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War for happiness

Book of James   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Declaration of Independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As a nation we have become obsessed with the last line of this declaration, the pursuit of happiness
But what is happiness and where is happiness found?
In our pursuit of happiness
The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness. —ERIC HOFFER, The Passionate State of Mind

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring. And that is not happiness. —F.H. BRADLEY, Aphorisms

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring. And that is not happiness. —F.H. BRADLEY, Aphorisms

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring. And that is not happiness. —F.H. BRADLEY, Aphorisms

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring. And that is not happiness. —F.H. BRADLEY, Aphorisms

The secret of happiness is to admire without desiring. And that is not happiness. ---F.H. Bradley, Aphorisms
As a nation, we have pursued with great passion and vigor the illusion of what we call the American dream
we all want our piece of the pie.
But when happiness based upon me receiving something, I will always want more, because deep inside of me, I will never be fully satisfied
The focus of James’ letter to these believers scattered through the lands
Stop living according to the standards of this world and its philosophies (which are fading away)
And start living in the way in which we were designed and how God intended us to live
Holy lives “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (, NASB95)
There is a war waging in the soul of the church
Our enemy is doing everything he can to lure us away from truth of God’s word
He Re-focuses our attention on the things of this world
He convinces us that God really doesn't care or is holding back something good from us.
And I am afraid he is winning the war of discontent
Today we are going to look at a passage in book of James that uncovers this lie, and how we can refocus on the One who makes us content.
PRAY
James 4:1–17 NIV
1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 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. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. 11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
(READ) PAGE
Verses 1-3
James has spent the last 3 chapters encouraging his readers to be transformed
old standard vs. new standard
This new standard is not something we have to accomplish on our own it is a work of the spirit
But there is still a war wagging in our lives
Paul describes it as a war against the Spirit, and the flesh.
PAGE
Desire = the Greek work is hedone, where we get the English word hedonism
Hedonism is the philosophy that the “chief purpose in living is to satisfy self.”
Our culture
right to happiness
we deserve happiness
that we must pursue happiness with all of our heart
Fishing lure
We focus on the outward circumstances
we want
we steel
we lust
we covet
Kill and covet
Is James speaking about physicall killing here
Jesus said it is a matter of the heart
The words we say and do in order to receive
The word covet can be translated as covet or envy
Holman New Testament Commentary: Hebrews & James A. Self-Centered Living Stifles Prayer (vv. 1–3)

Envious” in this context refers to a quest for position, rank, or fame—an evil expression of personal ambition.

In this context it
VERSE 2-3
You do not have, because you do not ask, and when you ask, you have the wrong motives
Literally describing a church that is dying within
James is describing a situation where personal happiness is given a place prominence over the health of the church
The enemy blinds us in thinking that we deserve
personal happiness
entitled to a good life on this earth
Matthew 6:19–21 ESV
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21 NIV
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Thomas D. Lea, Hebrews, James, vol. 10, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 319.
Ecclesiastes 5:10–12 NIV
10 Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. 11 As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them? 12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but as for the rich, their abundance permits them no sleep.
The same lie that Satan fed Eve in the beginning, is the same lie He feeds us today
Ecclesiastes 5:10–14 The Message
10 The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, Nor the one who loves wealth with big profits. More smoke. 11 The more loot you get, the more looters show up. And what fun is that—to be robbed in broad daylight? 12 Hard and honest work earns a good night’s sleep, Whether supper is beans or steak. But a rich man’s belly gives him insomnia. 13 Here’s a piece of bad luck I’ve seen happen: A man hoards far more wealth than is good for him 14 And then loses it all in a bad business deal. He fathered a child but hasn’t a cent left to give him.
The lie that God doesn’t want us happy and he is keeping something from us
He tempts us in the same way as he has done in the past
1 John 2:16 NIV
16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
Many have looked for happiness, but have com
Satan is cunning
He uses what is around us to make us desire what others have
looks
status
rank
popularity
pride
He is got us so focused on what we don't have, we cannot see what do have in Christ
ILLUSTRATION OF THE ROPE
VERSE 4-6
We buy into the idea that we deserve it and we literally pimp ourselves out in order to attain it
We will do what is absolutly shameful in order to get that momentary happiness
And yet GOD desires so much more for our lives
God is not keeping us from being happy
But in order to find happiness we need to look to Christ and his way towards joy
God’s spirit is envies, looking for that place of eminence in our lives
He cannot and will not share his throne with no one
He desires to be number one in our lives
He wants everything in our life total devotion
But with total devotion, God will provide what we need in order to carry out this devotion
He provides everything that we need to live out these godly lives
He not only gives us what we need he tells us how to accomplish it
YOU WANT TO FIND TRUE HAPPINESS
Find you contentedness in God alone
True happiness comes from becoming like Christ
Putting on Christ
It is putting others above us
The more we learn to
It is about learning to be content in where God has called us and finding our significance in him
1 Timothy 6:6–10 NIV
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Verses 7-10 How to we cease from quarrels and fights from within
One of the greatest tactics of the enemy is to cause disunity with body of Christ
focus on us and our own personal happiness we cause disunity
The gospel of Christ is about dying to self
If we are willing to see where we are,
Humble ourselves
God will build you up and place you where he wants you
And you will not need to pursue and chase happiness
Because you will find fulfillment in where God has called you.
it is about being second, and Christ being first in your life
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