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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. James 4:2

Read: James 4:2
Listen: James 4


James returns to the concept of desire, but this time it’s a different form of desire. James uses a different Greek word in describing desire, a word that can include good desires. He seems to be telling his readers that even good desires can lead them to do wrong things. All people experience desires that are good and desires that are bad. When these desires are unmet things can go sideways quickly. James tells his readers that unmet desires often lead to bad actions. He even points out extreme responses to the desires in their hearts.

When we don’t get what we want, it’s easy for us to get nasty. For some of us, it has to do with money and security. We begin to cut corners or manipulate to get what we want. For others of us it has to do with reputation or respect from others. When we don’t get it, we cut others down to move up ourselves. It’s ok to want security or to be respected, but there’s a wrong way to pursue a right desire. Even with good desires, we need to watch our hearts and invite God to help us to pursue them in healthy ways.

TODAY: Using a journal or your phone, ask yourself, “How do I respond when I don’t get what I want?” or “Why do I do what I do?” Spend some time thinking about these questions and answer them honestly. Then finish by thanking God for loving you, convicting you and giving you grace.

Learn about this passage in this week’s Beyond the Weekend podcast with Pastor Aaron Buer and other staff. Listen HERE.


Read Genesis 31-32. Highlight anything that points to Jesus.

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.