James 4:1-10

Talks for Growing Christians

Infighting and Strife Among Early Christians

James 4:1-10

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Lesson Number 7

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The source of strife is ungodly lust.
  2. The solution to strife is humble submission.

Practical Application

  1. Remember the way up is the way down.


  1. Is infighting and strife limited to non-believers?
  2. Is infighting and strife among Christians characteristic only of the early church?
  3. To whom was the epistle of James addressed?
  4. What term is used fifteen times in this epistle that shows its audience?
  5. Refer to James 4:4. What is meant by “adultery?”
  6. What is lust?


  1. No, unfortunately, it applies to believers, too.
  2. No, unfortunately, it applies to today as well.
  3. To the Jewish believers who were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. However, the exhortations are applicable to us today.
  4. The term, “brethren.”
  5. The term, “adultery” can be taken both in the literal sense and in the spiritual sense. In the latter, friendship with the world means to commit spiritual adultery, taking priority over full commitment to the Lord. Just as God’s people in the Old Testament turned away from the Lord and turned to the foreign gods, so God’s people today commit spiritual adultery.
  6. Lust is strong selfish desire.


  1. Re-read James 4:1-2. The ultimate source of strife is lust, a strong selfish desire. It is understandable why unbelievers would lust for the pleasures and possessions and power and prestige of this world, but this should not be so for the Christian. Pray that God will keep you from selfish desires of this world. Where is your treasure? There your heart will be also. See Matthew 6:21.
  2. The source of strife is in our ungodly lusts, but praise God that we are not left to overcome these ungodly lusts in our own strength. No matter what the problem or need is that is causing strife, remember that God’s grace is sufficient to overcome. See James 4:6 and Hebrews 4:16. Our part is to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, to submit to God. This means a time of real soul searching, a time of confession and consecration. Have you come to that place yet? Have you ever cried before the Lord about your lack of commitment and the strife and problems you cause? Prayerfully re-read James 4:1-10.


  1. Remember the way up is the way down. When you humble yourself before the Lord, God says that he will exalt you. Do you believe it? See James 4:10, proverbs 16:18 and 1 Peter 5:6. Have you humbled yourself before the Lord?

Key Verses

  • “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3
  • “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.” James 4:4
  • “God gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
  • “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:7-10

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