1 From whence come wars and fightings 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.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
The brother of Jesus, whose Resurrection we celebrate this weekend, tells us that the same sin that causes people to fall into adultery leads them into war.
Lust is the sin. God is the cure.
America is at war this weekend. It may not be the bloodiest war the nation has been engaged in its history, but there is no end in sight. There is no honorable conclusion on the horizon. Prisoners are being taken. Civilians are being killed. And no one is quite sure why.
The official explanation is that Kosovo wants its independence. America and its NATO allies support that. But a few years ago, in the same region, Bosnian Serbs demanded their independence, and America and NATO said no.
So the explanations simply don’t hold water. As with many wars, as James points out, this one is being fought because of man’s lust for power. And some people still question whether character really counts, or whether the so-called “private life” of a leader is the business of the people.
Sin inevitably leads to more sin.
Sin is an unpopular subject today. Whenever I mention that three-letter word in my column, many people write to complain. People do not want to be confronted with the reality of sin.
But it is real. And unless we confront it — openly and honestly — it festers, it grows, it thrives, and it destroys.
It’s destroying our country today. It’s destroying our world.
There’s only one solution to the sin problem — repentance. Sin has already been overcome. Victory over it has already been won. It came about 1,970 years ago when Jesus Christ offered Himself up for a sacrifice on the cross and three days later rose from the dead.
Because of that well-documented miracle, all we have to do today to escape the ravages of sin and live forever is to claim that victory as our own personal victory in the blood Jesus.
Jesus’ brother James tells us how to end wars, too. We’re to humble ourselves as individuals and as nations before God. We’re to beseech Him to intervene in our lives and to bless us with His grace.
In other words, America, the solution is to pray — to get down on our knees and remember who really rules the universe. It is not ruled by temporal world leaders — no matter how many cruise missiles or Stealth fighters they might have in their arsenals. Those seeking historical legacies or new world orders do not rule it. It is not even ruled from the Earth or by man. God is the sovereign ruler of the universe. And one day soon, His Son is coming back to Earth to rule over the whole world.
I would say there is no better time to remember the advice of James than on this weekend, when Christians around the world rejoice for the price paid by His brother on the cross. And, if man can’t get it right by humbling himself before God and seeking His wisdom and grace, let’s pray that Jesus comes back soon and teaches us how to get it right.