Strife

November 22, 2013

Strife

1 Corinthians 3:3
for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

Isn’t it unfortunate that this statement so often defines us as we try to walk and live spiritual lives? Strife comes into to pollute so many of our relationships, both spiritual and natural. Really it is the outward manifestation of an inward condition. James 3: 14 and 16 in the King James version speaks of strife with this: “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth… “For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work.“ The Amplified version identifies more of the root causes of this strife, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth… For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” Verses 17-18 of the Amplified version goes on to say, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” We all know what it is like to be around a contentious person that is trying to provoke strife. It is often difficult to ignore and continually walk away from because it is continually antagonizing and provoking you. Strife is described in Galatians 5:20 as an attribute of the flesh, but it is one that has a hard time existing by itself. It needs someone to partner with. It needs an adversary and someone to contend with. It loves company and to get others caught up in the fray.
What are strife’s root causes? James has already identified bitterness, envy, selfishness and self-seeking. Proverbs 15:8 says, “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to anger appeaseth strife.” Proverbs 16:28 says, “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:14 tells us, “The beginning of trouble is like letting out water. So stop arguing before fighting breaks out.” Have you ever noticed how strife can result in a diarrhea of the mouth? We get started and before we know it, all kinds of putrid things are spewing out, which usually only serves to bring the same vile venom out of the other’s mouth.
We know that the perpetrator of this strife is demonic in nature and spirit, and yet we so easily fall into the snare that serves to only hurt, divide separate us. Disunity and strife strikes at the heart of family, fellowship and community. It has destroyed families, marriages, churches, and nations. It is at the root of our wars. In spite of its immensely destructive power we continually allow ourselves to be manipulated by it. Perhaps it is destroying the relationship you have with the person or persons you started out loving. It can only be stopped as we realize and acknowledge within ourselves the weakness and the flesh that is giving place to this deceptive destroyer. It needs our flesh to feed off of to even exist. The more we can enter into Christ and walk by the Spirit, the less power and influence it can have. It needs our ego, our pride, our selfishness, our jealousy and envy. It needs our anger, meddling, gossiping, and tattling to fan its flames.
Philippians 2:2-4 says this, “2Then give me true joy by thinking the same thoughts. Keep having the same love. Be as one in thoughts and actions. 3Nothing should be done because of pride or thinking about yourself. Think of other people as more important than yourself. 4Do not always be thinking about your own plans only. Be happy to know what other people are doing.” Strife has very little to build on when our motives are based in unselfish love toward one another. If we all have this mind to live for and bless one another, then the flesh has little place because our selfishness and pride aren’t in the way. Love the person that is so intent on striving against you. Return good for evil, compliment for insult and be of a gentle and quiet spirit. It is a spiritual battle waged through human agents. See it for what it is and let the weapons of your warfare not be natural, but mighty through the Spirit to the tearing down of strongholds.
Moses lost his entrance into the promise land because he responded out of the flesh to the strife of the people at the waters of Meribah in the wilderness. Responding to strife in the flesh will always cause us to lose by robbing us of the higher way. Let love rule in your hearts, mercy and peace in your actions and willingness to count others above yourself in your thinking.
“Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).

Blessings,
kent

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Enemy Thine

July 31, 2013

Enemy Thine

Romans 12:20
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

I am reminded in this verse of the parable Jesus gave of the good Samaritan, whom, though despised of the Jews, took pity and showed mercy on a robbed and nearly beaten to death Jew, whom his own countrymen had crossed the road to avoid. How many times do I cross the road in life to avoid the inconvenience of ministering to someone in need? Let alone, someone who despises me as his enemy. There is no more searing testimony of love than that shown through our unselfish actions. We have been the partakers of such a One’s love, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” We were the enemies of God and yet He loved us unconditionally and poured His hot coals of love on our heads through the Lord Jesus Christ.
There will be those in our lives who will hurt us, abuse us, take advantage of us, and treat us shamefully. They would be the objects of our hate and revenge if we were still natural men and women. There is something God wants to flow out of us that is supernatural. It stands in defiance of all natural laws of human relationships. It is a quality that can only come from the Father’s love and the nature of Christ He is bringing forth in us. It is that ability to return good for evil, blessing for cursing and prayer for those who despitefully use you. Mathew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”
There are those of us today that are carrying deep hurts from the wounds others have wrongfully inflicted upon us. Jesus is asking something that may be very hard for us to do. He is asking us not only to forgive them, but also to pray for them and to do good to them. I believe He is convicting some of us right now in this area and as we are able to be obedient to the direction of His Spirit concerning these offenders it will be the source of great release and spiritual blessing in our lives. This is a Word of the Lord for you. God is going to show you how to feed your enemy and give him drink, but you must be obedient to lay down the offense and act on what God will show you. Remember we are no longer ordinary people, but extraordinary people because of the Spirit of Christ that indwells us.

Blessings,
kent

2013

January 2, 2013

Psalms 13
1How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
4my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.

2013

A year of reconciliation, of restoring the breaches.
A year of undoing what the enemy has destroyed,
of turning what he has meant for evil, to good.
A year of turning from superstitions and evil imaginations,
back to light and truth.
A year of unveiling what has hidden in the darkness of
our ignorance so that mercy and justice might prevail.
A year when that which is birthed of the flesh is put out,
so that what is born of the Spirit might rule.
A year to apprehend what you have been apprehended for.

Blessings,
kent

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