Devotion #25

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?

James 4:1 ESV

Being self-righteous means we are more concerned with the sin of others in our lives than we are concerned with our own sin. We complain about how other people treat us more than we ponder our own shortcomings. This is the single greatest reason our marriages fail. 

Our hearts are so deceitful that it clouds over the way we see ourselves, and blurs the way we see our spouses. We think we know their hearts as well as God knows them, so we judge and assume what they are thinking rather than showing them grace as He shows us grace.

Being in a right relationship with God means we are content with our circumstances. We are able to find rest in Him, and the peace we feel flows into our circumstances and relationships. Don’t be mistaken—it does not mean we are without conflict, but our peace is not contingent upon the situations we are facing. We trust that God is sovereign, and we know that He is at work. 

So, when we are struggling to find that peace, we must look to our own hearts—NOT others. James explains that it is the desires within our hearts that cause the conflicts between us—not the outside forces. My friends, the battle is within ourselves. The desire for security, love, respect, good relationships can all battle within us for a seat on the throne of our hearts. It’s not that it’s wrong to desire those things, but when they become an expectation in our relationship, our passions within us will wage war for those things. We place such importance on those things that they become our idols. 

The internal conflict we experience heightens our insecurity, and causes us to take extreme measures in our relationships with others. Now, each of us has these deep desires and conflicts within ourselves, and when we interact with our spouses, these passions and conflicts at war within our own hearts bump into each other. Our expectations are not met when the other person doesn’t place priority on our desires, and the tension grows. 

Our passions at war within us tempt us to believe we have the right to control. But that desire to control only leads to destruction and discontent. When we are struggling through difficult circumstances, our desires for peace, good relationships, etc., are not being met. We desire and cannot get what we want, so we seek to destroy or fight with others. 

Our passions seek to kill our relationships when we don’t get what we want—we think we are so entitled to what we believe is the right way to be treated, that we are willing to end our marriages when they fail to meet our expectations. That is great wickedness, my friends, and those thoughts are rooted in pride. 

Look into your own heart today, and at your own responsibility for the conflict you are experiencing, and confess how your desires not being met have contributed to the challenges you experience in your marriage. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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