James 4:1 says, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” He’s talking about conflict. He says there are inner quarrels and fights and they come from our own inner desires. You want something and you don’t get it. You kill and covet but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight and you do not have because you do not ask God.

So ask yourself the following questions – Am I a peacemaker? Am I a troublemaker? Do I like to argue? Am I a contentious person? Do I get my feelings hurt easily? Do I get defensive easily? Do I hurt other people’s feelings?

The mark of a mature person is the lack of conflict in his own life. Paul told the Corinthian church, “You guys are a bunch of babies”. They argued about everything. They argued about the Lord’s Supper, spiritual gifts, leadership, everything. That’s a mark of immaturity. The attitude that says – “I’ve got to have things my way or I’m outta here.” “It’s my way or the highway.” That’s immaturity.

Why is there so much conflict in the world? Why is there conflict in my marriage? Why is there conflict where I work? Why is there conflict between me and a former friend? Why is there conflict between me and another Christian? Why is there conflict between me and God? Why is there conflict?

James says there are two reasons for conflict. James 4:3 “When you ask you do not receive. But you ask with the wrong motives that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” The first cause of conflict is selfishness. When I want what I want and don’t care about who I have to run over to get what I want –  then I’m going to have conflict with somebody. The issue is pride. Me. Me. Me. Me.

How do you know if a person is immature? Look at their prayers. If their prayers are always self-centered — bless me, prosper me, protect me, use me, help me… if this is the only kind of prayer you pray, that’s immature. So, let me ask you – do you pray for other people?

Here is the unvarnished truth – all conflict is ego and pride. When my wife and I have a conflict it’s because I’m proud and I don’t want to admit I was wrong or she was proud and she doesn’t want to admit she was wrong or we’re both proud and we both don’t want to admit it. Pride guarantees conflict at work, church, home, school, wherever. Selfishness — we want things for ourselves.

James 4:11-12 says, “Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it… There is only one lawgiver and judge, one who is able to save and destroy. But you, who are you to judge your neighbor?” The other source of conflict is judging others — judgementalism. All of us are guilty of judgementalism. God says, “Don’t judge people”. If you do this you’re asking for a fight. You’re always finding fault, always stirring up strife, always spreading rumors. Don’t judge!

Why should I not judge? I’m not God. When you judge somebody it’s playing God. There is only one judge, only one lawgiver — God. Also, only God has all the facts, you don’t and neither do I. When I judge you, I don’t have all the facts and I don’t know the motives, and you don’t either. You can’t tell what’s in somebody’s heart. You don’t know. Only God does.

So only God has the right to judge. He has all the facts, He knows everything, He knows all the motives, He sees into our heart. He’s got the truth so He can judge. But we are limited in our insight. We don’t have any right to judge.

The fourth characteristic of a mature person is whether that person is a peacemaker or a troublemaker. God says judgmental people and selfish people are immature.


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