STRIFE
The number four enemy of health.

James said, "where strife is, every evil work abounds." That, for sure, means we want to get rid of strife in our lives. Who is it that stirs up strife? It's the devil,...... but he uses people to do it, and sometimes, it is you or me that he uses. Huh!! not me, I'm a saint. Who do you think you are fooling, sometimes you miss it just like I do. Have you ever worked some place, that was a real test of Christian principles? A place filled with strife.......The boss is unreasonable, yells, cusses and throws things. How do you (or did you) respond to the situation? Do you seethe, grind your teeth then go home, kick the dog, growl at your mate and tell the kids that the next one who breathes deep will suffer capital punishment. At this moment, it is possible, your mate will make a mild comment concerning your disposition.....he or she hits the right button and the strife comes pouring out. Then after a miserable night of tossing and turning you get up and return for some more of the same.

Sometimes it is possible to win a battle and lose the war. This type of response to an ungodly situation, can cost us more than we really want to pay. It can cost our health, our joy, our peace, and possibly our marriage. But, Praise the Lord, We have choices.

CHOICE; We can change jobs, (not always a practical solution) and certainly not a spiritual solution, because if we have been in unresolved strife and try to run away from it.....it goes with us. We have to get it resolved, because our right relationship with God depends on it. Remember that pesky verse in The Lord's Prayer which says, forgive me, as I have forgiven. Right after that it says, "For IF you forgive people their trespasses...that is, their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go and giving up resentment....your heavenly Father will also forgive you." But IF you do not forgive others their trespasses....their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go and giving up resentment neither will your heavenly Father forgive you." Matthew 6:14-15

That's heavy duty stuff. The thing is, we are surrounded by abrasive, irritating, and annoying people.....it's part of God's plan for us. "Be assured and understand the trial and proving of your faith brings out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work: so you may be (people) perfectly and fully developed (with no defects), lacking in nothing." James 1:3-4.

God wants us to be perfect, lacking in nothing and He uses other people to polish off our rough edges. We can run away (life on a desert island sometimes seems appealing..... "I'd be very saintly Lord, if only I didn't have to deal with people") but sooner or later we have to get it right. When we are busy pointing fingers at each other, sure that it is always the other person who is at fault, it never seems to occur to us that someone is jerking our strings and pulling us to destruction.

GUESS WHO IT IS THAT DOESN'T WANT US PERFECT, AND LACKING IN NOTHING.

CHOICE; We can learn to recognize strife when it is just a small trickle of water, dribbling over the dam and defuse the situation before there is a flood. Even if we don't think it is our fault. We can say "I'm sorry if I have offended you. What can I do to make it right?" REMEMBER the Word says, it is a soft answer that turns away wrath, this won't work if said sarcastically or with a snarl.

CHOICE; We can learn to really look at and listen to people, to be attentive. Most people have hurts in their lives. Jesus has called us to walk in His place, taking love and healing to the world. We can pray for insight, discretion and understanding, so we do not add wood to the fire. "For lack of wood, the fire goes out." Proverb 26:20 "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. And the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome...fighting and contending. Instead he must be kindly to every one and mild tempered...preserving the bond of peace; he must be a skilled and suitable teacher, patient and forbearing and willing to suffer wrong. He must correct his opponents with courtesy and gentleness, in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and come to know the Truth...that is, that they will perceive and recognize and become accurately acquainted with and acknowledge it." 2 Timothy 2:23-25

The teacher must have THE MASTER'S degree in patience, gentleness, and forgiveness.

CHOICE: We can try to be a peace maker and then leave work with forgiveness in our hearts. On the way home we can renounce strife, pray for the boss, pull down strong holds and go home for a pleasant evening. I think it was Socrates who said, calm and repose slam the door on the devils nose. Sometimes strife is one sided, and it's all on our side. By that I mean that the devil throws us a thought that is meant to destroy and instead of throwing it back by giving people the benefit of thinking well of them we let our imagination go to work. If the other person says "What's wrong?" the answer is either "you should know," or "nothing" and silence. That's really playing the enemy's game and we always lose. Our thought life has to be brought into line.

"For the weapons of our warfare are not physical (weapons of flesh and blood), but they are mighty before God for the overthrow an destruction of strongholds. (Inasmuch as we) refute arguments and theories and reasoning's and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the (true) knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One." 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

We must lead our thoughts to Jesus. When perverse thoughts or statements come to us concerning someone else, lets be ready to believe the best of them. 1 Corinthians 13-7 "Let not the sun go down on your wrath" is very wise advice. Learn to say I want to make it right, I was wrong, I'm sorry, Forgive me and I love you. Never mind who started it, open the way to solve it, God has called us to be peace makers, not trouble makers. Lets keep our goal in mind. God's word declares that we are free, prosperous and well. Our goal is to enter into the promised land NOW, and when promises become facts, that is our promised land.

Strife between brothers and sisters in the Lord, is the plague of the Church. Remember the man who couldn't pay his debt to the King. The one who threw himself down and begged for mercy and received it? Remember how he then denied this same mercy to one who was in debt to him? When the King heard that he had sent his debtor to jail, he was angry, he called the man contemptible and said "should you not have had pity and mercy on your fellow, as I had pity and mercy on you?" In wrath the King turned this man over to the jailers and torturers Matthew 18:21-35 the number one result for not forgiving the sins against us by another person is that now there are two people in jail instead of one, and the torturers will take from us (the latest captive) joy, peace and victory. The number two result is spiritual division.....no spiritual harmony with fellow believers equals no spiritual harmony with God. This is major, we are talking serious.

"Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, together and make a symphony) about anything and everything...what ever they shall ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven." Matthew 18:19.

Do we want health, prosperity, and peace? Then lets kick out strife and get in harmony. There are only two choices, harmony or division. We get to choose. It looks like anyone in their right mind would choose harmony. Yet time after time, by the wrong choices, homes, work-places and churches are changed from places of love, joy and victory into places of torment and desolation.

Why is that? Why does it happen?.......It happens because we are stupid....without knowledge of God....and so we are easily duped and led into captivity. Satan's very best weapon against the Church is strife, he manages to break harmony between us over penny ante things like "whose in charge of paper clips" and "what kind of piano shall we buy". Then he says "don't try to resolve this, go somewhere else." If we follow his suggestion, the strife goes with us and waits for an opportunity to explode, and while it waits, it works pain in our lives. Where strife is, every evil work abounds.

"Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his good works with the (unobtrusive) humility (which is the proper attribute) of true wisdom."
James 3:13.

Fear, Panic and rage or ANGER, have this in common: They can kill us. I once read about a man in Seattle who flew into such a rage that he had a heart attack and died. The reason..... the cook in the restaurant he owned, drank his coffee out of a saucer. He had told him not to do that, the cook did. The cafe owner got a gun and was going to shoot the cook, but his rage killed him first.

Will Rogers once said, "Those who fly into a rage usually make very bad landings." The word says, "Anger is a wind that blows out the lamp (reason) of your mind."Proverbs 16:23. "He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and with out walls." Proverbs 25:26.

This allows Satan to walk right in, whenever he wants to. "When angry, do not sin, do not ever let your wrath.....your exasperation, your fury or indignation....last until the sun goes down. Leave no (such) room or foothold for the devil...give no opportunity to him." Ephesians 4:26:27. Satan is able to get quite a lot of trouble stirred up without our help, lets not give him a foothold.

Anger and ill temper are listed in Galatians 5:19-21 as some of the sins which prevent us from inheriting the kingdom of God. Anger is the doing of the flesh, and those who belong to Christ Jesus, the Messiah have crucified the flesh. Galatians 5:24.

"Make no friendships with a man given to anger, and with a wrathful man do not associate. Lest you learn his ways and get yourself into a snare." Proverbs 22:24-25. Wrath can be learned. If we want to fly with the eagles, we should not run with the turkeys. Jesus is the answer to strife. "Lord, You will ordain peace (God's favor and blessings, temporal and spiritual) for us, for you have wrought in us and for us all our works. O Lord our God, other masters besides You have (past tense) ruled over us, but we will acknowledge and mention Your name only. They (the former tyrant masters) are dead, They shall not live and reappear; they are powerless ghosts, they shall not rise and come back Therefore you have visited and made an end of them, and caused every memorial of them (every trace of their supremacy) to perish". Isaiah 26:12-14.

We do not have to do the works of the flesh, it has been crucified with Jesus. Now we can tread over all the power of the enemy. Luke 10-19. Where strife is every evil work abounds (this includes sickness).

If you have been in strife anywhere, that has not been resolved between you and God or you and the other person. It is likely you need deliverance.

  1. A string of illness in your house, you or your family.
  2. Accident prone
  3. Plagued by fear
  4. Tormented by evil thoughts
  5. Strongholds, a sin that has hold of you, something you have not been able to overcome in spite of persistent effort and prayer.
  1. Recognize the need
  2. Repent and forgive, then receive forgiveness for yourself. Renounce all evil spirits
  3. Be delivered by your own, God given, authority or someone else's.

Next, the fifth enemy of health: Depression