Have you
ever done something and asked yourself, “now, why did I do
that?”  I certainly have.  I look back over some things I’ve done and I
ask, “why did I do that!?”  I
think of one time when I was sitting in the car sweating (it was summer) and it
was getting warm.  After a few minutes of
sitting in the car when it was 100 degrees outside, I made the brilliant decision
to turn the car on and turn on the air conditioner.  Smart, huh? 
Why did I ever turn the car off? 
Why do you do the things you do?  What
is your motivation?


1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from
your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so
you kill.  You covet but you cannot get
what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask
God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong
motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.


James is
talking about something much more serious than being hot in the car on a summer
day.  James is trying to help Christians
see that the issues that divide us are often issues of our own


Instead of
sowing peace among the church (James
3:18), how often do we cause problems because of our own “desires that battle within” us. 
The Greek word translated “desires” is hedonon which is the source word from which we get the word
“hedonism”.  Hedonism is the
philosophy viewing pleasure—and by extension: the avoidance of pain—as the chief
goal of life.  No wonder we have these
problems, right?  We are trying to please
ourselves and avoid pain at all cost!  As
such, we bite, kick, scream, argue, fuss, and rip apart just to try to take
care of ourselves.  Is this the attitude
of a servant?


Why do you
do the things you do?


Ask yourself
that question: why do you do the things you do?


James tells
us our motives matter to God.  He tells
us we don’t have because when we do ask, we are asking with these wrong
motives.  We ask God—when we do ask God—for
our own benefit.  Or, as James put it: “that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”


May we
carefully examine ourselves.  May we
carefully examine our motives.  May God
show us if we are fighting for our own pleasures.  And may God help us.