James 4:1-12 “What Causes Fights?”

James 4-1-12 2 (audio File)


This is, believe it or not, the eighth message in our series of James. We stared it 12 weeks ago however, so it has seemed longer that we have been in it.

So, just to bring you up to speed, James is a leader in the church of Jerusalem, he is the brother of Jesus, and he introduces himself as a servant of Christ, more specifically a bond servant of Christ. We established in the first week of this series that we need to have our identity in Christ if we are going to be able to understand the commands and instructions given to this church. All of the things he tells us we need to do must come out of our relationship with Christ, they are in no way meant to be things that we are to do in order to become Christians, they are things we do because we are Christians. We must get that straight, and keep reminding ourselves, because we are prone to forget that. We saw how we are to count our trials of various kinds as joy, because they are used by God to produce steadfastness in His people. He then began to share with us some principles for Christian living. He reminded us that hearing is not enough for Christians, we must act on what we hear. He reminded us not to show partiality to anyone based on outward appearances. He reminded us that true faith will have evidence called works. Not that our works will save us, but that our works are evidence for what is already true of believers. We looked at our words, and what they mean for us and others. and our last message was about the difference between earthly wisdom, and Godly wisdom. We saw how earthly wisdom’s ultimate goal is to bring glory or attention to ourselves, but wisdom from God will ultimately bring Glory and attention to God. So, what does James have for us this week? Well I think what he has to say to us this week is for a specific group of people. The group of people that James is addressing with this next text, is primarily Christians who are breathing. So, if you are a Christian, and you are breathing, this message is for you. I would say even if you are not a Christian, this will help you see your need for Jesus. Especially, if you think the Christians are a bunch of Hypocrites.

What James is going to address in us today is the root cause of quarrels and fights among people. Now, I know that none of us in here ever have quarrels and fights with one another, but in case you ever do, this will help you know what is at the root of them.

Before we read the text, I want to make a distinction between quarrels (fights) and disagreements. two people can disagree about something, and not be quarreling. Quarrels may start over a disagreement, but they are not the same thing. A quarrel is what I would call an escalated disagreement. It is when the disagreement gets personal.  Let’s say you are in a disagreement with your spouse about where to go for dinner, and one of you wants pizza, and the other wants Chinese. You know you have moved from a disagreement to a quarrel as soon as someone’s mother gets mentioned. Right? When you realize that what you are talking about has nothing to do with dinner, and everything to do with getting your own way. There is no consideration, you just want to be right. Now, there are much more important things to disagree over, but the principle is the same, we need to be able to disagree with one another, without quarreling. So, how do we do that? Lets look at what James says, and find out.

  1. You are the root cause of the quarrels you get into.
  1. Your desire for possessions. v. 1-2
  2. Your desire for Comfort v. 3
  3. Your desire for Exaltation. v. 10


  1. Desire to have your own way is called adultery. v. 4
  1. v. 3 is an indictment to the thought that God is here to make your life better. And that you are the one who knows how that should happen…
  2. We are adulterous when we desire what the world has to offer above what God has given us.
  3. It makes us an enemy of God, because we will no longer be working with Him, and for his Glory, we have become uppermost in our own affections, and therefore have placed ourselves over God. and God will not share His Glory.


  1. There is Grace for the humble. v. 6
  1. Submit Yourself to God. v. 7
  2. Resist the Devil. v. 7. Satan is always there lying to us, the same way that he lied to Adam and Eve. telling them, that they too could be like God. Tempting us to put ourselves on the throne that only He can sit on, trying to distract us and convince us that there is more joy in the creation than the creator. We must resist his lies.
  3. Draw Near to God. v. 8 to draw near there are things James instructs us to do.
  1. Cleanse your hands and purify your hearts.
  2. Humble Yourself before God and respond yet again to the fact that He is the only one worthy of anyone’s worship.
  3. Cling to the Cross. accept Jesus’ atoning death on your behalf, and be forgiven.



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