James said, "where strife is, every evil work abounds."
That, for sure, means we want to get rid of strife in our lives.
Who is it that stirs up strife? It's the devil,...... but he uses
people to do it, and sometimes, it is you or me that he uses. Huh!!
not me, I'm a saint. Who do you think you are fooling, sometimes you
miss it just like I do. Have you ever worked some place, that was
a real test of Christian principles? A place filled with strife.......The
boss is unreasonable, yells, cusses and throws things. How do you
(or did you) respond to the situation? Do you seethe, grind your teeth then
go home, kick the dog, growl at your mate and tell the kids that the next
one who breathes deep will suffer capital punishment. At this moment,
it is possible, your mate will make a mild comment concerning your
disposition.....he or she hits the right button and the strife comes pouring
out. Then after a miserable night of tossing and turning you get up
and return for some more of the same.
Sometimes it is possible to win a battle and lose the war. This type
of response to an ungodly situation, can cost us more than we really want
to pay. It can cost our health, our joy, our peace, and possibly our
marriage. But, Praise the Lord, We have choices.
CHOICE; We can change jobs, (not always a practical solution) and certainly
not a spiritual solution, because if we have been in unresolved strife and
try to run away from it.....it goes with us. We have to get it resolved,
because our right relationship with God depends on it. Remember that
pesky verse in The Lord's Prayer which says, forgive me, as I have forgiven.
Right after that it says, "For IF you forgive people
their trespasses...that is, their reckless and willful sins, leaving them,
letting them go and giving up resentment....your heavenly Father will also
forgive you." But IF you do not forgive others their trespasses....their
reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go and giving up resentment
neither will your heavenly Father forgive you."Matthew 6:14-15
That's heavy duty stuff. The thing is, we are surrounded by abrasive,
irritating, and annoying people.....it's part of God's plan for us.
"Be assured and understand the trial and proving of your faith brings
out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and
steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work: so you
may be (people) perfectly and fully developed (with no defects), lacking
in nothing." James 1:3-4.
God wants us to be perfect, lacking in nothing and He uses other people to
polish off our rough edges. We can run away (life on a desert island
sometimes seems appealing..... "I'd be very saintly Lord, if only I didn't
have to deal with people") but sooner or later we have to get it right.
When we are busy pointing fingers at each other, sure that it is always the
other person who is at fault, it never seems to occur to us that someone
is jerking our strings and pulling us to destruction.
GUESS WHO IT IS THAT DOESN'T WANT US PERFECT, AND LACKING IN NOTHING.
CHOICE; We can learn to recognize strife when it is just a small trickle
of water, dribbling over the dam and defuse the situation before there is
a flood. Even if we don't think it is our fault. We can say "I'm sorry
if I have offended you. What can I do to make it right?" REMEMBER the
Word says, it is a soft answer that turns away wrath, this won't work if
said sarcastically or with a snarl.
CHOICE; We can learn to really look at and listen to people, to be attentive.
Most people have hurts in their lives. Jesus has called us to walk
in His place, taking love and healing to the world. We can pray for
insight, discretion and understanding, so we do not add wood to the fire.
"For lack of wood, the fire goes out." Proverb 26:20"But refuse...shut your mind against, have nothing to do with...trifling
(ill-informed, unedifying, stupid) controversies over ignorant questionings,
for you know that they foster strife and breed quarrels. And the servant
of the Lord must not be quarrelsome...fighting and contending. Instead
he must be kindly to every one and mild tempered...preserving the bond of
peace; he must be a skilled and suitable teacher, patient and forbearing
and willing to suffer wrong. He must correct his opponents with courtesy
and gentleness, in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and
come to know the Truth...that is, that they will perceive and recognize and
become accurately acquainted with and acknowledge it."2 Timothy 2:23-25
The teacher must have THE MASTER'S degree in patience, gentleness, and
CHOICE: We can try to be a peace maker and then leave work with forgiveness
in our hearts. On the way home we can renounce strife, pray for the
boss, pull down strong holds and go home for a pleasant evening. I
think it was Socrates who said, calm and repose slam the door on the devils
nose. Sometimes strife is one sided, and it's all on our side.
By that I mean that the devil throws us a thought that is meant to destroy
and instead of throwing it back by giving people the benefit of thinking
well of them we let our imagination go to work. If the other person
says "What's wrong?" the answer is either "you should know," or "nothing"
and silence. That's really playing the enemy's game and we always
lose. Our thought life has to be brought into line.
"For the weapons of our warfare are not physical (weapons of flesh and
blood), but they are mighty before God for the overthrow an destruction of
strongholds. (Inasmuch as we) refute arguments and theories and reasoning's
and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the (true) knowledge
of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience
of Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One." 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
We must lead our thoughts to Jesus. When perverse thoughts or statements
come to us concerning someone else, lets be ready to believe the best of
them. 1 Corinthians 13-7 "Let not
the sun go down on your wrath" is very wise advice. Learn
to say I want to make it right, I was wrong, I'm sorry, Forgive me and I
love you. Never mind who started it, open the way to solve it, God
has called us to be peace makers, not trouble makers. Lets keep our
goal in mind. God's word declares that we are free, prosperous and
well. Our goal is to enter into the promised land NOW, and when promises
become facts, that is our promised land.
Strife between brothers and sisters in the Lord, is the plague of the
Church. Remember the man who couldn't pay his debt to the King.
The one who threw himself down and begged for mercy and received it? Remember
how he then denied this same mercy to one who was in debt to him? When the
King heard that he had sent his debtor to jail, he was angry, he called the
man contemptible and said "should you not have had
pity and mercy on your fellow, as I had pity and mercy on you?"
In wrath the King turned this man over to the jailers and torturers Matthew
18:21-35 the number one result for not forgiving the sins against us
by another person is that now there are two people in jail instead of one,
and the torturers will take from us (the latest captive) joy, peace and
victory. The number two result is spiritual division.....no spiritual
harmony with fellow believers equals no spiritual harmony with God.
This is major, we are talking serious.
"Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree
(harmonize together, together and make a symphony) about anything and
everything...what ever they shall ask, it will come to pass and be done for
them by My Father in heaven." Matthew 18:19.
Do we want health, prosperity, and peace? Then lets kick out strife and get
in harmony. There are only two choices, harmony or division.
We get to choose. It looks like anyone in their right mind would choose
harmony. Yet time after time, by the wrong choices, homes, work-places
and churches are changed from places of love, joy and victory into places
of torment and desolation.
Why is that? Why does it happen?.......It happens because we are
stupid....without knowledge of God....and so we are easily duped and led
into captivity. Satan's very best weapon against the Church is strife,
he manages to break harmony between us over penny ante things like "whose
in charge of paper clips" and "what kind of piano shall we buy". Then
he says "don't try to resolve this, go somewhere else." If we follow
his suggestion, the strife goes with us and waits for an opportunity to explode,
and while it waits, it works pain in our lives. Where strife is, every evil work
"Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his
noble living show forth his good works with the (unobtrusive) humility (which
is the proper attribute) of true wisdom." James 3:13.
Fear, Panic and rage or ANGER, have this in common: They can kill us.
I once read about a man in Seattle who flew into such a rage that he had
a heart attack and died. The reason..... the cook in the restaurant
he owned, drank his coffee out of a saucer. He had told him not to
do that, the cook did. The cafe owner got a gun and was going to shoot
the cook, but his rage killed him first.
Will Rogers once said, "Those who fly into a rage usually make very bad
landings." The word says, "Anger is a wind
that blows out the lamp (reason) of your mind."Proverbs 16:23. "He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and with out walls."
This allows Satan to walk right in, whenever he wants to.
"When angry, do not sin, do not ever let your wrath.....your exasperation, your
fury or indignation....last until the sun goes down. Leave no (such)
room or foothold for the devil...give no opportunity to him." Ephesians 4:26:27. Satan is able to get quite a lot of trouble
stirred up without our help, lets not give him a foothold.
Anger and ill temper are listed in Galatians 5:19-21 as some of
the sins which prevent us from inheriting the kingdom of God. Anger
is the doing of the flesh, and those who belong to Christ Jesus, the Messiah
have crucified the flesh. Galatians 5:24.
"Make no friendships with a man given to anger, and with a wrathful man do
not associate. Lest you learn his ways and get yourself into a snare."Proverbs 22:24-25. Wrath can be learned. If we want to
fly with the eagles, we should not run with the turkeys. Jesus is the
answer to strife. "Lord, You will ordain peace (God's favor and blessings,
temporal and spiritual) for us, for you have wrought in us and for us all
our works. O Lord our God, other masters besides You have (past tense)
ruled over us, but we will acknowledge and mention Your name only.
They (the former tyrant masters) are dead, They shall not live and reappear;
they are powerless ghosts, they shall not rise and come back Therefore you
have visited and made an end of them, and caused every memorial of them (every
trace of their supremacy) to perish".Isaiah 26:12-14.
We do not have to do the works
of the flesh, it has been crucified with Jesus. Now we can tread over
all the power of the enemy. Luke 10-19. Where strife
is every evil work abounds (this includes sickness).
If you have been in strife anywhere, that has not been resolved between you
and God or you and the other person. It is likely you need
A string of illness in your house, you or your family.
Plagued by fear
Tormented by evil thoughts
Strongholds, a sin that has hold of you, something you have not been able
to overcome in spite of persistent effort and prayer.
Recognize the need
Repent and forgive, then receive forgiveness for yourself. Renounce all evil spirits
Be delivered by your own, God given, authority or someone else's.