file:///C:/Users/Tery/Desktop/index.html The Latter Glory: The Dangerous Spirit Of Strife

The Dangerous Spirit Of Strife

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. (James 3v14)
This is the second spirit I would like us to look at. It is devastating in nature and unfavourable to anyone. It exists in many people including believers, but this ought not so to be. This is the subject of strife. There is a problem ladies and gentlemen if we remain ignorant of the problem that we have. If one fails to recognise a sickness or a disease in his body he will also fail to seek medical attention and the sickness will
do whatever it wants with his body because it will be unknown. The same is true with the spirit of strife. It is not known by many people yet it also exists in many people and thus a few take control measures over it. No one takes medication for a disease he doesn’t know of its existence in him.
Sometimes you need to be humble enough to ask for forgiveness even if you are 100% sure that you were right and deserved the apology. You won’t die because of an apology
The word strife, by definition, means conflict, sometimes violent, usually brief or limited in scope. It is synonymous with the words conflict, contention and discord. It is characterised by quarrelling, arguing and usually leads to hatred. I have seen many Christians succumb to this spirit mainly because they do not know that the devil is behind it; people who are controlled by strife yet they are the ones who mostly profess to be spiritually mature. I am not merely talking about congregants and Church members; I am also talking about Church leaders, Pastors, Deacons, Elders, Bishops and Prophets. Strife penetrates into the leaders to fulfil this purpose: steal, kill and destroy. Let us look at it in the Amplified:
But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of {and} false to the Truth.(James 3:14 AMP)
The amplified calls it contention, rivalry and self-ambition; and notice where it takes place: in the heart. There are many rivalries in the body of Christ; these may be because of spiritual gifts, natural talents, riches, relationships and many other factors. Some people have conflicts because someone is used by God through one spiritual gift more than the other. If someone prophesies more details than the other, then the one that has less details may envy the one who has more or the one who has more may boast of his gift to the one who has less. This causes rivalry, thus it results in strife. Some people can sing better than others, or sometimes someone in the praise and worship team may try to convince everyone that she is the best singer. If someone else also wants the same status then it is likely that there will be a conflict. There are some who want to be closely linked to the Pastor. If someone gets to be more linked to the Pastor than others, there is likely to be rivalry.
There are many things that cause strife and unless they are dealt with, they are very harmful. The Amplified Bible makes strife clearer by saying that it is for self-ambition in your hearts. Strife is usually there to satisfy selfish ambitions. It is usually dominant where a person wants to fulfil his personal interests at any cost and even at the expense of other people. Selfishness is the root of strife. There are people who do not care what happens to other people as long as they just get what they want. Such an attitude of selfishness results in strife. Some are just after everyone’s recognition and acceptance and if that recognition goes to someone else, they get bitter and get themselves into strife.
Strife is dangerous, it cripples your love walk and always puts you at a disadvantage wherever you may go. The presence of strife is the absence of love. The Bible says ”where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work (James3:16).“ Strife is everywhere and even in Churches. Strife is generated on the inside and expressed on the outside. The Bible calls it self-ambition in your heart. The outside expression of strife is usually displayed in quarrelling and arguing. This is one factor that exists in most groups, disagreement and quarrelling. The Bible warns against it saying in 2Timothy 2:23 ”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“(AMP)
There are people who like to argue especially over biblical issues. Things like godly clothing, meats, Sabbath days and food are some of the topics discussed in these hot debates. I have experienced a lot of people who come to me with some questions that lead to arguments and I have turned them down. There are people out there who are ready to quarrel with you over the Bible and they mask strife in the name of helping each other. There is no helping each other if the conversation results in strife. There will be conflicts.
The Church in Corinth experienced the same thing and because they argued too much they ended up having divisions and factions. Some were saying we are of Paul, others saying we are of Apollos and others saying we are of Christ. It all began as simple debates. You see now how strife is generated? It is through small debates and arguments. I have seen Christians arguing over even some silly issues. At one instance they ended up no longer talking to each other. I am not talking about distant people here, these were friends, members of the same Christian group, in the same department and also followers of the same God, but this one thing happened, they allowed strife to separate them through trifling (ill-informed, unedifying, stupid) controversies over ignorant questionings. Some Churches have split due to strife, they could not agree over some issues and so some left and started their own ministries. I don’t know the strength of a ministry that is started out of strife.
Proverbs 20:3AMP says: It is an honour for a man to cease from strife {and} keep aloof from it, but every fool will quarrel. A person of honour does not yield to strife but a fool gives in to strife through quarrelling. Have you ever realised that people lose their honour or respect if they quarrel too much? It happens; sometimes being calm helps you to obtain respect. The Word says ”Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding“(Proverbs 17:28). It pays to maintain silence, it keeps you away from strife.
Strife begins small and it expands. It is like a veld fire which is started by a tiny matchstick yet it burns the whole forest. The Bible says it this way:
The beginning of strife is as when water first trickles [from a crack in a dam]; therefore stop contention before it becomes worse {and} quarrelling breaks out.                                                  Proverbs17:14 AMP
The problem with strife is that it is evil. It is the open door that the devil uses to penetrate into your life. He knows that you are anointed and it is difficult for him to reverse it. He knows that God loves you and he cannot reverse it. He knows that you have faith and it is difficult for him to reverse it. What he then does is look for an opening, the last open door through which he can enter and disrupt your life, and that open door is called strife. The devil took that strategy from God. In Genesis 11, we see a group of people building a tower to reach heaven. God sees their unity of thought and decides to stop them by confusing their language. That is the same weapon the devil copied, but now he uses it for the wrong reasons. Wherever the life of a Christian or a Christian group is flowing, the devil seeks for the door of strife and confuses things. He brings arguments, contentions and conflicts and if we are not careful, we find ourselves arguing and quarrelling and eventually hating each other. This is synonymous in many groups, organisations and among individuals. If you try to trace back and see the reasons why some people who were once united and on fire for God have since split or stopped, you will realise that there is an element of strife. Just as God confused their language and brought to an end their unity of thought, the devil also brings an end to people’s unity of thought and surrounds them with confusion, then the Bible says where strife is there is confusion and every evil. People end up no longer smiling to each other, no more calling, no more texting and no more sharing the love as they would always do. The reason for that is that they would have tolerated the spirit of strife to rule over them.
Strife dampens your spiritual activity and cripples your spiritual capacity. Your desire to pray decreases, your desire to fellowship deteriorates, you find it necessary to be alone and commune with God personally without other people. I am not saying this is bad, but this is a major characteristic of people who have been hit by strife, they tend to distance themselves from other people.
You and I need to check our love walk continually, if there is a small gap in our love both for God and for other people, the devil will penetrate through that gap. Make it a point to forgive other people, make it a point to smile at people. If there is anyone who hates you, do not hate back, try by all means to communicate your love towards them. If you ever see yourself in an argument, stop right there and repent, ask the person for forgiveness; usually they will encourage you to continue with the conversation, just hold your silence. Now I want you to know that there are times when keeping quiet will seem like the most foolish thing to do. Maybe you’ll be right and they’ll be wrong. It is in times like these when your character is tested. Folks, even if you know that you are right or innocent, do not try to justify yourself or prove a point, keep yourself away from strife, just 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. Keep your silence, even if they say you have chickened out, just keep your mouth shut. I know very well as much as you do that you will be burning inside, with a burning desire to just speak and prove a point, but know that the moment you open your mouth to continue with the argument or quarrel, you are opening a door of strife to the devil to destroy your life. Just keep quiet, it will not kill you. Sometimes you need to be humble enough to ask for forgiveness even if you are 100% sure that you were right and deserved the apology. You won’t die because of an apology, but rather you will not open the door of strife to your adversary the devil, who, like a roaring lion walks up and down seeking whom he may devour. 2 Timothy 2:24 says ”And the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome (fighting and contending). Instead, he must be kindly to everyone {and} mild-tempered [preserving the bond of peace]; he must be a skilled {and} suitable teacher, patient {and} forbearing {and} willing to suffer wrong.(AMP)“ Be kind, do not be short-tempered, do not quarrel, but rather be patient, forbearing and willing to suffer wrong. That means willing to be embarrassed and humiliated in front of everyone for the sake of keeping away from strife. It sounds difficult, but with practice you will be the friendliest person in your environment and the devil will stay away from you, because the strife door will be closed, locked, sealed and secured. However if there is strife, there will ”be factions (quarrelling), jealousy, temper (wrath, intrigues, rivalry, divided loyalties), selfishness, whispering, gossip, arrogance (self-assertion), and disorder among you“ (2 Corinthians 12:20AMP). Stay away from strife and stay blessed, and remember, that
Jesus is Lord!!!   TLG

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