Never before has the seductive market way of life held such sway in nearly every sphere of American life. This market way of life promotes addictions to stimulation and obsessions with comfort and convenience. Addictions and obsessions - centered primarily around bodily pleasures and status rankings - constitute market moralities of various sorts. The common denominator is a rugged and ragged individualism and rapacious hedonism in quest of a perennial `high' in body and mind. (Cornel West, Race Matters, p. 30)

Read James 4

There are direct links between our cravings and broken marriages, our depraved appetites and abandoned and abused children, our greed and the pollution of the earth, our lusts and shattered relationships, our warring desires and murder. (verses 1-3)

Children raised in a world given over to the free reign of its cravings are children that are capable of killing other children.

If our conflicts and arguments come from our cravings that are at war within us, then what must we do to end the conflicts?

Name the problem: We are adulterers! (verse 4) We have are unfaithful to God having made ourselves lovers of the world. Recognize how much God yearns for us back. (verse 5) Acknowledge that your only salvation is in God's grace. (verse 6) Let God have you - again and again and again! (verses 7-10) When you find that you are speaking evil (for whatever reason) against your sister or brother, acknowledge right then and there that it is evil that you speak! (verses 11-12) Right then and there submit yourself to God and resist the devil! When your cravings have you running here and there, after this and that, stop; be reminded of the one to whom you belong! (verses 13-17)

For Reflection & Sharing:

  1. Discuss the following statement: The most important thing we can do for our children is respond to them out of Spirit-filled relationships.

  2. Describe what a Spirit-filled relationship might look like. (In contrast to friendship with the world.)

  3. What must we do to grow into Spirit-filled, Spirit-led relationships?