by Pastor Tim Burt
I was recently reading from God's word when the verse James 3:16 caused me to pause and meditate on it. It says, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” Strife – usually speaking of those that are divided in anger over something, is something I see around me all the time. I recently watched a husband and wife go at it playing the blame game for problems they are experiencing. I could give you many examples but I don't need to. You've seen strife all around you also.
Again this verse says, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." To me, this is a mind-blowing, earth shaking revelation. Strife creates confusion. Confusion is a like being suddenly blinded or at the least, left with the inability to see clearly. Confusion hinders you from being able to think straight. Your mind seems to be locked on replay – replaying conflicts in your head over and over again. This verse reveals that strife not only creates confusion but it also brings one into the presence of “every evil work.” Have you ever watched a video or seen a picture of an atomic bomb going off. It grows like a giant mushroom cloud. That's what strife causes. It leads to recycled thoughts of the conflict that grow like a mushroom cloud, create confusion, and lead to evil thought toward the person you are in strife with. Those thoughts lead to worse thoughts of "every evil work," and sometimes evil behaviors to follow.
In the early days of my young marriage with Renee, we would get into strife far too often. We were both young and prideful, overly confident. We wanted to prove to each other that we knew what we were talking about and we knew what we were doing. At times like this we’d end up in strife. When we did end up in a fight – usually over something stupid, my thoughts would become angrier and angrier (confused) and I would find myself rehashing things in my mind. The more I rehashed them, the bigger and worse the conflict seemed – like that image of a mushroom cloud growing. It would lead me to thoughts that were out of character and suddenly I’d think, how could I be thinking like this? The answer to that was in the scripture - James 3:16. “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” Strife unbridled would lead me to thoughts of every evil work. I would feel greatly convicted by God’s Holy Spirit. This was scary to me and drove me to my knees in repentance to God and in apology to Renee.
God taught me to take and make a stand at times like this. He’d say, Tim, your mind is not the devil’s playground.I have given it to you to think on things that are from my heart – thoughts that are good and pure and righteous. When these evil thoughts come, take them captive. See them as destructive as a wild animal running through your house. Cast those thoughts out and rebuke and kick the devil out of your thought-life in Jesus name right now! Then He’d say, Are you always right or do you just want to be? I’d feel humbled hearing Him ask that because I knew the answer was obvious. Then He’d remind me of James 3:17 that says, “But the wisdom that comes from Heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others.”
Strife is deadly and destructive. If you let it have free reign in your life, it will hurt and destroy elements of your life. It will bring confusion. It will introduce evil thoughts that are outside of your character and outside of how God wants you to think and act. It is something that Renee and I have worked to eliminate from your marriage and personal life as much as possible.
It takes time to learn how to have godly strife-free relationships and eventually thrive in them. Character doesn't change easily but God calls for us to make the effort. It is absolutely worth the effort and ushers in such great rewards! Let strife ring your alarm bell that you are going down a dangerous path with a cliff you can fall off of. When that alarm goes off, allow humility to calm you down so that you can work toward the wisdom from Heaven that is pure, peace loving, gentle and willing to yield to others. Allow humility to help you hear others instead of fighting for your way. Do this instead of launching mindless, hurtful nuclear words born from pride that creates strife. Over time, you will learn and get stronger in communicating in a way that bears so much more fruit and avoids creating atmospheres of every evil work.
Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT) "Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too"
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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