We're going to be looking at what James has to say on “How to Avoid Arguments”. As I talk with couples one of the most common complaints I hear from people is "We just can't seem to get along. We argue so much. We love each other. Why is it we have major blowups over such minor issues?" I talk with parents who say, "With my kids there is constant drama tension. I don't understand why we're always in an argumentative mode."
James talks about that. In this passage on how to avoid arguments he gives us both the causes and the cures.
At the very start of this message, think of the person that causes the most conflict in your life. You're going to get the most out of this message if you think about the person who causes conflict in your life and how to avoid arguments with them.
James doesn't beat around the bush. He gets right to the point. Long before modern psychology came along he had some profound insights on the cause of conflict. 4:1 "What causes fights and quarrels among you. Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" James says that the cause of arguments is conflicting desires. When my wants conflict with your wants the sparks are going to fly. Any relationship can end up being involved in serious road rage if they do not perform certain check-ups.
Conflicts begin early on in life. If you don't think so, that's because you've never had the privilege of hearing a baby scream when they don't get their own way. Maybe you've never found yourself arguing with a 2 year old. Arguments affect everyone (of all ages). There are always going to be conflicting desires. Frustrated feelings cause fights.
What desires? The Bible makes very clear here and other places in Scripture that there are three basic desires we have that cause conflict. These desires are legitimate desires unless they're out of control. They are God-given desires. But when you put them above other people, when they become number one in your life, they will cause conflict. What are they?
1. THE DESIRE TO HAVE
We want to have things. Materialism. Possessions. v. 2 "You want what you don't have ... you long for what others have." God created things to be used and to enjoy. That's what they're there for. We use things and love people. The problem is when we start loving things. We start loving things and using people. e.
It's very easy to fall in love with things these days with all the TV commercials and slick marketing. The desire to have becomes number one in your life and that creates conflict. Someone asked Howard Hughes one time, "How much does it take to make a man happy?" He said, "Just a little bit more." The thrill wears off very quickly. We've got to learn to deal with the desire to have. If you decide to base your life on comparing it to other people, you will never be happy no matter how much you get. There's always something more.
Avoid road rage today by avoiding the desire to have!