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From pride to conflict!

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Pride in a believer's life always lead to conflict in the church.

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Living in peace, with ourselves and others, is one of things we most desire, but it seems to evade us. This world has lived more years of war than of peace.
The opposite of peace is war, fighting, disputes, and conflict. It is sad when we see that at Christian homes and, mainly, at the Church.
If James wrote these words is probable that many Christians of that epoch were fighting like cats and dogs.
Why was that happening? It seems that James is pointing to pride as the underlying reason behind those fights. Pride is a result of living in the flesh. As Paul also declared it, living in the flesh results in conflict:
Galatians 5:19–20 NASB95
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
A proud person is always a conflict producer. Why? Three reasons can be inferred from these verses:

The proud is led by the flesh.

Verses 1-3 teaches us three areas where the proud is led by the flesh. The flesh leads his passions, desires, or pleasures.

The proud is led by the flesh. 1-3

Passions, Desires, or Pleasures

Jam 4:1
Obviously, it is not referring to desires or pleasures awaken by the Holy Spirit, but to those that opposes to God’s will or desires of the flesh.
Desires and passions that leads to quarrels (polemics) disputes, dissensions, and enmities between brethren.
Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. Any passion, desire, or pleasure that is not conducing to peace among us, is not coming from God. It is coming from the devil, the expert in the creation of conflict. Therefore, we must suppress them.


The word used here is different than the one used on verse 1. Lust (conscupicencia) is the translation of “epithumeo or epithumía
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains 25.20 ἐπιθυμέω; ἐπιθυμία, ας

ἐπιθυμέωb; ἐπιθυμίαb, ας f: to strongly desire to have what belongs to someone else and/or to engage in an activity which is morally wrong—‘to covet, to lust, evil desires, lust, desire.’

It is the word used in when Paul said, “I have not coveted anyone’s silver, gold, or clothing; in when Jesus told the disciples, “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully (or to desire her in his heart)”; and in to refer to “the foolish and harmful desires” in which those who wants to get rich fall into.
For things, money, and immoral desires, the proud is willing to fight and create disunity in the Body.


“You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel” verse 2b
RVA: “ardéis de envidia”
It hurts him not to have what belongs to someone else. It goes beyond just desiring: it bothers him, it makes him mad that others have it and not him.
Some were furiously mad when we offered to give a monthly donation to a person to clean the church: “Why didn’t you give it to me if I did before?” was the question. Their envy did not let them rejoice of the fact that we were assuring that the church would be clean without depending on reluctant or inconsistent volunteers.
The result of their pride-motivated envy was quarrels.

The proud rejects authority.

God has established authorities in the world (presidents, governors, mayors, and police) and in the Church (pastors, elders, deacons, and teachers).
Some say, “I will submit to God, but not man!” Is that possible if God is telling you to submit to human authorities?
God commands us to be submissive to them:
Romans 13:1–2 NASB95
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
rom 13
With respect to Church authorities, God clearly command believers to be submissive to them:
With respect to Church authorities, God clearly command believers to be submissive to them:
Hebrews 13:17 NASB95
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
Heb 13:17
The proud rejects authority and is not willing to be reprehended by them.

Not accepting reprehension.

“No! Why should I do what they tell me?” are his usual responses. “I do not let anyone to tell me what to do!”
“Why should I become a member?” “Why should I tithe?” and I can add many more “whys”...
Do you want to know why you should be submissive to your leaders? Because they watch over your souls! They want the best for you! They want God’s blessings on you, not His discipline.
His pride makes him think that he is above reprehension and correction.
The conflict comes when his leaders confront him with his sin. Instead of being humble and accepting the rebuke, the proud gets mad, fights, tries to points to the faults of his leaders, and leaves the Church. It also creates conflict between those who sympathize with him and the leaders who confronted him or disciplined him.
He rejects authority because he thinks that he is superior to others.

Thinking he is superior to others.

“who are you who judge your neighbor? v. 12
His pride makes him believe that he can judge others, but no one can judge him.
His wrongly perceived superiority makes him think that he can point his finger toward others speaking evil about his brothers or sisters in Christ.
His attitude is “I can tell them that they are wrong, but I will allow that someone tells me what I do wrong”. That’s pride!
Not even Jesus, who is God and became man, felt proud of who He is. On the contrary,
Philippians 2:6–8 NASB95
who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
We must have same attitude of humility! Jesus is our example...

The proud rejects submission to God.

Verse 7: “Submit therefore to God.” Why? Because “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Proud of their knowledge, some people even dare to deny God’s existence. The main reason is that they do not want to submit to God and be accountable to Him.
Proud of their knowledge, some people even dare to deny God’s existence. The main reason is that they do not want to submit to God and be accountable to Him.

Seeking friendship with the world.

“friendship with the world is hostility toward God” v. 4
If God wants us to reach people of this world, it would be illogical to forbid friendship with them. But He condemns friendship with the world. That means adopting the evil practices of the world and trying to please the world rather than pleasing God. The practices of this world do not honor God, they only please the devil, and the flesh.
Due to their pride, believers disobey God and commit spiritual adultery when they are in friendship with the world. That’s siding with the enemy, Satan, the prince of this world.

Grieving the Holy Spirit.

This verse is the most difficult to translate and understand.
This verse is the most difficult to translate and understand.
There are three possible translations:
a- The Spirit who indwells you jealously yearns for you and give more grace.
b- God yearns jealously for the Holy Spirit which indwells in you and give more grace.
c- The human spirit which indwells you yearns to envy, but God give more grace.
Considering that the Spirit has been given to us to guide us and help us to holiness, the first translation would be more acceptable.
The proud closes his ears to the voice of the Spirit and rejects His guidance. This is the one who grieves the Holy Spirit. The Spirit calls him many times, but the proud does not want to listen.
“Most do not listen to the Spirit because they have already decided that they will not obey God’s Word.”
“Do not quench the Spirit.” ()
Our rebellion quenches the Spirit!
Isaiah 63:10 NASB95
But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.
Isa 63:10
But to the humble, God gives more grace
The humble
God always rewards humility.
“It is the humble man whom God protects and liberates; it is the humble whom He loves and consoles. To the humble He turns and upon them bestows great grace, that after their humiliation He may raise them up to glory.” (Thomas a Kempis in “The imitation of Christ”) slide
Do you want those blessings? Be humble and the Lord will give them to you.
Let’s put pride aside, and the conflicts, quarrels, disputes, dissensions, and enmities will disappear.
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