James 4:1What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
At snow retreat our theme was "Repentance, seeing sin for what it really is". So what causes us to keeping returning to our sin? What makes repentance so hard? Sean Higgins pointed out that we normally think of repentance as turning away from sin, but what is it that we turn toward? He pointed out that if we don't see sin as being the thing that keeps us from real joy, what is going to keep us from going back to our sin?
I think this is what James is pointing out here in this passage. If our desires and passions are for Christ and we realize that our sin is just junk that is keeping us from real and true joy, then holy living will be much easier. Often we are, wrongly, convinced that in our sin is where the true joy is. When we see sin as the evil that keeps us from true Joy, joy in Christ, it is then that He will start to change our desires and loves to be the sweetness of who He is.
I want to encourage you to think of repentance as turning toward true joy, rather than away from sin; from the negative thought toward the positive. You wouldn't eat pig slop if there was a feast right next to you, so eat the feast and don't snack on the slop.
Lord, may we taste Your sweetness and desire You over everything else this world has to offer. Give us a taste for You and Your Word. Give us other worldly loves. Give us eyes to see sin for what it is; our thief of joy. Ps. 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!