Why do we fight with those we love – sometimes to the point of ending the relationship?
The Bible doesn’t paint a pretty picture as to the cause. Here’s its blunt diagnosis:
The root cause of interpersonal conflicts is our consuming passion for self-gratification.To have things our way. To gratify our desires. To find fulfillment outside of God.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 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. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.(James 4:1-3, NIV)
The world we live in operates on the promise that fulfillment comes from pleasure. That’s the lie called hedonism. It says: How I feel is the value of what is right.
Because we’ve embraced hedonism, we’ve left our first love – God. We become spiritual adulterers. We’re children of God, yes, and His Spirit dwells in us. But when we’re not walking with Him, God has to battle against us to get us to return to Him.
God’s Prescription and Promise
So back to our conflicts. How do we live the way Christ wants us to when it comes to relationships?
James gives a simple and direct solution.
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James 4:7-10, NAS)
Basically, we are to humble ourselves so that God can heal our relationships. Here’s how:
- Give in to God. Get in step with the Spirit! How? Obey His will. Submit your desires, your plans, and your relationships to God.
- Get tough with Satan. Put up your guard – the armor of God – against the world system that the enemy wants to use to seduce you with.
- Get close to God. This could also be Return to God. He loves you. Anything the world promises apart from Him is a lie. Get into the Scriptures. Pray. Join up with others on the same journey. And you’ll find yourself walking with God.
- Get right with others. Simply put, this means repent. Stop sinning.
Getting right with God will get you right with your relationships!
For more information on this topic, take a look at Chip’s series Five Lies that Ruin Relationships, How to Change for the Better, as well as Overcoming Emotions that Destroy.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip