James tells us that the people were quarreling and fighting, waging war with one another. Why were they doing that?
They wanted things they didn’t have.
Notice it doesn’t say they didn’t have what they needed. They were jealous of what others had. They wanted things they thought would bring them pleasure, not necessarily the things that would serve God’s purpose. They weren’t happy with what God had given them. And not only were they not happy, they warred and fought to get what they wanted instead of petitioning God.
They hadn’t learned to be content.
1 Timothy 6:6 reads, “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.” The following verses talk about “foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.” (v.9)
God blesses us with what we need. What I need to do my part in serving Him is going to look different from what you need. We have different personalities, different abilities and gifts, and different callings. Our needs to fulfill those are also going to be different. We should trust that God will provide for our needs, and be content with what He provides.
But if there is something more we feel we need, we shouldn’t try to take our neighbor’s, or even be jealous of them. We should ask God, and ask with pure hearts and good faith that He will give us what we need. Jesus said:
God wants to provide for us. He wants to take care of us. He doesn’t want us fighting over each other’s blessings. He knows each of us and what we need and will bless us each accordingly. Then it is up to us to recognize what He has blessed us with, be content that our needs are satisfied, and find out how to use those blessings to bring Him glory.