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Defeating Strife

From The Heart

Publish date: 05/13/2012

These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren.  Proverbs 6:16-19 AMP

One of the things that the Lord hates is strife and someone who sows discord among his or her family – or neighbors – in the Body of Christ. The Hebrew word translated strife here, also means: a contest; a quarrel; brawling; contention; contentious; discord. The dictionary definition of strife is: vigorous or bitter conflict; discord or antagonism; a quarrel, struggle, or clash; competition or rivalry. The root of all sin is selfishness. Selfishness and self-centeredness stir up strife and conflict, which never end well. They only produce bad fruit and are a fertile breeding ground for demonic activity.

Hate is a strong word. The word “hate” used here, of what the Lord hates, also means “enemy”. Strife, among other things, is an enemy to the anointing. The devil stirs up strife deliberately, to hinder and even destroy the anointing and the blessing in people’s lives.

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.  2 Timothy 2:22-26 KJV

When people yield to sin and oppose the truth of the Gospel, they open themselves up to demonic activity and become ensnared by the devil. Then the devil takes them captive and has his way in their lives. No one in their right mind would want the devil having his way in their lives, but many people don’t realize that they have given him access and authority by their mouth and their attitude.

The most important thing we can all do – if we want the blessing of the Lord – is to follow after righteousness, faith, love, and peace. These things need to be a priority in our lives, our talk, and our walk. When we make pet doctrines more important than people or relationships, or if we won’t let go of old carnal ideas, then it’s going to cause division. A lot of strife is stirred up by people wanting to be RIGHT – arguing about opinions; arguing over foolish things. The spirit of religion and tradition is all about doctrines and dogmas, but Christianity is about a relationship with a loving Heavenly Father and peaceful, fruitful relationships with others.

It is an honor for a man to cease from strife and keep aloof from it, but every fool will quarrel.  Proverbs 20:3 AMP

But if anyone teaches otherwise and does not assent to the sound and wholesome messages of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and the teaching which is in agreement with godliness (piety toward God), 4 He is puffed up with pride and stupefied with conceit, [although he is] woefully ignorant. He has a morbid fondness for controversy and disputes and strife about words, which result in (produce) envy and jealousy, quarrels and dissension, abuse and insults and slander, and base suspicions, 5 And protracted wrangling and wearing discussion and perpetual friction among men who are corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, who imagine that godliness or righteousness is a source of profit [a moneymaking business, a means of livelihood]. From such withdraw. 
1 Timothy 6:3-5 AMP
 
The people, who are the most argumentative and quarrelsome, are also the most foolish, arrogant, and ignorant. They are trying to look wise, but they show themselves to be fools. Many of these kinds of people will engage in extensive arguments – not because they are interested in the truth, but because they just like to argue. We need to each personally submit ourselves to the Word of God and focus on living a godly life. This is what will benefit everyone! Arguing doctrine and opinion is a waste of time and creates a fertile breeding ground for all kinds of sin and destructive talk and behavior.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
  Galatians 5:14-15 NKJV

There are NO winners when strife is not confronted and eliminated and repented of – and when it is allowed to run its course. Everyone is damaged in the end; everyone is the loser!

Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves].  Philippians 2:3 AMP

Pride and arrogance cause and accelerate strife, but humility will defeat it. If we are truly saved and filled with the Spirit of God, then we will humble ourselves to apologize and forgive and, in so doing, defeat strife and triumph over the devil.  

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  Galatians 5:19-23 KJV

Strife is a product of hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, and dissensions. These are works of the flesh and they destroy people and relationships. The antidote is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control!

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