Disappointed Lust
James 4:1-3
From where come wars and fights among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?…

1. Lustings are astrally disappointed. God loveth to cross desires when they are inordinate; His hand is straitened when our desires are enlarged.

(1) Sometimes in mercy (Hosea 2:7). Prosperous and successful wickedness encourageth a man to go on in that way; some rubs are an advantage.

(2) Sometimes in judgment, that He may torment men by their own lusts; their desires prove their just torture. The blood heated by intemperance, and the heart enlarged by desire, are both of them sins that bring with them their own punishment, especially when they meet with disappointment. Learn, then, that when the heart is too much set upon anything, it is the ready way to miss it. When you forget to subject your desires to God's will, you shall understand the sovereignty of it. Be not always troubled when you cannot have your will; you have cause to bless God. It is a mercy when carnal desires are disappointed; say as David (1 Samuel 25:32). It teacheth you what reflections to make upon yourselves in case of disappointment. When we miss any worldly thing that we have desired, say, Have not I lusted after this? Did not I covet it too earnestly? Absalom was the greater curse to David because he loved him too much. Inordinate longings make the affections miscarry.

2. Where there is covetousness there is usually strife, envy, and emulation. Ye lust; ye kill; ye emulate — these hang in a string. As there is a connection and a cognation between virtues and graces — they go hand in hand — so there is a link between sins — they seldom go alone. If a man be a drunkard, he will be a wanton; if he be covetous, he will be envious.

3. It is lust and covetousness that is most apt to trouble neighbourhoods and vicinities (Proverbs 15:27). Covetousness maketh men of such a harsh and sour disposition. Towards God it is idolatry; it robbeth Him of one of the flowers of His crown, the trust of the creature; and it is the bane of human societies. Why are men's hearts besotted with that which is even the reproach and defamation of their natures?

4. Lust will put men not only upon dishonest endeavours, but unlawful means, to accomplish their ends, killing, and warring, and fighting, etc. Bad means will suit well enough with base ends; they resolve to have it; any means will serve the turn, so they may satisfy their thirst of gain (1 Timothy 6:9).

5. Do wicked men what they can, when God setteth against them their endeavours are frustrated (Psalm 33:10).

6. It is not good to engage in any undertaking without prayer. That no actions must be taken in hand but such as we can commend to God in prayer; such enterprises we must not engage in as we dare not communicate to God in our supplications (Isaiah 29:15).

(T. Manton.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

WEB: Where do wars and fightings among you come from? Don't they come from your pleasures that war in your members?

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