Insult to God
What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. James 4:1-3 NLT
If bitter envy and selfish ambition have filled man’s heart (see James 3:14, 16), the guiding principle is earthly wisdom that is unspiritual and devilish (see James 3:15), and has alienated himself from God, “there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.” (James 3:16). And as James says from the text this is “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you.” When we allow worldly desires over God’s expressed will, there will be quarrels and fights. This is what the Lord Jesus Christ warns His listeners in the Parable of the Soil: “all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced” (Mark 4:19). If this tendency will not be addressed immediately, man becomes a slave to the desires of his heart and separates himself from God. “They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). And when selfish desires reign in one’s heart, it leads to jealousy. “You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it…you fight and wage war to take it away from them” (James 4:2). Covetousness fills the heart and will induce the desire to kill. “‘Now there was a man named Naboth, from Jezreel, who owned a vineyard in Jezreel beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. One day Ahab said to Naboth, ‘Since your vineyard is so convenient to my palace, I would like to buy it to use as a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard in exchange, or if you prefer, I will pay you for it.’ But Naboth replied, ‘The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance that was passed down by my ancestors…’ ‘I asked Naboth to sell me his vineyard or trade it, but he refused!’ Ahab told her…’ ‘Seat two scoundrels across from him who will accuse him of cursing God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death…’ The two scoundrels came and sat down across from him. And they accused Naboth before all the people, saying, ‘He cursed God and the king.’ So he was dragged outside the town and stoned to death. The town leaders then sent word to Jezebel, ‘Naboth has been stoned to death.’ When Jezebel heard the news, she said to Ahab, “You know the vineyard Naboth wouldn’t sell you? Well, you can have it now! He’s dead!’” (1 Kings 21:1-14). We are commanded not to covet. Since we lack the ability to fight the urge to fulfill our desires, as a consequence, life will be filled with hatred. James says, God wants to give what we need but we failed to ask Him or we ask God with the wrong motive. God will refuse to answer prayers that fulfill selfish and sinful pleasures for they are an insult to Him.