“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?“ (James 4:1, NIV)
I heard the story recently of a castle in Ireland. Over the years, the castle was uninhabited and fell into disrepair. Neighboring peasants began to scavenge the castle for stones. After all, these were beautiful cut stones they didn’t have to dig out of the ground or hew from a mountain. They were there for the taking. The castle was being dismantled piece by piece.
Lord Londonderry was the last remaining heir and he heard of what was happening. He visited and saw the sad shape of his inheritance. He ordered his employee to build a wall six feet high around the castle. Several years later when Londonderry returned. He found the wall, but no castle. It had vanished into thin air.
When he asked why his orders were not obeyed, the man in charge of the wall replied: “Is it for me to go all around Ireland digging up stone when the finest stone in the land is here?”
He tore down the castle to build a wall. That which he was charged to protect, he consumed.
We’re watching this happen before our eyes. In our country we debate building a wall to keep others out – but the foundation stones we built a nation on – God, life, liberty – are being destroyed from the inside.
Of course James isn’t preaching a political sermon here. He’s preaching to the church. You’ll remember in James 2:6 that the church is being persecuted by outsiders. But the real danger, James tells us, is within the church itself. Notice where the fights are taking place – not with outsiders, but “among you.”
This beloved castle God has given us as inheritance, his Church, is in danger of being dismantled stone by stone. Jesus told us that a house divided against itself cannot stand (Mt. 12:25). If the Church cannot unify under the Lordship of Jesus against our common enemy, we’re in danger of having a great wall with no castle left.
Join us Sunday to discover James’ prescription for this very important issue.