From The Heart

Publish date: 08/12/2001

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  James 3:13-18 NIV

Everybody thinks that they are wise, but only if you compare your words and deeds to the Word of God, can you know for sure. Good deeds that originate from a humble heart are evidence that a person is wise. However, if a person harbors bitter envy and selfish ambition in their heart, then they are not wise at all, but they are foolish.

You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?  Corinthians 3:3 NIV

Jealous and quarrelsome Christians are behaving like people who have not yet been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. They are worldly and they behave like the world. As children of God, we should live our lives in a way that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

NIV - He who loves a quarrel loves sin; he who builds a high gate invites destruction. TLB - Sinners love to fight; boasting is looking for trouble.  Proverbs 17:19

If you fight and quarrel and love it—you are a sinner and most likely an arrogant and boastful one at that. Pride and strife are partners. They usually go together. At the very least, a proud person will be touchy and defensive. At their worst they will aggressively pick fights with others. They are touchy and reactionary and it doesn't take much to make them angry. Jesus tells us to love God and to love our neighbor. It is a very proud person who has little or no respect for God and who thinks nothing of fighting and striving with their neighbor. 

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.  James 3:16 KJV

Where you allow strife to exist—you also allow confusion and evil to manifest. This is why devils make stirring strife a priority. Learn to recognize when the devil is stirring strife and cut him off. The problem is that we look at the people we can see and we think that they are our problem, when really it is a spiritual problem and we have to deal with it in a spiritual way. We need to choose a path of peace. You cannot make another person behave one way or another, but you can control your own feelings, emotions and reactions. Eliminate strife and you will shut the door on the devil.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Philippians 2:3 KJV

Humility is a good antidote for strife. A humble person is not concerned about winning the fight or being "right." The wisdom that is from above is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. If you are wise, you will conduct yourself in such a way that you promote peace in your life and your relationships.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Romans 12:17-18 NIV

It doesn't matter who tries to fight with you, you can make the choice to eliminate strife, live in peace and do right.