Jealous Christians, Jealous leadership, someone wanting the position of worship leader, pastor, or leader in the church.
There are thousands and thousands of Christians unhappy due to strife in their lives.
Tonight’s study is one of the most serious that I have ever pulled together. This has been the toughest period of time in my life that I can remember because I have been at the center of a concentrated attack in my spiritual life, my home life, my work life, and among my Christian family.
This morning, when watching Joyce Meyer, God moved me to look at a passage that changed my life. I’ve read it so many times before. But this time it was different.
Why does God NOT answer prayers? STRIFE.
What causes strife between people?
It is the evil that has inhabited our hearts from the time of Adam. It is hate that has raised its ugly head even since it did so in the heart of Cain. James pulls no punches whatsoever. He puts everything into painful perspective for us to understand and James also touches on the reason why we fight among ourselves? Why do we fight among ourselves? Is it Gods choice that we do so? Never! Quarrels and strife come from our sin-natures!
Our tendencies to snip away at each other and to cut each other down come from desires that battle inside us. What are these desires? They are the desires born of covetousness, the seemingly unquenchable desire to have what we do not have.
We lust after each other’s gifts, each others capabilities, each others blessings, each others property, and each other’s abilities. When we cannot get them, or realize that we have not been blessed in the ways they have been, our hearts turn to hatred.
Our selfishness goes deeper than just lusting after what we cannot get. We even stoop to trying to con God! Look at verses 2b-3. We pray for the things we want but attempt to disguise them in fancy wrappings to hide our true intentions! Lord, please make me a millionaire so that I can give lots of money to do your work What, you have never prayed a prayer like that? Maybe not, but I am sure that somewhere and sometime you have been equally ludicrous. I know that I surely have been! We sometimes pray innocent-sounding prayers to advance our own lusts.
Sometimes, we even get to the point of attempting to synchronize our Christianity with the ways of the world. We reason that God would not care if and live lives that are devoid of His character. How many people raised in Christianity, baptized and sanctified, washed in His blood, live amoral, sexually promiscuous lives and have the audacity to reason it all away. God does not care about my sexual relationships when there are so many other problems in the world, they say.
It is to these people that James 4:4 speaks truthfully. One cannot straddle a fence with God. Either one is a friend of the world (and an enemy of God) or one is a friend of God (and an enemy of the world). Anything short of complete dedication to God is adultery
Flip back a few pages and look at James 1:13-15. In 4:2, James gives the sin a name: murder. While not literal murder, hatred and envy in ones heart is tantamount to murder in Gods eyes! Look at Matthew 5:21-23 and 1 John 3:15. If we look down upon our brethren instead of realizing that we all stand condemned of sin and saved by grace, we have killed our brother or sister in Christ!
What Does Strife Among Believers Achieve?
1. Strife and quarrels keep people apart.
2. Strife makes people judgmental and shuts out grace.
3. Strife destroys fellowship.
4. Strife harms any Christians walk.
5. Strife serves to cut people away from Gods bountiful provision.
6. Strife kills Godly agape love.
7. Strife serves to bring people back into the world and away from godliness.
8. Strife between believers causes non-believers in the world to scoff at the Church and causes fellow believers to doubt Gods grace.
9. Strife focuses people on their selfishness and their self-centeredness.
Now, examine the effects of strife from Gods perspective. Here are the negatives that quarreling causes:
1. Strife between believers hurts His heart.
2. Strife between believers prevents His children from being One.
3. Strife and quarreling stunts Christian growth.
4. Strife causes a sin-rift between Him and His children.
Look at James 4:7-12. God’s answer to the situation as outlined in these verses is a series of ten commands:
1. Submit yourselves to God.
2. Resist the devil.
3. Come near to God.
4. Wash your sinful hands.
5. Purify your hearts.
6. Grieve, mourn and wail.
7. Change your laughter into mourning.
8. Change your joy to gloom.
9. Humble yourselves before God.
10. Do not slander each other.
We then must come to grips with the fact that God has equipped each of His children with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God IN us. When we despise another Christian, we despise God Himself! His Spirit chose to live in them just as He chose to live in us. It is His Spirit who gives us strength to overcome the wiles of Satan and it is He who is our living birth certificate who names us as Gods children.
We also must live lives filled with God’s grace. As bountifully as He gives it to us, so also we must reflect it into each other’s life. Both our fellow Christians and our unsaved acquaintances should see grace in every situation. It is that grace that is our unspoken witness of Gods indwelling Spirit!
We must petition God for His power and strength so that we can resist Satan. Satan will use every situation in and around our daily lives to throw us off-course. It is in these moments that we must recognize the source of strife as Satan, and then resist him in Gods power. It is in the name of Jesus and through His blood that defeated Satan at Calvary’s tree once and for all that we can resist the enemy. We must resist the temptations that he throws in front of us to drive wedges into our unity. Such wedges only seek to stunt our growth and to cause us to sin.