I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? – 1 Corinthians 3:2-3 ESV
God is serious about STRIFE. The enemy uses STRIFE to divide, destroy and deny our effective use by God. Did you get that last part? Strife keeps us from advancing up the chain of command and responsibility from God. Strife keeps the family from being united and STRIFE keeps us from growing in our knowledge and use by God. Verse 2 above says that YOU ARE NOT READY, you are still of the FLESH; in other words, strife is OF THE FLESH, you’re not ready to grow in the SPIRIT! Strife is synonymous with discord, it means to have a lack of agreement or harmony. Strife manifests itself with bitter conflict; heated, often violent dissension. God hates PRIDE and GOD hates STRIFE. God knows that with strife comes PRIDE and every other problem of man, between man! Strife is always accompanied by pride and an unteachable spirit in one or both parties. Proverbs 13:10 says, “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” When someone refuses to consider another viewpoint and demands their own way, strife results. Someone bent on strife will not allow compromise, negotiation, or humility. Strife alienates friends, divides families, and destroys churches. It is written; For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. (James 3:16) James the original leader of the church in Jerusalem, JUST JAMES the writer of the first New Testament book of James felt that STRIFE was a destroyer, not only did he state that with strife there is confusion and EVERY EVIL WORK, he also said, “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? (James 4:1) Paul said this about strife; “he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions.” (1 Timothy 6:4) Solomon, the wisest, richest man said, God HATES STRIFE; “There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19)
Leader, God loves UNITY, and it is the opposite of STRIFE. Two opposing forces cannot share the same space in time. It cannot be day and night at the same time. You can NOT be grateful and a victim, at the same time- they are opposites. A common definition of unity is a state of being undivided or ONENESS. “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one Lord,” Deuteronomy 6:4. GOD IS ONE and we are HIS CREATURES at the least, and HIS CHILDREN at the best by Faith alone, through GRACE alone, by CHRIST ALONE! Jehovah is a God of UNITY and LOVE and nowhere in those 2 words will you find strife. What you will find is some of God’s harshest punishments were because of strife. Consider the Rebellion of Korah. It has such importance that it has a place in all 3 of the great Faiths. It is in the Jewish Torah, the Muslim Quran and the Christian Bible. The story of the rebellion of Korah is recorded in Numbers 16. The rebellion of Korah demonstrates the grim consequences of strife. Korah was a relative of Moses and from the tribe of Levi. Korah, then, was of the same tribe as Moses and Aaron. He led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, accusing them of exalting themselves above the congregation of the Lord (Numbers 16:1-3). Korah was not alone in his charge. He gathered 250 other men to challenge Moses’ authority as well: “You have gone too far! How did God handle this rebellion? God opened up the earth and swallowed the rebels, their families, and all their possessions. Furthermore, “fire came out from the LORD” and consumed the other 250 men who were party to Korah’s rebellion. The rest of the Israelites were terrified and fled (Numbers 16:31-35).
Conduit, there are many other times that God seemed to deal harshly with people and most of it can be traced back to STRIFE. The curse of Ham. The curse of Ham is described in the Book of Genesis, Gen 9:22-29. It was a curse imposed by Noah upon Ham’s son, Canaan. It occurs in the context of Noah’s drunkenness and is provoked by a shameful act perpetrated by Ham, who “saw the nakedness of his father”. The exact nature of Ham’s transgression and the reason Noah cursed Canaan when Ham had sinned have been debated for over 2,000 years. Whatever Ham did, it created STRIFE! An entire line of the Sons of Noah, 1\3 of the lines were cursed, somehow related to the STRIFE that HAM created with what he did to his father, Noah. The grumbling, stiff necked Jews that left Egypt never were allowed to enter into the promised land because of strife! They complained and annoyed Moses so much that He struck the rock at Meribah, instead of speaking to it and it cost him entry into the Promised Land, as well. Meribah is called, “Waters of Strife” and it is among the most famous and enigmatic stories in the Torah, and the Bible. See Numbers 20. And because of the strife of the Jews, of the 2 million + that left Egypt only 2 were allowed to enter; Joshua and Caleb! See Numbers 13-14. In today’s bitter, strife-filled world and America, it is important to forgive, and show mercy and grace, not demand Justice and your way- enough strife. Hear the Word of the Lord: Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32) Let it GO and LET GOD! Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.(Ephesians 4:25-30) There is UNITY in AMEN!