Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
This thought requires some linguistic background before beginning. The word, “lust” here is not the same original word as was used in Verse 1. As we discussed, the lust in verse 1 was referring to hedonistic, sensual, worldly desires; It referred to a lifestyle of inappropriate desires and wishes.
This particular word in and of itself has neither negative or positive connotations. It simply means here, “a strong desire.”This is actually the same word for desire that Paul used in 1 Timothy 3:1 in reference to a man desiring to have the office of pastor.
What is being described here is an ongoing, continuous state of unfulfilled desire. The object of the desires is not so much the topic here, but the fact that the desires exist and are constantly not being fulfilled. Having said that, however, it seems the context of this passage overall indicates that the desires in question here are worldly, fleshly desires rather than Godly ones. But, again, the specific object of the desire doesn’t really matter; what matters is what happens as a result of these unfulfilled desires.
Before we progress onward into what James has to say, let’s think about how we react to our own unfulfilled desires. I think we all know how the world reacts; the world fosters a real, “I’m going to get mine,” mentality. The business world is replete with a “dog eat dog” mentality. The world of social mobility is packed those willing to step on the person ahead of them on the ladder to get ahead themselves. What so we see in the world when people do not get their desires met on an ongoing basis? Is that what we are seeing in our churches today?