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AJ’s Corner@Godians Assembly: 25 Apr 24 – The destructive power of strife



1. Introduction

 

We have been laying foundations of kingdom finances over the last few weeks i.e. the tithe, the power to get wealth.  And why it’s important to align with God’s plan for us to be wealthy as believers and ambassadors of God’s kingdom.

On Sunday we learnt about the dangers of strife.  We will be looking into this tonight.

 

 

2. What is strife?

 

A practical example of the destructive power of strife in action:

On Sunday, the minister shared how back at school, in the last moments of a crucial rugby game against an equally good team, the scores were equal.  Suddenly his team scored a try, putting them in the lead, but there was still some time.  

An interesting thing happened - immediately his team scored, the other team started bickering and arguing amongst themselves.  At that moment, his team looked at one other knowing they had won the game – and they did!  

 

What is Strife, Envy, Bitterness?

Strife - Angry or bitter disagreement over fundamental issues (conflict, friction, discord, disagreement)

 

Envy - a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck.


 

Bitterness – anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly; resentment

A deep seated ill will

 

 

3. The Pitfalls of envy, bitterness, and strife

 

Paul talking to believers:

1 Cor 3:1 – 3 NIV -

1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.  For u are still worldly, since there is envy, strife, divisions among you  

2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?

 

Worldly (still controlled by the sinful nature, still controlled by the flesh)

 

What happens when we argue or are in strife, envy, bitterness:

James 3

14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

 

Satan knows exactly what to do to trip us up, and just at the right time – we must resist him.

Strife is destructive...!  It prevents people from moving forward as shown above

Many times, Satan will try and use the people closest to us to get under our skin.

 

Discuss (1):  A. How do we recognise strife on a day-to-day basis - at home, at work, anywhere

B. Examples on how we have or could safeguard ourselves from falling into the deadly trap of strife (and envy, bitterness, division) at home, work, anywhere?

 

 

4. Our father, Abraham recognised and avoided the ‘blessing-destroying’ capabilities of strife

 

Let’s read how Abraham nipped strife in the bud – immediately, he did not let it go further.

This fact about Abraham defined his position as the father of faith

Gen 13 - 7 And quarrelling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

8 So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarrelling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives.

9 Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

 

Abraham did not care and let Lot take the best land. Immediately, in verse 14 without delay, God visited him again.

14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a] forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

 

Covenant relationship through obedience…!  Our obedient action precedes God’s visitation.

 

Discuss (2): What are our thoughts on the pattern of obedience followed by God’s visitation

5. What God expects of us when faced with strife, envying, bitterness, division

 

The bigger the assignment (and breakthrough) the greater the need to cut out strife.  

Satan our enemy will try to induce strife.

 

Our guard must be up ALWAYS - So be sober and vigilant.  

 

1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

 

Always remember the importance of unity and diligence to keep strife away.  Many times, it’s a seed sown by Satan Himself to kill the blessing.  It becomes clear afterthat it was a ploy.

 

Ps 133 - 1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!  

2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion.

For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

 

In the multitude of words there is sin.

 

Prov 10:19 - King Solomon - Talk less, especially at significant times in our life.  

Let’s work on our words being words of blessing.  Be careful of mocking words – thin line

 

 

6. Look at the example of Jesus - 

 

Strife is linked to pride

Prov 13:10 - Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take

 

Being easily offended is a quality of pride.

What do you have that was not given to you by God?

 

Phill 2

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [a]robbery to be equal with God, 7 but [b]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 

 

He knew who He was, but He did not react falsely accused - He was impossible to offend

 

 

7. What do we do as Christians to deal with strife

 

Rom 12:9 - 21 Summary

Love must be sincere

Overcome evil with good - Don’t try to come out on top - pray for your enemies - Its hard to be angry at someone who you have prayed for

Do not allow strife to jeopardise your destiny - no argument is worth it.  Be at peace you’re your enemies and God will sort it out

 

Discuss: Closing thoughts or comments?

 

8. Close

Now we know. or have been reminded of Satan’s tactics, we must be sober and vigilant, sniffing out strife from a mile away and cutting it off immediately.

This will provoke the blessing and visitation of God.

 

Homework

Study above scriptures and James 3:13 - 18

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AJ’s Corner @TheGodiansAssembly

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