James 4:1-6 (NKJV)1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?2 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.3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"?6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." (emphasis mine)
James asks the question (paraphrasing), "Why are you so upset? What's the real problem in your heart?" And then he answers with divine wisdom, "I'll tell you what the matter is: it's your pleasures—your desires—that are waging war within you. And the result is sinful fights and quarrels."
Certainly, there's nothing inherently sinful about simply having desires in life. God created us to have desires. There are many good things to desire in life: having adequate food, clothing and shelter, having a happy marriage, getting a promotion at work, buying a nice car. There is nothing wrong with these kinds of desires… nothing inherently wrong, that is.
The problems come when, in our hearts, those desires turn into something else. The word epithumeo translated as "lust" in verse 2 is actually "desire" with the added element of "strong craving." Epithumeo is not a word that necessarily means "lust" in the sexual sense. The idea conveyed in the original text is "you are controlled by desire." In other words, some desire—perhaps, even for a good thing—has gotten so wrapped around your heart, that it has become more important than God to you.
Whenever this happens, the result is sinful behavior. And the sin of the heart that must be confessed first in cases like this is no less than the sin of idolatry. False worship occurs whenever worship of the true God is replaced with the god of "my way."
What a peaceful contrast is painted in verse 6. God gives grace to the humble. That is, those who humbly submit their desires to God and trust Him as the sovereign provider of needs are given grace. Grace here is the desire and ability to obey God and respond in a way that pleases Him. Such recipients of grace are able, then, to deal with whatever happens.
Does your situation today resemble what you expected or wanted in 2020? What is your response to this? Think back to a recent outburst of anger, or incident in which you showed irritability. Trace it back to the unfulfilled desire that had control of your heart. What was it that you wanted? Ask God to reveal any desires seeking to control your heart so that you can humbly submit them to Him and release them to His sovereign care. Repent of any lingering idolatry. Ask Him for grace to deal with whatever happens. Trust Him to provide for your needs.