Πόθεν πόλεμοι καὶ πόθεν μάχαι ἐν ὑμῖν; οὐκ ἐντεῦθεν, ἐκ τῶν ἡδονῶν ὑμῶν τῶν στρατευομένων ἐν τοῖς μέλεσιν ὑμῶν;
(Jas. 4:1 NA28)
Where do wars or conflicts come from in you? Do they not come from the pleasure you find in war making in your members?
(James 4:1 my own working translation)
We have conflict and fight with each other because we like it. I know people often are the victims of other people's love of the fight, however, we have to be constantly vigilant of our own hearts. We have to be aware of our own instinct to dig someone else, to go head to head, or to just compete in an unhealthy way. In recent years people have often thought that war comes from lack of resources. That may be a contributing factor, but the heart of mankind is the real source. People often think poor communication techniques or lack of empathy is the reason we have personal conflict. Communications techniques can help, but often our heart will turn good techniques on their head when used for sinful purposes. When we viciously compete with our neighbor and win, a part of our triumph may be to know exactly how they feel when they loose. It is not that we have not engaged emotionally with the other person, it is that we have engaged with sinful purpose in mind. We fight because we like conflict. We like the fight whether it is verbal or physical. We like the fight whether it is via gossip or the sports field. We all have conflict and often we like it if we can win or think we are winning. Not addressed in the verse is the idea of healthy and unhealthy conflict. The verse mainly deals with the source of conflict which is the human heart, my heart and your heart.