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Let’s Get Ready to RUMBLE

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
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January 29, 2024 9:00 am

Let’s Get Ready to RUMBLE

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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January 29, 2024 9:00 am

In this teaching from James 4, Pastor J.D. answers the question James poses to us all: Why do we fight? At the deepest levels, where do our quarrels and jealousies come from?


Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Anytime you feel rage and anger in your heart, what is it that I want so badly that I'm willing to yell at, abuse or neglect to get that thing? Because these things point, James says, to the presence of an idol.

And that, that is the real source of your conflict. Happy Monday, and thanks for joining us today here on Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer. As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Today we're headed to James Chapter 4 for some brand new teaching here on the program.

Pastor J.D. answers the question that James poses to us all. Why do we fight? At the deepest levels, where do our quarrels and jealousies come from?

For most of us, we think we know the answer. We only fight because they started it, right? But James has a much different answer, a much more convicting answer. So flip to James Chapter 4 if you have your Bible, and let's find out how James tells us to handle conflict.

Here's Pastor J.D. James Chapter 4, if you got your Bibles this weekend, and I hope that you brought them James Chapter 4. In James Chapter 3 and 4, James discusses conflicts that are going on in the church.

Apparently these people to whom he was writing were a real piece of work because he doesn't pull any punches as we have seen. In Chapter 1, he accused them of being arrogant and weak-kneed and double-minded. In Chapter 2, he accused them of prejudice and hypocrisy. And now in Chapters 3 and 4, he accuses them basically of being a bunch of hard-hearted, self-centered, hateful jerks.

That would be the original Greek, how we would translate that. We tend to look back on the early church, and we think, oh, it must have been awesome back then with all of the holiness and the all-night prayer meetings and hobnobbing with the apostles. These chapters show you it was not always awesome. People back then were as difficult and as thorny as they are today.

As James opens Chapter 4, he poses a very, very simple thought question. It's very relevant to us today. What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? One thing that we all have in common is that we experience conflict in relationships. This is what all marriages have in common, the one common denominator, conflict.

I do not care how perfect that family looks on the outside. I promise you they have conflict. People sometimes look at my beautiful, charming wife and assume that because I'm a pastor and because she is so awesome and so friendly and so easygoing that it is always sunshine, rainbows, and giggles over at the Greer house, or that when she and I do have a disagreement that we discuss the issue calmly. We quote some affirming Scripture to each other, and then we end in prayer and a warm embrace.

I can assure you that is not the case. Veronica and I assumed when we got married that we'd have an essentially friction-free marriage. True story, true story, not exaggerating. When we did the session on conflict in our premarital counseling, we actually said to each other later after the session that felt totally irrelevant. Up until that point, up until that point, y'all, we had never had a fight. Then we got married, and God took us through a deep dive practicum, a lab, if you will, in conflict those first nine months or so. So we have known conflict in our family. In fact, y'all know, y'all know that every single week I pray that God will make whatever passage that I'm preaching that week personally relevant to me, you know, just so I'm not up here sharing information, but really, you know, speaking out of what God is teaching me personally. And y'all, my wife is so in tune with the Spirit, and she loves me so much, and she is so dedicated to my preaching ministry that she made sure, and I contributed too, that we got to personally experience this week the verses that we're going to study this week on quarrels and conflicts.

And, and almost all of it happened over text, so you know it was healthy, okay? So, so what is the source of your conflict, James asked you? Now, I asked that, James asked that, and you say, well, easy, and you point to whomever you're having conflict with, and you say, they are. That's the source of my conflict. For those of you that are married, if I asked you to identify the main cause of your conflict, conflict in your life, that'd be dangerous. That'd be a dangerous question for me to ask. If I said, what causes conflict in your marriage?

You would say, her or him, and then you'd start whispering and shaking your heads, and somebody would get up and walk out mad. Most of the unhappiness and strife and conflict in my life, you might say, is there because of you, spouse, because you don't think about my feelings, and you don't think about my needs as much as you do yours. It's because of you, boss, because you never think about the implications that your decisions have on me, and you never seem to appreciate or recognize my efforts. It's because of you, child. You, ungrateful, think you're smarter than the world, think the world revolves around you, child. It's because of you, mom or dad, because you try to control me too much. It's you, dude, who just cut me off in traffic because you assume that you're the only person on the road, you and that ridiculous jacked up pickup truck of yours that you think gives you the right to change lanes whenever you want. I may or may not be thinking about an actual event this week, okay? It's you, it's you, grocery store clerk.

Could you possibly go any slower checking out those items? It's you, mom, of one of the girls in my daughter's class who thinks your kid is so much better than everybody else and that you're the only one who actually knows how to parent. You catching my drift?

You catching my drift? The reason I experience conflict, we think, is because of you. We say to somebody, you're the problem. James says, think deeper, think deeper. Is it not true, he asked, is it not true that the real reason for conflict is that your passions are at war within you? You desire and you do not have, so you murder. You covet and you cannot obtain, so you fight and you quarrel.

Let me try to make that very simple. The reason you have conflict, James says, is you are not getting something that you want. You got something that you feel entitled to, some way that you wanted your day to go, and that person is keeping you from it.

This is true, y'all, in even the most superficial of conflicts, right? I mean, I stayed at a hotel this week. I was on the road and I went to the gym for an early morning workout, which I love when I'm on the road because, you know, you gotta sit in board meetings all day and not only is getting a good workout in, not only is it good for the body, but it's just a time I can put my headphones in, I can listen to a podcast or an audible book, and I can just be quiet. But there was this guy next to me in this gym, this hotel gym, an older guy who was wearing all the tight, you know, way too tight muscle outfits. He's got the braces for his elbows and his knees. He's got the sweat band on his head.

And you're like, I'm like, who carries all this stuff when they're traveling? And he is grunting and breathing and straining so loudly that I was genuinely annoyed. Just everything he did is totally unnecessary. It just sounded gross. And I could barely hear my podcast. It did not turn into anything, this incident, but I was very irritated. Now, what was I really mad about? What was I mad about? If he were doing that near somebody else, I would not have been so mad, but he was keeping me from the vision of how I had seen my morning going.

And that's why I was mad. So you got conflict, James says, because somebody keeps you from something that you want. And your anger burns at them and you resent them. And even James says, you want to murder them. See, verse two again, you desire and do not have, so you murder. Now, some of you are like, all right, murder.

Now you are talking about my family. By the way, James is writing to church people when he says this, not to people in prison. So murder here is metaphorical.

He is talking about murder the way that Jesus did in the Sermon on the Mount, where you rage at somebody and you desire to hurt them. Like I did the guy in the gym. I really wish this guy, Lord, would it be too much to ask that he'd pull a muscle right now? He'd drop a 45-pound plate on his head. Would that be too much? It would serve him right.

And I would get to finish my workout in peace. So James says, the rage in your heart comes from the fact that this person kept you from something that you wanted. Now, I know at this point, you're like, well, wait a minute, Pastor.

No, no, no. I get that. I get what you're saying, but this person really did do me wrong. My husband really was acting selfishly. Or maybe he cheated on me. Or that person genuinely disrespected me. Or they stole from me.

Or they deprived me of something that I legitimately deserved. James is not denying that. But he is saying that the rage, the conflict came because they kept you from something that you wanted. And that, James says, actually points to the presence of two things in your heart that have nothing to do with that other person. And those two things are idolatry and a lack of trust in God.

Now, stay with me here, okay? Because I'm telling you, if you can get this, what I'm about to say, what James is saying, it can unlock a door in your understanding of your own heart and help you understand why so many relationships often go sideways. The key is in that word covet in verse two. You covet and you cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. Coveting is where we want something so badly that we think there is no possible way we could be happy or content without it. It's not that the desire or the thing that you desire is in and of itself wrong.

It's usually not. In fact, the word passion in verse one does not point to a sinful passion. It's not usually something sinful that you desire. You have a desire, for example, for somebody to be on time. You have a desire that they be more thoughtful or to be less selfish or to be faithful to you or more attentive to your needs, and those are legitimate desires. But those desires have become demands.

They've become cravings. They've become things you covet, which control your whole attitude and also determine how you feel about somebody else. Coveting is a kind of idolatry.

James is going to make that connection explicit in verse five. Idolatry is when you require something besides God and his will in order for you to be happy, satisfied, and content. You believe that you need this thing, whatever it is, or this state of things to be happy or content because you think that that's what you need to be happy, and because you think this person is keeping you from that thing, you rage at them. We have all kinds of legitimate desires, but nothing is supposed to control our hearts such that without it, we despair or we become deeply discontent or we rage at or hate somebody else.

Our contentment and our peace and our joy is to be dependent on God alone, being in his will and in the knowledge of his presence, in and control over our lives. So here's the question that you need to ask yourself. What is it that I want bad enough that I'm willing to yell at, tune out, abuse, or neglect to get? What is it in any conflict? This is what you got to ask yourself. Anytime you feel rage and anger in your heart.

What is it that I want so badly that I'm willing to yell at, tune out, abuse, or neglect to get that thing? Because these things point, James says, to the presence of an idol. And that, that is the real source of the conflict. This is Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. We'll return to our teaching in a moment, but I wanted to make sure to remind you about our new featured resource this month. You know, I love a fresh new beginning, a chance to reset. And the truth is that no matter how no matter how well we know God or whether we know Him at all, we could all use a fresh start, a chance to build a more solid foundation. One of the key ways that we can do that is by putting the Word of God into our hearts. What better way to know Him, and I mean truly know Him, than by reading and recalling His Word. It's really the only way that we can walk in step with the Lord. We've got to be intentional to commit His Word to our hearts. So this month, we've put together a pack of 52 memory verse cards to help you carry God's promises with you each day. Memorizing Scripture can be an important first step in not just knowing about God, but truly embracing Him and His promises in our life. This set of cards comes with your gift of $35 or more to the ministry right now.

So give us a call at 866-335-5220 or check it out at Now let's get back to today's teaching on Summit Life. Once again, here's Pastor JD. Saint Augustine said that emotions like rage or bitterness, they function like smoke from a fire. You can follow the trail of smoke back down to the fires in your heart, and they're usually fires that you have built in worship of a false idol. When you see smoke in your house, the last thing that you want to do is just get rid of the smoke. If I come home and my living room is filled with smoke, I don't say, whew, kids, open the windows and turn on the fans.

No, more important than getting the smoke out of the house is figuring out what is causing that smoke. More important than learning to control your rage and your anger. Some of you have learned all kinds of coping techniques. More important than that is figuring out what's causing it in the first place. So just ask yourself, where are you bitter at your spouse? Where do you rage at a boss or a child or sieve toward a friend? They may be at fault.

They may genuinely be at fault. But the rage and the bitterness point to a deeper problem in you. At the end of verse two, James says, you do not have, because you don't ask, pray. Your first problem, he says, is that you've made the wrong person responsible for your needs. You're looking to sleep, you're looking to somebody else to supply something that really only God can supply. Your horizontal conflicts come because of a vertical disruption. You don't trust God here, so you rage here. All right, this is about to get really deep.

You ready? Heard a Christian teacher present this question one time this way. Has it ever occurred to you that what you crave, you're not getting because you're trying to squeeze it out of somebody who doesn't have it? You want control, you want respect, you want significance and satisfaction, you want approval and belonging. What if the primary source of those things was supposed to be not your spouse, it was supposed to be God, not your friends, not your boss, not a big crowd, it was supposed to be him. And now you're looking to somebody else to give you what only he can give you.

Has it ever occurred to you that what you crave, you're not getting because ultimately you're trying to squeeze it out of somebody who doesn't have it? I've told you before that many people approach marriage like a person drowning in a sea of loneliness and despair, a sea of low self-esteem. They see a marriage partner come along like a life preserver who can save them from all of those things. Here you got a guy drowning in life, he's got all kinds of emotional dysfunctions, he's completely unhappy being single, he's miserable, he's lonely, he's purposeless, he's wandering, he's unhappy, he cannot imagine being happy or feeling complete in his life as a single man, even if that's God's will for him for a while. And as he is drowning in this ocean of purposelessness along by floats a five foot two blonde-headed life preserver with beautiful eyes and a gray body. So what does he do? He clings to her and he sucks the life out of her. And when she disappoints him or lets him down, which she inevitably will, he rages at her.

What if she was not designed to supply all those things? Here's what I've learned after 23 years of observing marriages in this church. Lonely, insecure, single people become lonely, insecure, married people. In fact, they usually get worse. If you are unhappy as a single person, you will be unhappy as a married person because that spouse cannot make you happy because problems like loneliness and insecurity are not cured by another human being, they're only cured by the love of God. They cannot give you that sense of identity or security or significance or approval.

They can't meet all of your needs, they weren't designed to. And here's the thing, when something you idolize disappoints you, you demonize it, you rage at it. Remember this, whatever you idolize, one day you will demonize. Has it ever occurred to you that what you crave, you're not getting because you're trying to squeeze it out of somebody or a group of people who just don't have it? I've sometimes said that I wish when I'm doing a marriage ceremony that I could take a Sharpie and draw on the forehead of both spouses before they walk down the aisle a little sign that says, will not support the weight of your soul. Like one of those signs you might see in front of a bridge in a rural area that says, max two tons, which means you can drive your bike across this bridge, you can walk across it, you might be able to drive a Prius across it, but if you try to drive a dump truck across this bridge, it will crumble and you will end up in the creek.

This bridge was not built to support that kind of weight. Marriage can be a wonderful addition to your life, but it cannot meet the deepest needs of your soul. And if you depend on it for that, it will crumble underneath you. Has it ever occurred to you that what you crave, you're not getting because you're trying to squeeze it out of somebody who doesn't have it? Y'all, that's true not just in marriage, I'm merely using that as an illustration. That's true in any relationship. So again, let's go back to that first question.

What is it that I want badly enough in my life that I'm willing to yell at, tune out, abuse, or neglect to get? Those things point to the presence of an idol and that's your real problem, James says. Now, y'all, that by itself will be enough for us to think about for the rest of the day, rest of the week, maybe rest of the month, right? We can just close the Bible and go home thinking about how terrible we all are and how worthy we are of all those names that James calls us. But James, as we would expect, is not done.

James sees us doubled over in pain and so he decides, oh, now it's time to twist the knife a little further. So he says, verse three, remember we ended verse two by saying you don't have because you don't ask. Now he says, verse three, but actually you ask, you pray, but you still don't receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on your passions. In other words, you've tried to turn God into a genie who exists to fulfill your covetous passions. Then he says, verse four, you adulterous people.

Now, this is an interesting and honestly quite disturbing metaphor. James says, some of you do ask God to meet your needs, but he's not answering you because you're praying like an adulterer. So pray tell, you ask, how does one pray like an adulterer? Well, think about it.

Think about it. What is adultery? Adultery is when one spouse finds certain delights in somebody else that they ought to be finding in their spouse. It's not that the desire for romantic or sexual intimacy is wrong. It's that desiring it with this other person is wrong because I've already covenanted it with somebody else.

You are not enough for me romantically and sexually, I am saying to her, I need somebody else. Spiritual adultery is when you find the happiness and security that you ought to find in God. You find that in something or someone else, or you seek it in something or someone else. Adultery in the Bible is always a metaphor for idolatry. Spiritual adultery is when we look to something or somebody else for what we should be finding in God.

Does it make sense? Praying like an adulterer means asking God to become complicit in your idolatry. It means praying with the conviction that unless God supplies this thing that you're asking for, you could never be happy or content in life. And God says, but you're supposed to be happy and content just trusting in me and resting in my presence and in my will for your life. Imagine if a man said to his wife one night over dinner during their date night, hey, when we got married, we said our vows, you promised to fulfill my romantic and sexual needs.

And so I have a request. She's nervous. She's like, I don't quite remember exactly a phrase like that, but go on. And so he proceeds to tell her that he is determined that what he needs to be romantically and sexually fulfilled is for her to arrange a sexual liaison with her friend so-and-so. That date night is not going to end well.

Am I right? If a man actually did that, it would be heartbreaking to his wife, right? She would say, when I made that vow, I meant I myself would be your romantic and sexual fulfillment.

Not that I would be your pimp to arrange that with other people. When we ask God for something and our happiness and our contentment and our emotional equilibrium are dependent on him giving us the answer that we are demanding, that is, we could not imagine being happy without that thing we're asking for, we pray like an adulterer. Do you see that? Because we are seeking a happiness, a contentment, and a security in some thing that we ought to be finding in God. A fitting challenge for us today on Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer. To catch up on previous messages in our brand new teaching series through the book of James, visit us at JD, it seems like sometimes I want to be able to recall scripture easily, but I'm a little rusty on some of the memory verses that I learned as a kid.

I certainly always have the desire to know more scripture by heart. I don't know, Molly, you do it pretty well. When I see you quoting scripture up on stage, it comes out pretty naturally. I'm pretty sure you have instilled this as a discipline in your own life.

Let's just say this. I know how you feel. There are times when I'm like, I know there's a verse in here somewhere that applies to this situation, but I can't come up with the words of it. Even as an adult, I continue to hone this discipline of scripture memory, which is why we're so committed to it and excited about it here at Summit Life. We have a collection of 52 beautifully designed cards, conveniently sized that you can carry around, whether in your wallet or your purse or put on the dashboard of your car or wherever it is that fits on your fridge that would just remind you of the one verse a week you could memorize. Again, imagine at this time next year, you knew 52 verses you didn't know now.

Your life will be different. And so we want to give this tool to those of you that support us here at Summit Life. When you choose to support Summit Life at, we will send you a set of these cards as a token of our appreciation. It's our way of just saying thank you and investing in your spiritual life and to thank you for helping us spread the life transforming message of the gospel. Ask for the scripture memory cards when you give today by calling 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220 or give online at I'm Molly Vitovich inviting you to join us Tuesday as we continue our study in the book of James. See you then right here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-21 01:24:09 / 2024-02-21 01:34:33 / 10

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