[x_custom_headline type=”left” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″]There is an interesting passage of Scripture in the book of Philippians that I would like to draw your attention to. Because it addresses two ladies within the church who have got themselves into strife with one another, and that strife is now impacting the entire church.[/x_custom_headline]
[x_blockquote cite=”Philippians 4:1-3 KJV” type=”left”]“Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. 2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.”[/x_blockquote]
The Philippian church, and the spiritual condition of its members, determined the eventual rewards Paul would receive in heaven. He knew this of course, so he begins by boasting to them about the joy they brought to his life, and the eventual crown he would be given by the Lord Jesus in the future.
No matter who you are, and no matter how much you have grown in the Lord, you will always face the opportunities to draw back or grow cold, and yes, even get into strife with others. But Paul did not want this to happen to these believers. Because when a man of God invests his life into people, and they either abandon the church, or even worse, backslide and turn away from the Lord because of strife and discord, it is a crushing blow beyond words.
If you do not hold on tightly to the things of God, you can actually be led away by the error of others. There is no telling just how many believers have fallen from their own steadfastness (see 2 Peter 3:17), because they got caught up in someone else’s strife, or other sins.
In these verses above, we come to find the spirit of strife in operation. And this strife is so bad that it is affecting the life and testimony of the entire church before the world. And although we do not know who these two ladies were, it is safe to say that they were not new believers. And I say this because in verse three, we see that they had both worked with Paul in the ministry. Yet somehow a discord had developed between them, to the point that they refused to be reconciled, and their strife was producing much hurt and damage within the congregation. Strife and discord are so deadly that it is impossible to just sweep it under the rug. It must be dealt with.
[x_blockquote cite=”1 Corinthians 1:11 KJV” type=”left”]“For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.”[/x_blockquote]
The Corinthians had a similar problem and Paul had to address it with them. In fact, look what else Paul had to say to the Corinthian believers about getting into strife and discord.
[x_blockquote cite=”1 Corinthians 3:3 AMP” type=”left”]“For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men?”[/x_blockquote]
Paul has to deal with strife head on. And also notice that he never even gets into who is right or who is wrong. Instead he points out to these believers that the way they are acting is proof that they are carnal, and certainly not the spiritual giants they had thought they were.
Once you learn the deadliness of strife and contention, you will realize that only fools participate in it (see Proverbs 18:6). And in the third chapter of James, we find even more critical verses that describe the deadliness of strife.
[x_blockquote cite=”James 3:4-18 KJV” type=”left”]“14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”[/x_blockquote]
First you must realize that envy and strife are in direct opposition to truth, and Jesus said God’s Word is Truth (see John 17:17). So then it is clear, that to be in strife is to live and act against the Word of God. If you choose to do this, then nothing will work out for you.
And we must also understand that both envy and strife do come from a wisdom source, but that source is devilish, it is earthly, and it is of the senses. And as we also see in these verses, people in strife are confused. Is it any wonder they can’t be reasoned with when those in strife have a spirit of confusion that operates in their life? Also notice that strife will release every evil work against your life. True Christians live peaceable lives. They operate by the wisdom of God, the wisdom that comes from above, and certainly not from the devil.
Strife is a lethal force that Satan uses to destroy friendships, marriages, families, businesses, ministries and churches. Do not allow strife in your life at any time, for any reason. So deal with it today, and don’t carry it along with you into the New Year.