                                                1.)           Recognize where the battle is:
REALITY: we spend too much time distracted and too much energy wasted on each other.
Ephesians 6:12: We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens.
                B.            Clean up your act. [v 8]
                                1.            Come near to God… TO DO
                                                a.            Our responsibility is to cooperate with God.
                                                b.            Basic things to do:
                                                                1.)           Read/study the Bible
                                                                2.)           Pray
                                                                3.)           Attend church
                                2.            Wash/purify: TO GET RID OF
                                                a.            Our responsibility is to cooperate with God.
                                                b.            Basic things we can do:
                                                                1.)           Consider your environment (distractions and temptations)
                                                                2.)           Is there something you cannot do without? (it’s called an                                                                                             “addiction” and most of them are not healthy.)
                C.            Humble yourself [vv 9 – 10]
                                1.            The idea of humble = to agree with God.
                                                a.            We agree that God is God and we are not.
                                                b.            We understand our place…
                                                c.             We consider others.
                                2.            The idea of grieve = genuine sorrow and need.
                                                a.            Literally James is asking us to “be distressed.”
                                                b.            This happens when we put things into perspective.
REALITY: When we are not grateful we think we deserve more.  (We put Thanksgiving before Christmas so we can acknowledge the source of the gifts we receive.)

III.           The rewards of conquering desire.
                A.            We feel peace.
                                1.            We stop fighting with ourselves and each other and do real battle with the                                                          enemy.
                                2.            We endure fewer self-inflicted, strife induced problems.
                                3.            We enjoy more victories.
                B.            We feel “clean.”
                                1.            Doing God’s will/work brings satisfaction.
                                2.            Avoid weakening ourselves with conflict’s style:
(ill) Think of monkeys as cares/anxieties/desires.  Monkeys need to be fed or they die and rot and stink.  Monkeys that are fed become big ugly gorillas.  Gorillas have their way… we feel dirty, ugly, guilty, empty, without energy.

                C.            God will lift you up
                                1.            Freeing to know God will take care of business.  (The monkeys)
                                2.            Relieves stress to let God do what God does.

                                3.            Glorious seeing prayer answered.

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