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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Rick Warren » Rick Warren - A Faith That Reduces Quarreling

Rick Warren - A Faith That Reduces Quarreling

Rick Warren - A Faith That Reduces Quarreling
TOPICS: Faith, A Faith That Works When Life Doesn’t

Hi everybody, I'm Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, author of "The Purpose Driven Life" and speaker on the Daily Hope broadcast. And I want to welcome you back to our series where we're looking at principles for living through a pandemic. And our text is the book of James. In the book of James, we call it a faith that works when life doesn't. A faith that works when life doesn't. When James wrote this book, he was writing to people under intense stress, much like most of the world is going through right now with this COVID-19 pandemic. They weren't going through a pandemic. It was actually persecution. But during that very stressful time, James knew that it was going to cause problems in so many areas of their lives. It's a very, very practical book.

Now, today we're going to continue in part 21 of this series. And I want us to look at a faith that reduces quarrels. A faith that reduces quarrels. You know, I'm just been amazed each time as we come to the next passage, how it fits what we're at in our society. You know, this past week they had one of the two national political parties had their nominating time and there'll be the other one in a week or so and that means for the next 60 or 70 days, there's going to be a lot of mudslinging. There's going to be a lot of backbiting. There'll be a lot of accusations, political trauma. And one of the things it's gonna create is quarrels. Not just quarrels between parties, but actually quarrels in families. Because when you start talking about things like this, people get very heated, and even family members can get heated in a quarrel.

And so we need to look at what the Bible has to say about quarrels because now we come to James 4, the first 10 verses. Now, first, I decided this week, I would just look up the word quarrel. So I typed it in for a definition in the internet. And the first definition that came up was this. I thought it was pretty funny. A heated argument, a quarrel is a heated argument, typically about a trivial issue between two people who are usually on good terms. Now let me say that again. It's a heated argument, typically about a trivial issue between people who are usually on good terms. Have you ever had a quarrel with your wife or your husband? Thousands of them, of course you have.

Now, what's the difference between a fight and a quarrel? A fight can be physical, it can actually get physical, but a quarrel is always verbal. Now, let me read to you what James has to say about quarrels in James 4:1-10, here's what he says. He gets right to the point. What causes quarrels and arguments with each other? He says, they come from the conflicting, selfish desires that are always fighting inside you. You want things that you don't have so you're ready to kill to get them. And you covet, you covet what other people have, but you can't get it so you quarrel and you get in fights, but you don't have because you don't ask God for it. And if you ask you don't receive it because you ask with the wrong motivation. You only want what gives you pleasure.

And then he says, you cheat on God when you have an affair with what the world values. To love what the world loves is to hate God and to be the enemy of God. This is what the Scripture means when it says that God's spirit who lives inside of us is intensely jealous, He wants our exclusive love. That's why He gives us so much grace. Now, as the scripture says, God opposes the prideful, but He gives grace to the humble. So give yourselves completely to God, then resist the devil and he'll flee from you. And if you draw close to God, He will draw close to you. So wash your hands of all your sins and purify your hearts of your double-minded living. Be sad and sorry and grieve over your actions and stop laughing at your sin and get serious about it. Because if you humble yourself before the Lord, He will lift you up.

Now, that passage is packed with enough material for about 10 messages, but we're gonna look at it from the angle of the very first question, what causes quarrels? And then right after that, James gives us six or seven really good steps on how to lower the number of arguments in your life, the number of quarrels in your life, the number of fights, verbal fights in your life. Now, he starts off right at the beginning and say, what causes quarrels? And the answer, you saw in that verse is, write this down, conflicting desires inside me. Conflicting desires inside me. James 4:1 says this, what causes quarrels and arguments with each other? They come from the conflicting selfish desires that are always fighting inside you. And notice that God says your conflict and your quarrel and your arguments with others is really deeply rooted in the conflict going on inside you.

It's not just out there with somebody else. It's, there's a conflict going on in you. And he says, if you were really more at peace with yourself, you'd be a whole lot more at peace with other people. And they would be less likely to hook you into an argument or a quarrel or a conflict. And so James says, if I want to reduce conflict in my life, then I first need to reduce the internal conflict that's going on inside of me. Of course, our biggest conflict is always with God. It's our selfish desires are in a war with what God wants for our lives. That's what Galatians says, in Galatians 5:17 it says this. Our sinful desires want what is the opposite of God's spirit. And God's spirit wants what is contrary to our sinful desires. So the two are constantly fighting each other. So you cannot just do whatever you please, that's Galatians. You cannot just do whatever you please.

Now, if you're taking notes, I would encourage you to underline or circle that last phrase. You cannot just do whatever you please. You see, that's our conflict with God in a nutshell. It's the reason people rebel against God. It's the reason people reject God. It's the reason because everybody wants to do what they want to, they want to do as they please. Today, that's the number one value in our culture, do whatever you please, okay. If it feels good, do it. Ignore God, ignore others, just do whatever you please. Now he says, that's the cause of the conflict, the internal conflict in you and you're wanting to do whatever you please, that when I wanna do what I wanna do and you wanna do what you wanna do, there's gonna be sparks. But then in the next verse two to verse 10, James mentions some solutions. But first he mentions some of these conflicting desires. In verse two, he says, you know, one of the conflicting desires we have is, I want more possessions. He said, that causes conflict, when I want more possessions.

James 4:2, you want things you don't have. That's called materialism. So you're ready to kill to get 'em. You know, I'd kill for that. And you covet what others have, but you can't get it so you quarrel and you get into fights. He said a lot of fights, people fight over land, people fight over cars, people fight over homes, people fight over jobs. There's all kinds of possessions people will fight over. They take each other to court all the time. I want more possessions. In the next verse he says, I want more pleasure. And in verse three, James 4:3 says, you only want what gives you pleasure. And he says, that causes problems. When my pleasure interrupts your pleasure or vice versa, we got a conflict. You know, another universal desire that causes conflict is, I want more power, I want more prestige. I want more popularity.

Jesus said this about one group of people in John 12:43. He said "They love being praised by people more than being praised by God". That causes a lot of conflict today. When you care more about the approval of people than the approval of God, it's going to cause quarrels. Now, nobody, nobody really likes conflict. We want to avoid it, we want to ignore it. We want to sweep it under the carpet. You know, usually in a marriage a skunk marries a turtle. There's two ways to respond to conflict. A skunk, when they get mad, they just stink up the place. Everybody knows they're mad. A turtle pulls into shell. Skunks always marry turtles. But the fact is, nobody really likes conflict. Quarreling is not comfortable. In fact, it makes us very uncomfortable, but as long as we live on a broken planet and as long as we all have the freedom of choice to make mistakes, I make 'em all the time, people are gonna get hurt.

So the question that I want us to look at today in James 4 is the question that James answers, and it is this question. What will help me quarrel less? I want to be quarrelless, I want to quarrel less. How can I reduce the frequency of arguments and quarrels in my life? How can I reduce the frequency of quarrels in my marriage? How can I reduce the frequency of quarrels in my family, with my neighbors, at work, and even in my church family? You could have a quarrel in a small group. Now, in these verses James offers seven helpful insights. And because you're going to have quarrels the rest of your life, I highly recommend that you print out this outline and you get a pencil and you take notes.

Okay, here's the starting point. Step one, we're gonna go straight through this text. Step one is, realize how destructive quarreling is. That's the first step, I got to realize how destructive quarreling is. Now, confession's good for the soul. I have to admit to you, personally, that until I started studying for this message, I didn't realize how much God has to say in the Bible about the subject of quarreling. I literally went from Genesis to Revelation. I studied it all and I discovered dozens and dozens of examples of quarreling. And I discovered over 75 different teachings about quarreling in the Bible. Did you know that? It's a big deal to God. Now it's evident that the families in the Bible were no different than our families today 'cause everybody quarreled. The very first two brothers, Cain and Abel had a quarrel. It resulted in a murder. Abraham and Sarah, husband and wife quarreled. Jacob and Esau quarreled. Joseph and his brothers quarreled. Abraham and his nephew Lot quarreled with uncle Abraham.

Now, I don't have to time to go through all of the verses that I looked with you today, but I just want to give you a little flavor of them and show you some of them on the screen. Now, at least six times in the Word of God, God commands us to never quarrel. Did you hear that? Never quarrel, at least six times, Ephesians 4:31 says this, quarreling, "Living Bible," quarreling, harsh words, and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. No place. He said you should never have any quarreling in your life. God says that quarreling is a mark of immaturity. Did you know that? He said, if I quarrel with other people, it means I'm not as mature as I think I am. 1 Corinthians 3:3 in "The Living Bible" says this. You are still only baby Christians. You're controlled by your own desires, not God's. And when you're jealous and when you divide into quarreling groups, doesn't that prove you're still babies wanting your own way?

In fact, you're acting like people who don't even belong to the Lord at all. It says, quarreling is a mark of spiritual immaturity. Then God says that people who start quarrels are troublemakers. The Book of Proverbs is very rich in verses on this. But Proverbs 16:28 says, a devious troublemaker starts quarrels and their gossip separates the closest of friends. He says, if I start quarrels, I'm a devious troublemaker. Now, God also says that if we serve the Lord, like you're serving the Lord, like I'm serving the Lord, we are forbidden to quarrel. As a pastor, I am not allowed to quarrel with anybody. 2 Timothy 2:24 says this, "New Living". As the Lord's servant, you must never quarrel. You must be kind to everyone, able to teach, and patient with difficult people. That's part of the characteristics of being a pastor, okay. I've gotta never quarrel with anybody, kind to everybody, able to teach, and patient with difficult people. By the way, God says that it's my job as your pastor to remind you to not quarrel over politics, no matter who's elected.

You say, where is that in the scripture? Well, Paul told this to a pastor named Titus. He wrote two books to pastors, three, one to Timothy, two to Timothy and one to Titus Titus 3:1-2 says this, he says to a pastor, remind your people to submit to the government and its officers. And they should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not speak evil of anyone and they must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show humility to everybody. Oh my goodness, that's a verse that probably most of us wish wasn't in the Bible, but it's there. And I'm called as a pastor to tell you that. So no matter who gets elected president, and he said, you're not supposed to speak evil of him and you're not supposed to quarrel about him.

Paul told Timothy, who's another pastor this, 2 Timothy 2:14, warn believers before God against quarreling about words, quarreling has no value and it only ruins those who listen to it. Quarreling has no value. And it only ruins those who listen to it. I'm just going through a little quick rundown of some of these verses because I want you to get how important this is. God says the root of all quarrels is pride. 1 Timothy 6:4-5, listen to this, "God's Word Translation". The conceited person shows that he doesn't understand anything. The conceited person shows that he doesn't understand anything. Rather, he has an unhealthy desire to argue and quarrel about words. This produces jealousy, rivalry, cursing, suspicion, conflict between people whose corrupted minds have been robbed of the truth. Does that sound like our culture today? On the other hand, God also says that staying out of quarrels shows both maturity and character.

Proverbs 20:3 in "The Message". It's a mark of good character to avert quarrels, but fools love to pick fights. Am I a fool or am I mature? Finally, God says that quarreling can lead to massive destruction, like a dam that explodes and unleashes a flood of destruction. Proverbs 17:14, starting a quarrel, God says, is like breaching a dam. So drop the matter before the dispute breaks out. How much damage has been done because a little quarrel escalated into a civil war or world war or whatever? Notice the verse on your outline, Proverbs 11:29. Proverbs 11:29 "Living Bible" says this, the fool who provokes his family to anger and resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left. He said, that's the destructive power of quarreling. Now, that's just a sample of what God has to say about it. But based on these few verses, then, James then gives us the steps to reducing quarrels. First, I said, I understand how destructive it is. And we just looked at all those verses.

Second, here's the second step. Decide that I want to change and ask forgiveness. If I really realized, I don't want to be a quarreler anymore. I don't want to be an arguer anymore. I don't want to be a fighter anymore. I've done that in my life, I'm tired of that. I've seen the destruction and devastation. I don't like that, I want the rest of my life to be different. Then number two, I decide that I want to change. I said, I'm just not going to quarrel with people anymore. And I asked God for forgiveness for all the times that I did get hooked and I hooked others. James says what we all know, that we never change until we get fed up with the way we're living or the habit that we've been putting up with or the sin that's in our lives.

And you know, it starts by getting serious and saying, okay, I'm just not going to be a quarreling person anymore. I don't want to be that. I'm going to ask God to forgive me. I'm going to ask for the power to change. I don't want to live that way for the rest of my life. I'm tired of being me, cranky. I'm going to call it what it is, quarreling is a sin. And I don't like it. I don't like it in me, I don't like it in anybody else. I don't like what it does to me. So I'm going to get serious about it and I'm going to grieve over it. And I want to stop making excuses for it. You might want to set aside some time this week to confess your part in all the quarrels you've been in and ask God for forgiveness and ask Him to give you the power to change.

Now, here's what he says in this next step, James 4:8-9. Wash your hands of your sins and purify your hearts of your double-minded living. Be sad and sorry, and grieve over your actions. Stop laughing at your sin and get serious about it. And what's he saying here? He's saying, clean up your act. Be sorry for your self-centeredness. He said, that's where conflict comes from. Don't minimize what happens, take it seriously. He says, wash your hands. That represents our conduct. He says, cleanse your heart. That represents your attitude. He said, you got to first realize how serious this is and how destructive quarreling is in your family and in your business and everywhere else. And he said, then you gotta decide, I'm not going to do it anymore. I'm going to ask forgiveness and ask for power.

Here's step three. Now we come to third step in reducing quarreling whether in your family or your neighborhood or your work. Stop expecting other people, write this down. Stop expecting other people to fulfill needs in my life that only God can fulfill. That's one of the big causes of conflict, of quarreling. Stop expecting other people to fulfill needs in my life that only God can fulfill. One of the great causes of conflict and quarrels, particularly in marriage is when we expect our spouse to meet needs in our lives that only God can meet. Now, that's not only unfair to them, it sets you both up for massive frustration. They're not God. They cannot possibly meet all your needs. I know when you got married, you thought. all my needs are gonna be met by my spouse. They couldn't possibly live up to that. They're human being, they're as broken as you are.

And so in this next verse, James says that a lot of our conflicts that are arguments, that are quarrels happen because we look to the wrong source to meet our needs and we ask for the wrong reasons. That's what he says, James 4:2-3, you don't have because you don't ask God for it. You're expecting other people to meet your needs instead of God, you're not praying about it. You're fighting over it. You don't have because you don't ask for it. And if you ask you don't receive it 'cause you ask with the wrong motivation. Again, God says, the reason you have a lot of conflict in your life is you're expecting other people to meet needs that only I can meet. You're asking the wrong person. Your spouse, no matter how great they are, cannot possibly fill up your need for self-esteem. Your spouse cannot possibly fill up your need for every other emotional need you've got because they're human, too.

But we look to the wrong source. We expect a person to meet all our needs, that of God. And if we do ask God for help, we often pray with the wrong motivation. That leaves us frustrated. So he says, you know what? Stop quarreling and start praying. Now, prayer is not a vending machine. God is not my genie. He doesn't, God does not exist to serve me like your wish is my command. If you say, "God made me a millionaire". He's not gonna make you a millionaire. That's not His goal in life. His goal is not comfort, but character in your life. Comfort's in the next life. And he says, we don't exist, God doesn't exist for us. We exist to serve Him.

Now, when I look to other things in the world, when I look to other sources to meet my deepest need, whether it's in a bottle or a drug or a TV or sport or another person or a hobby, when I look to somebody else or something else to meet my deepest needs, God says, it's a form of spiritual adultery. He goes, why are you going to them? I'm the one who created you, I'm the one who loves you. I want you to notice this next verse, James 4:4-6. He says this, you know, you cheat on God when you have an affair with what the world values.

What does the world value? Sex, salary, status, position, passion, possession, okay? He says, you cheat on God when you have a love affair with what the world values. If my values is the same as everybody who's not a Christian, I'm having a spiritual affair. I'm being a spiritual adulterer. He said to love the world to what the world does is to hate God and to be the enemy of God. This is what the scripture means when it says that God's spirit who lives in us is intensely jealous. Did you know that the Holy Spirit is jealous for your love? He wants your faithful love. He wants your unconditional love. He wants your focused love. He doesn't want you sharing your love with everybody else. I'm talking about the value system of this world. And He says He wants our faithful love. That's why He gives us so much grace.

Now, here's the fourth step in reducing quarrels, okay, number four, this is a big one. Next verse James says this, choose humility over prideful anger. Choose humility over prideful anger. And he's saying this because all along, he said that pride is behind all of the conflict. Pride is behind quarreling. Pride always shows up. You know, when Kay and I got married, the very first Bible verse that we memorized together as a couple was Proverbs 13:10. And we actually had to memorize it on our honeymoon, why? Because we were already having some quarrels on our honeymoon. Proverbs 13:10 says this, real simple, pride only leads to quarrels. Oh my goodness. Have you found that to be true in your life? Wherever there are quarrels, you can be sure there's pride. It may be hurt ego. I didn't feel like you treated me like I ought to be treated. It may be wounded pride, but it's there. You didn't feel like you were treated correctly.

Now question, have you ever been prideful and so prideful that you could not compromise on something even though you should? Yeah. Have you ever been in an argument with your spouse where you knew you were wrong, but you just couldn't admit it? Yes, everybody raise your hand, okay. That's why James makes a big deal and a big emphasis on humility as an antidote, one of the seven antidotes to quarreling. And here's what he says, James 4:6-7, as the scripture says, God opposes the prideful, but He gives His grace to the humble. So give yourself completely to God. Now, notice if you're taking notes circle that word opposes. God declares war on pride. God declares war on ego, on arrogance, on selfishness. Anytime pride rears its head in my life, I'm on the opposite side of God. I'm going to lose that battle because my arms are too short to box with God. God opposes, God doesn't just say, oh, that's a little petty sin. It says, God openly opposes people who are prideful.

So if you want God's help in reducing conflict or anything else in your life, it starts with humility. God declares war on ego. Now, I don't know if you've noticed this or not, but God has a unique way of engineering circumstances to deflate our egos. He got plenty of 'em. He got plenty of ways to deflate our ego. The truth is, to be in opposition to God is a dangerous place to be. You're on a collision course with the Creator of the universe and you are going to lose. So suck it up and humble yourself. God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. Now if pride causes quarrels, then that means the opposite is true, too. The cure for quarrels is humility. Every time I'm humble, I get along better with my wife, my kids, my friends, my employees, the members of my church, my neighbors. The Bible says, God gives grace to the humble, what's grace? Grace is the power to change.

If you want to stop the fighting in your home, then you need grace. And there's only one way to get grace, be humble. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Then notice he says, God gives grace to the humble. And he says, so give yourselves completely to God. He says, let God be God in your life. Give yourself to Him completely, like every part. If you got a house, give Him the bathroom, give Him the bedroom, give Him the kitchen. Give Him the living room, give Him the backyard. Give Him the garage, give Him the secret compartment in your case in the closet. Yield yourself completely to God. This is the starting point. You quit trying to run your own life without God. Remember in verse one, it said the battle that's within you, that civil war that's going on, the real conflict is inside you is this, who's in charge? Who's in charge of you, you or God?

Now, God gives us, in the same passage in James, He gives us a great promise when we humble ourselves. In verse 10, the end of this passage, James 4:10, James says this, if you humble yourself before the Lord, He will lift you up. He'll lift you up. The more I go down, the more He raises me up. What does it mean to be lifted up? It means this, the more you humble yourself, the more God will honor you. The more you humble yourself, the more God will bless you. The more you humble yourself, the more God will exalt you. That word literally is the word he's talking about. Lift you up, it's exalt. We talk about exalting Christ. I exalt You, Christ. God says, I will exalt you if you humble yourself. And humility is the antidote to the pride that causes all of those quarrels.

Now we come to the fifth step. And this fifth step is to recognize in every quarrel that there is an unseen spiritual war going on behind the scenes. You may think you're arguing about who took out the garbage or didn't. You may think you're arguing about leaving clothes on the floor or something else, something petty or trivial, but behind the scenes at the surface level, there's a quarrel over something that may be pretty, pretty minor, but at a deeper level, Satan is trying to wreak havoc, create havoc, create chaos, create distractions, create destruction in your relationships, in your friendships, in your marriage, in your parenting, in your home with your brother, with your sister, with your neighbors, with your friends at work or coworkers, with people who live by you. Satan is behind the scenes taking every little opportunity to mess you up with conflict. And that's why the fifth step that James gives us in reducing quarrels is this, recognize the source behind all conflict. You need to recognize the source behind all conflict.

We wage not against flesh and blood. We're not fighting a battle that's fair. Satan is not seen, but he is real. And Ephesians 4:27 says this, anger gives a mighty foothold to the devil. Hello, anger gives a mighty foothold, gives him a beachhead, gives him a place to stand. Anger gives the devil a pinion or something to hold on to in your life. Anger gives a mighty foothold to the devil. Anytime you get angry in a quarrel, anytime you use hurtful words, you are opening the door for Satan to get a foothold in your emotions and in your relationships, in both. You're giving him a foothold in your emotions and your relationships. Now, it is Satan who wants to damage all your relationships. It is Satan who wants to destroy all your relationships. And he is always ready. Believe me, he's always ready with an arsenal of hurtful words for you to use, and he's ready to support them and plant them in your mind the moment you get into a quarrel. He is always ready with an arsenal of what I call WMDs, words of mass destruction that he wants you to use.

And that's why the next thing that James says to do to reduce quarrels is in verse seven. And here's what he says here. He said, if you want to reduce these quarrels in your life, number seven, resist the devil and he'll flee from you. He says, that's part of lowering the quarrels in your life. How in the world do I do that? How do I resist the devil and he flees from me? Well, let me give you two very practical suggestions for resisting the devil. Because if you notice, let's just take a hypothetical here.

Now, I know this has never happens to you, right? But if you notice this week, you're about to get into a quarrel with somebody and you see, this is going a little far. It's gonna turn into a full-on fight. It's gonna turn into a quarrel. We're going to have an argument here 'cause I'm cranky or they're cranky or whatever. And you're about to get into quarrel with anybody. You need to do these two things which will help you resist the devil. Number one, be aware. You need to be aware even before the quarrel starts that Satan has a plan to upset you He wants you to be stressed. He wants you to be angry. He wants you to be hurt. God certainly doesn't want any of that. God doesn't want you stressed or angry or hurt, but the devil does, and Satan will use any negative emotion in your life to destroy your peace. And that's why the first step of this is to be aware of how he works.

2 Corinthians 2:11 says this, we're very aware of Satan's schemes so that he doesn't outwit us. Now, if you don't know how Satan schemes, then you will get outwit and time and time again. But to be aware is to be armed, to resist. So let me ask you, are you aware of how Satan uses destructive words in your life? Are you aware of that? The ones that come at you and the ones that come out of your mouth. Ae you aware that when you get angry and you use hurtful words, you're actually giving Satan a foothold in both your life and your relationships? Starting point is to realize it's not just a little argument here between me and my spouse or me and a child or me and somebody else. No, Satan is looking for a foothold, both in my emotions and in my relationship. And then the second part, here's the second key. And this is very important so I'm gonna explain it. Recognize what part of your brain you're using at the moment you get into the conflict.

Let me say it again, recognize what part, you know, your brain has many parts, recognize what part of your brain you're using at the moment you get into a quarrel. Now let me explain this. This is stuff we didn't even know. The Bible knew it, but now science has explained it through neuroscience. Your brain has many different levels of complexity because your brain is partitioned to do different things. Okay, and some things are automatic like your blood pressure and your breathing and your heartbeat and other things are volitional, you make a choice, and so there are different kinds of functions done by different parts of your brain. I'm going to show you this graphic on the screen right now.

Dr. Bruce Perry created it, that the highest and smartest part of your brain, okay, if you, if you had levels, it's not really levels, but just think of it that way. The highest and smartest part of your brain is called your neocortex. All, right, now, when you're using that part of your brain, you're thinking really clearly. That part of your brain, the neocortex, when you're using that part it's rational, it's thoughtful. You're able to reason, you're able to see different points of view. When you're using your neocortex, your doing your best and clearest thinking. When you're writing a business plan, when you're writing poetry, when you're writing a letter, you're using the neocortex part of your brain. And that's the highest and clearest and best use of your brain, but a little bit lower in your brain, a lower part of your brain is called your limbic brain. It's much more emotional. It's much more physical. It's not as smart, it's dumb, it's reactionary.

Now, it's so emotional, it's gutsy. When you raise your voice in anger, you drop from your neocortex, into your limbic. You're dropping into a lower, dumber part of your brain. You're not gonna think as clearly. Now, when you're calm, when you're calm and you're collected and you're not stressed, you're thinking in your neocortex. But when you're stressed or you're fearful or you get angry you get a shot of adrenaline, you drop into the lower levels of your brain. And you're not nice when you drop into the lower part of your brain because you're instinctual and you're protective, and you don't think clearly, and it's all emotion and you might yell, or you might pound the table. You might throw something. That's not your best thinking. Anytime you see any of those things, you've moved out of your best thinking in your cortex into limbic, okay?

Why am I teaching this to you? Because you can learn to go, wait a minute. I started off here in this thing, but all of a sudden something triggered by what she, or what he said and now I have just dropped into, all of a sudden, I'm getting emotional, I'm getting hot. I'm raising my voice, I'm getting sarcastic. I have just dropped out of my highest level of thinking. And I'm now thinking in the dumb brain, in the limbic brain. I'm thinking emotionally, what do you do? One of the ways you can resist the devil, okay, is don't let him keep you in that level. When you drop from, well, we were having a pretty good discussion here, but all of a sudden somebody's feelings got hurt and everything got elevated. When you drop into that emotional lower level of thinking, drop, stop, just stop, shut up. Pause, take a breath. Stop talking. Don't say anything, let your emotions cool so that you don't say things in your limbic brain that you'll later regret 'cause you say stuff.

When you say stuff you regret, it's not coming out of the cortex. It's coming out of the limbic, all right? Now that's a big scientific explanation for the fact that you need to cool it down. Ephesians 4:31 says it like this. Get rid, get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger. Get rid of it. Never shout harsh words. Insults, cursing, don't curse, or any other type of rude or hurtful talk. That might be a verse for you to write down on a card and memorize this week, put it on your refrigerator, on your visor in your car, whatever, okay? The way you resist the devil, one of the ways, is don't get caught in him moving you from one kind of thinking to another. When all of a sudden you're not thinking so well anymore, make sure you're not in the lower part of your brain, You're in the higher part of your brain. And when you feel like, oh, this, I'm not as clear as I was, pause. And if you teach this to each other in a marriage in a family, it'll save you an awful lot of heartache. Couple more steps in James 4. The next verse tells us this. When you're in a quarrel, he says, what causes quarrels? The conflicts, and then he gives us how to deal with it.

Number six, talk to God silently during the quarrel, okay? Talk to God silently while you're talking to the other person. You can carry on two conversations at the same time. You do this all the time. You're probably doing it right now. As you're listening to me, you're also talking to yourself. You can carry on more than one conversation sometimes. And talking to God will put you back up in your higher, less angry part of your brain. It takes you out of the emotional part and puts you back up there, okay? So this is really important. This is really important.

Let me give you another little tip that goes with this that I've noticed, on the days that I begin and end my day with the Word of God, I'm a whole lot more at peace. I'm a whole lot less irritable. You will be amazed at what a daily quiet time with God will do for you. That's what this next verse says. James 4:8, if you draw close to God, He will draw close to you, even in a quarrel, even in a conflict, even in an argument. This is a wonderful promise. If you draw close to God, He'll draw closer to you. That means, so I'm starting to get in this, I'm just having this discussion, let's say with my wife, and all of a sudden I get my feelings hurt or she gets her feelings hurt. And all of a sudden I'm dropping out of my clear thinking into the more emotional thinking. All of a sudden I'm getting a little catty, a little irritable, sarcastic, using words that I don't want to use.

Okay, he says, draw close to God and He will draw close to you. So at that point, I need to pause and ask God for wisdom and ask God for patience and ask God for help and ask God to help me hear clearly and ask God to give me the insight into that other person. All right, and so I would just sit down and I would imagine Jesus Christ with me there in the conflict, in the quarrel and going, okay, Lord, what would you say? What would you do? Help me to hear this as You're hearing it, not as the way I'm hearing it 'cause I got to filter that's just me, okay. And it's got all of my brokenness, and it's got all of my sins and it's got all of my past misunderstandings. So how do you see it, Lord? You see this perfectly.

And that leads me to the final step on reducing quarrels in your life. Invite Jesus to manage my thoughts and words. Literally specifically Jesus Christ, I want to make You the manager of my thoughts and my words. Colossians 3:15 says this, let the peace that Christ gives. He's the Prince of Peace. You want peace in your relationships? Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. Because as members of Christ's body you are called to live in peace. Are you a member of Christ's body? What is Christ body? It's the Church. Are you a member of Christ's Church? He said, "If you're in God's family, if you're a believer, if you've been born again, if you were in the family of God, the flock of God, if you're a member of Christ's Church," he says, "you, you, you are called to live in peace".

Now, as I wrap this up, I'd like to ask you to think about somebody you may be having a quarrel with right now. Okay, just think about somebody that you may be having a quarrel with right now. All right, got that person in mind? Now I want you to think of Jesus Christ sitting with you as you talk to them. Remember, a fight can be physical, but a quarrel is always verbal. And as you talk to them, how would things change? How would things change if you visualize Jesus Christ sitting next to you and letting Jesus coach you on what to say and how to say it and when to say it? Imagine yourself sitting there and, and whoever it is, he or she is across from you and you're in a quarrel about it. And then you go, now Lord, how would You respond to that? What would You say to that? And tell me what I need to say. That's what it means to make Jesus the manager of your thoughts and your words.

Now, of course, if you've never opened your life to Jesus Christ, you don't have the peace of Christ in your heart, you don't. It's not there because He's not in your heart so His peace is not in your heart, but you can get it. You can get it today, you can get it right now. It'd be my honor to help you invite Christ into your life, with His peace. And when He comes in and you let Him manage your thoughts and your mind and your words and your emotions, it just changes everything. So I'd like us to bow our heads right now. And I'm going to pray for two different groups. First, I want to pray for those of you who, you know the Lord, but you know, you still haven't surrendered this area. Would you say:

God, I'm fed up with being a quarreling person? I don't like the arguments in my life. I don't like the conflict in my life. I don't want to be a quarreling person anymore. And so I want to repent of it. I realize it's a big deal, it's a sin. I realize that it can cause enormous destruction. I realize that it's caused by the conflict in my own life and my battle with You if I want to be my own God sometimes. I want to do what I want to do, not what You want. So today I want to humble myself before You. I want to humble myself. And I want to ask You to be the manager of my mouth, the manager of my brain, the manager of my emotions. I want the peace of Christ to rule in my heart. Help me to practice these steps this week. And when I start dropping out of that smart brain that You gave me into the emotional brain and I start getting all excited and my words get faster and I get louder, help me to just pause, to stop, to calm down till I can go back up into the smarter, clearer thinking. And Lord, help me to treat other people the way You would. I'm gonna treat everybody with respect and to let a lot of stuff slide that doesn't really even need to be mentioned. I'm not the manager of the universe and so I'm turning in my resignation today. You are the manager of the universe.

Now, if you've never opened your life to Christ, why don't you just add:

Jesus Christ, I want to get to know You. And I want to ask You to put your peace in my life. I need the peace of Christ in my life 'cause I've had a lot of conflict. And I ask You to clean out all of the sin in my life and the garbage in my life and the regrets in my life. And just make me a new person inside as You've promised to do. I want to be born again. I want to know You in a personal way. I don't understand it all, but I want to start the journey today. So I humbly ask You to accept me into your family and to forgive me for the things I've done wrong. And I'm asking You to guide me the rest of my life. In Your name, I pray, amen.

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