“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You 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. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” [James 4:1-3]
When’s the last time you actually got in a fight with someone? I don’t know about you, but I’m not a very confrontational person. It’s kind of hard for me to relate to what James is talking about when it comes to fighting and arguing with people. Or maybe you’re the opposite. Maybe you wear your emotions on your sleeve and freely let people know what you’re thinking and feeling. No matter where you fall on that spectrum though, we can all relate to the heart issue behind what James is talking about here. The issue behind what James is talking about here comes down to comparison and jealousy. Too often we look to our friends, our family, our classmates, or the people we follow on social media, and think “I wish I had what they have”, or “I wish I look the way they look”, or “I wish I was as talented as they were.”
But what if you let God define what your life should look like instead of comparing your life to someone else’s?
Don’t get me wrong, having people in your life that you look up to and model your life after isn’t what I’m talking about here. That’s amazing. But the truth is that too often in our lives’ we miss what life God has for us because we are trying to emulate someone else’s. In reality God has given each of us different lives’ to live.
James mentions that we do not have the things in our life we want because we ask with wrong motives. It’s easy to read that and think, “so I will just change my attitude and God will give me what I want.” A better thought to have actually begins with a question.
“God, what do you want to do?”
From that question comes ideas, feelings, and thoughts about what your life should look like. There’s no magic word to figure it out. It just comes from spending time with God and letting him realign what you want with what He wants.
I don’t know what your prayer life is like, but I do know that it is through prayer that you get to understand God more. When you know God more, you will know what he wants more, especially what he wants your life to look like.
To end you can pray this:
“God I want what you say to be what I build my life around. I don’t want comparison or jealousy of other people be what I build my life around. Reveal your heart to me. Reveal your plans to me. Amen.