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What Causes Fights and Quarrels? James 4:1-12

Recommended Procedure. Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading

Idea for leader: A very short video or drama of two people in a verbal conflict might be helpful to capture interest in this lesson.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Almost every family has fights and quarrels. Sometimes it is between husbands and wives, sometimes it is between brothers and sisters, and sometimes it is between children or teens and their parents. Sometimes our fights and quarrels happen at other places; they may be at school, at work, or even church. If we understand what causes them we may be better equipped to deal with them in a way that pleases God and brings peace.

The early church also had problems with fighting and quarreling. What does James say is the cause of fighting and quarreling? James 4:1-2

Answer 1


According to these verses, what would be a better way than fighting and quarreling because we can't have what we want?

Answer 2


But some may say that asking God doesn't work; I tried that. Why doesn't it work, according to James 4:3-5?

Answer 3


“But (you may say) I can't help how I feel!” James 4:5 says, “Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?” It is true God gave us our emotions. We may think we cannot control our inner spirit from fighting and quarreling, but what does James 4: 6 say about controlling our emotions as Christians?

Answer 4


What then is the solution to our fighting and quarreling? James 4:7-12 tells us how we can stop it.

Answer 5


Lessons to Live by: (ask for members' input first)


Today's Bible memory verses:

Romans 4:25-5:1 “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

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A1: What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. (James 4:1-2, NIV)

A2: Ask God

A3: Asking God doesn't work when we ask with the wrong motives. When we think only about fulfilling our own pleasures we are thinking like the world thinks, and we are acting as an enemy of God. Jesus told his disciples if they were to ask anything in his name (for his glory and interests), he would do it (John 14:14).

A4: It may be natural for us to envy, but James 4:6 says, “But he [God] gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" If we are true believers in Christ, not only do we have our human spirit, but we also have the Holy Spirit within us. The two spirits are at war (Romans 7:14-25), but God will give us grace for the situation if we will humble ourselves before him and others.

A5: First, to stop the fighting and quarreling we must submit ourselves to God and resist the devil. The devil made me do it is not an excuse. We must resist his temptations for us to fight and quarrel. If we submit to God's will the devil will flee from us.

Second, just the words, “I'm sorry” are not enough if we are not grieved over our shameful behavior. We must have a change of heart and mind and submit ourselves to God's ways.

Third, we must stop saying bad things about each other. When we do that we are not only inciting a fight, but we are acting like judges. We express our pride problem when we say, “I am right and you are wrong.” The truth is when we say these things we know most of the time we are hypocrites; we are also guilty of doing bad things. If we are saying bad things about each other we are not fulfilling the royal law; we are not loving our neighbor as ourselves. We should leave the judging and condemning to God, who is just and right, and we should choose to live in peace.

Lessons to Live by:

  • Fighting and quarreling often come from our own selfish desires. Do you have the peace and forgiveness that God offers? He can help you want to live unselfishly (more...)
  • Fighting and quarreling can cease if we stop giving into our desires and ask God for things with the right motives to glorify him.
  • Peace can be obtained if
    • we will humble ourselves
    • we are genuinely grieved over our shameful behavior
    • we have a change of heart and actions - stop slandering and judging each other, and love one another as we would love ourselves.

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