Strife kills peace. It’s that tension that rises inside and causes us to quarrel and bicker. We feel irritated, frustrated and antagonistic. It creates inner conflict and pushes God’s presence (and our peace) away.
A while back, my husband and I were getting ready to go out. It seemed that anyone who could let us down had done so that evening. I was frustrated and started to snap at everyone around. My husband turned to me and said: “Do not bring strife into this house!”
I realised what I was doing and stopped. I apologised and calmed down. Strife never improves a situation, in fact it always makes things worse. Our enemy is not flesh and blood but the sooner we realise that strife IS our enemy, the better.
James 3:16 in the Amplified says: “For wherever there is… contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices.”
Contention and strife are twins. If you’re struggling with one, you will probably be dealing with the other too. Contention is striving in rivalry. It is when we make life a contest. When we constantly compare our lot with the lives of others. When we want to be right or recognised.
According to the verse above, it only ever brings confusion and eventually opens the door to all sorts of problems. So what are the opposite attitudes that protects our peace? There are two powerful alternatives:
When we choose to be considerate, to put the feelings and needs of others above our own, strife drains out of our life. We are no longer battling or quarrelling, we show graciousness and kindness.
James 3:17 shows us the alternative attitudes to strife and contention: “Wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds.” Strife seeks to promote self. Consideration looks out for others.
When we decide to stand back from the fray and replace comtention with contentment, peace reigns. Paul the apostle said he learned to be content in every situation. That means it’s something we need to practice.
Hebrews 13:5: “Be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Why should we be content? Because we have Him. Contentment is an expression of our gratitude to God for His presence.
If you would like the Holy Spirit to rejuvenate you from the inside out so that you can be your very best, come to Fixing the Foundations, you will be amazed at the depth of restoration & refreshing you will receive.
Get My Whole Heart, it is available in print and on audio. God will help you to deal with the issues that keep our lives crowded and burdened.