02Jun20 - Preacher Diary
THE WEAPONS OF THE FLESH
1 From whence come wars and fighting among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. James 4:1-3.
Stated in this passage, especially in the last two verses, are some carnal means by which men try to approach that which they need. Firstly, verse 1 states that the unhealthy desire for pleasure (which is an expression of the self, or a self-centered tendency) is the source of all fights between people.
1. “Ye lust”
After the ‘Introduction,’ which is verse 1, verse 2 begins to state one of the things people do to get (or in relation to) what they desire: they lust: “Ye lust, and have not.”
What is lust? It is a strong, possessive and degraded desire for something. When there is lust, all parts of the body are possessed enough to express the desire. The mouth would always talk the subject of the lust in the heart; the eyes would try to ‘interpret’ whatever is seen in terms of that desire; friends and enemies are made according to the possessive desire. There sets in a longing and longing and longing.
But desire alone is not what brings results. Desire has other things with which it goes, before result is achieved. Mark 11:24 names them: desire, prayer, belief. In other words, desire plus prayer (which implies or presupposes God as well as presupposes the sense of a personal inadequacy without Him) plus belief (which also means faith), would bring results.
In the Bible, Amnon was one man who tried to obtain through lust. He failed disastrously (2 Samuel 13). Lust cannot bring healthy desires into healthy manifestation.
2. “Ye Kill”
Besides lusting after the things they want, what else do carnal people usually do to get what they desire? They kill. “Ye kill, and desire to have and cannot obtain”. What does that mean? A man desires to have a car. What does he do? He takes a gun, kills a man, and robs him of his car. Or a man desires a beautiful wife, but discovers that the beautiful lady he would have loved to marry, is already married to another man. What does he do? Kill the man who is `standing in his way,’ so that he can `obtain’ the beautiful woman he has `found’ for a wife.
David was one man in Scripture who tried this method. He ran into serious trouble with God. The repercussions of that singular sin lingered on for many, many years after, plaguing his children (2 Samuel 12:9-12).
There are others who would not kill physically but resort to all sorts of calumny and blackmail so as to kill the name or reputation of their ‘opponent.’ Others still resort to witchcraft. It pains them that the other lady’s children are all prosperous, so they decide, through witchcraft, to either kill off all the children of the other family, or render them useless in one way or the other. But the Bible tells us explicitly here, that you cannot obtain by killing someone else.
Do you know anybody who has either killed another man to take his wife or car or house or money? Or someone who became envious and by Satanic means oppressed others because he himself was not prospered? Check up on them, they are very miserable and frustrated. They might have a big name, but their family is in ruins, their children are wasters, rogues and destitutes, otherwise they have an incurable disease which, in spite of how long it has been treated, has defied all modern medical and traditional or even ‘prayerful’ solutions. In these ways, that which was ill-gotten gets drained away.
You cannot obtain by killing. What God says rather, in opposition to this carnal and Satanic means to obtain, is this: rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15); give unto others, and thereby open to yourself a channel of blessings (Luke 6:38).
3. “Ye Fight and War”
What is the next carnal means by which people try to approach that which they need? Wars. “Ye fight and war, yet ye have not.” If you are stronger than the other, you kill him to get what he has. If he is also strong enough, he resists you, so there is war. Or it could be that a certain person does not have the heart to kill, so he provokes a quarrel and uses that as an excuse to move in and `capture’ the other’s property. War is a more deadly approach than the previous two.
You would have discovered that each next carnal method is worse than the previous. For instance, whereas Carnal Option Number 2 might involve the killing of one or two, War involves indiscriminate destruction of lives (not just one or two) and property. It also involves not just one individual against another individual, as, possibly, in the previous case. It involves children and wives and parents and uncles, etc., who would all get involved in the war. Even grandparents could be dragged in. All available weapons are used: the court, money, witchcraft, thugs, even guns and knives. When the disputants are not just individuals but communities or nations, then warships and combat planes could also be involved. In our world today, we have known cases of one stronger nation purposely provoking another smaller or weaker nation, just so as to have an excuse to go to war with it and capture its strategic mineral fields or some other strategic area. In Christendom, this sometimes assumes the form of one church going to ‘war’ with another over membership (or members), the weapons, in some cases, usually involving name calling or some attempt to ridicule the other church and present it as not so spiritual afterall. In critical cases, such deadly weapons as knives and clubs have also been used.
Just as a subsequent carnal method of procurement is usually more deadly than the previous, so is it true that one harmless carnal step leads to a more deadly carnal step. Lust in the first instance, leads to killing which leads to war, etc.
4. “Ye Ask Amiss”
What is the reason for the failure of all first three methods? The same verse answers: “...ye have not because ye ask not.” In other words, if one asks, one should receive; if one seeks, one would find; if one knocks, it shall be opened to one (Matthew 7:7). Somebody may say then, “Okay, let’s all start praying so we’ll get the latest cars; so we’ll each have the kind of wife we want; so the `others’ won’t be progressing more than us.” But then, the next part of the same verse adds the quick caution that even this spiritual method of prayer can be abused, like any of the other three carnal methods. One may say, “I don’t lust, I won’t fight. I believe in God, so I won’t go to any witch doctor. I believe in prayers.” Yet even this spiritual method of prayer can fail him. The religious man can run into the same temptation of the carnal people, and he won’t get that which he wants, for asking amiss. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.” Verses 2 and 3 together would seem to be saying then: “You do not have because you do not ask. Yet some who ask do not have still, because they ask amiss.”
How do they ask amiss? “That ye may consume it upon your lusts.” They ask selfishly. They ask out of competition with others. They ask with their fleshly cravings as the basis for the request. In other words, these ones have a spiritual cover for their carnal skins. They are like the people in the other first categories, except that their own carnality has been ‘spiritualised’ by prayer. They cloak it over with `prayer.’ The same heart, but different approaches.
That would seem to make the point that it is not just praying that brings results, but praying with the right motive. In other words, the motive for praying is also very important to the success of the prayer.
We have briefly seen four wrong approaches to having needs met. The first three are carnal and Satanic. The fourth is also carnal but essentially religious. None of them will get a man what he desires. We will get whatever we desire when we add prayer and faith to desire, and direct them, through God, to what is desired. Amen.
Culled from The Preacher’s book titled: “Breaking Up Fallow Grounds.”
From The Preacher’s diary.