How can we live life enjoying the Lord’s peace and presence at all times? We looked last week at the power of grumbling and gratitude to push or pull God’s presence. I want to share a second attitude that helps harbour the closeness of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:16 in the Amplified says: “Walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]…” This verse speaks of a wonderful intimacy with the Lord where we can enjoy His closeness.
Fight for it…
The next verse goes on to explain that we must deliberately work to protect God’s presence in our lives and reveals the attitudes that push Him away. Let’s look at the second half of verse 20 in the Amplified:
“…strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions)…”
Strife is one of the biggest peace killers. It pushes His presence away and produces discord and conflict. It’s that tension that rises on the inside and causes us to quarrel and bicker. We feel irritated, frustrated and antagonistic. And the Holy Spirit pulls back.
But don’t fight!
A couple of months ago, we were getting ready to go out. It seemed that anyone who could let us down had done so that evening. I was frustrated and annoyed and started to snap at everyone around. My husband turned to me and corrected me sternly: “Do not bring strife into this house!”
I immediately 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 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.”
The terrible twins
Contention and strife are twins. The definition of contention is striving in rivalry. Contention 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.
And according to the verse above, it only ever brings confusion and eventually opens the door to all sorts of problems. So what’s the opposite attitude that protects our peace?
Let peace reign in your heart
Have you ever realised the power of contentment? Paul the apostle said he learned the secret of being content in every situation. When we choose to stand back from the fray and replace contention with contentment, peace reigns.
In a similar vein, when we choose to be considerate, to put the feelings and needs of others above our own, all the 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: “But the 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. And it protects the presence of God. For me, the verse that cut me to the heart was 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 in our lives? Because we have Him. You could put that verse differently. It’s like God is saying: “Surely I am enough?” 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 Healed for Life, you will be amazed at the depth of restoration & refreshing you will receive.