From James 4:1-10. The Cure for arguments is humility. The cure for defeating pride and selfishness and self-centeredness in your life is humility. V. 6 & 10 “God … gives grace to the humble. Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
What is grace? Grace is God’s power to change. What would you like to change about yourself? Whatever it is, you need grace to do it. What do you want to change about your relationships, your marriage, your family? Whatever you would like to change, you need grace. You can’t change it on your own. You need God’s power and that’s called grace. Grace is the power to change, and there is only one way you get grace. You humble yourself. God doesn’t give grace to people who are full of pride and think “I can do it on my own.” He gives grace when we come and say, “God, I need your help.” And that’s where we get the power to make the changes we’d like to see. What does this look like practically?
V.7 “Submit yourself then to God.” Let God be God in your life. Give Him control. Put Him in charge. Yield yourself to Him. This is the starting point. Quit trying to run your own life. In v. 1 it says “…your desires that battle within you…” James says that conflict that happens with other people happens because you have conflict on the inside. You don’t get along with other people because you’ve got a civil war in your life. This is the real issue. The starting point is making peace with God first. When God is in charge of your life, you don’t need to win every argument. When God is number one in your life, you’ll find you want what is best for others. You’ll have a new desire to serve. You’ll find new empathy for others who irritate you. Make peace with God. Let God be God in your life.
And there’s one more thing – if you want to stop the conflicts in your life, if you want to get along with other people, avoid arguments, learn to ask forgiveness from God and from those you hurt. v. 8 “Wash your hands … purify your hearts…” Our hands represent our conduct and hearts represent attitudes. He’s saying, clean up your act. v. 9 (LB) “Let there be tears for the wrong you’ve done.” Don’t minimize what’s happened. Take it seriously. Be sorry for your self-centeredness. It is a big deal when your wife’s feelings are hurt. Take it seriously. If someone says you’ve hurt them, you’ve hurt them. It may not be a big deal to you, but it was to them. Be willing to ask forgiveness. Be willing to go back to that person you’ve hurt and make things right. Think about someone you’re in conflict right now.
Would you like to begin to resolve the conflict with that person? How do you do it? Are you willing to go and apologize for your part? Maybe they are 95% wrong and you’re only 5% at fault, but you take care of your 5% and let God handle the other 95% in their life. Their response is their response.
Maybe you say something like this – “I know we’ve had our differences and I know I haven’t always been thoughtful. A lot of times I’ve thought more about myself than your needs.” How humbling that would be! Right! Because God gives grace to the humble! If you want to change, the only way you’re going to change is to be humble, and the only way to be humble is to go and ask forgiveness. It’s hard but do you want to change? Do you want to reduce the conflict? Maybe the way you do it is by cracking the door open by you taking the first step even if they are primarily at fault. Admit what you’ve brought into the relationship that was wrong. It’s humbling, sure, but God gives grace to the humble. Maybe this week you need to write a letter, make a call, make some restitution even to that person who’s wronged you, hurt you, irritated you. Not a sermon, just a thought.