Why We Have Wars

William C. Brownson

READ : James 4:1-4

Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? (v. 1)

Why do we keep on having wars? That’s a big subject, but James goes straight to the heart of it. Conflicts, great and small, come from our “cravings.”

War starts in human hearts. Our passions, our runaway desires drag us into battle. We want what we don’t have. We covet what we can’t get. So we menace, we destroy, we stop at nothing to satisfy our inner thirst.

Many who go off to battle doubtless have higher motives: to defend homeland and families, to resist oppression. But for most of those who plan and carry out wars, the aims involved are often much more earthly. We crave land, trade routes, sea ports, gold and oil, power in strategic areas.

Now James shows us all a better way. “You do not have, because you do not ask.” He calls us to bring our runaway desires to God and trust him to meet our needs.

“But sometimes we crave and ask,” someone objects, “but don’t receive. Why is that?” James is ready with an answer. “You ask wrongly, to spend it on your pleasures.” Our motives in prayer are crucial. Godly praying always involves trust, and wanting God’s will most.


Lord, we bring our runaway desires to you. Give us not what we crave, but what we need.