We are living in a time when we love to blame someone or something else for the things we do. It's convenient to have a scapegoat, especially when no one likes to take responsibility for their own actions anymore. We can make a million excuses for our wrong behavior, but we never seem to say, "I am responsible for my actions" or "I have sinned against God."
Tragically, even in the church today, psychology is in many cases placed on the same level as the Bible (and sometimes above it). Many in the church know more about self-esteem than they do about self-denial. They know more about inner healing than they do about outward obedience.
But is low self-esteem the source of our problems today? Is it the fault of others? Is it our family? Is it our culture or upbringing?
James gives us the answer. He tells us the source of our problems: "Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:1–2).
James was saying, "Your problems come from your desire for pleasure that battles within you." The Bible is not saying that pleasure in and of itself is necessarily wrong. There are certain pleasures that have been given to us by God himself.
James is warning us about possessing a pleasure-mad mentality. He is saying that the source of our problems is the selfish pursuit of pleasure. In other words, our problems come from a passionate love of ourselves.