Some days all the strife within the church I see from the emails I receive or what I read troubles me greatly. More than that it infuriates me and wearies me. Part of that weariness comes when I realize I’ve contributed to it. Now I am not speaking of confronting evil or sin, God’s Word exhorts us to not grow weary in doing good (Gal. 6:9). I am talking about the bitter quarreling and antagonistic conflict that I’ve seen. I guess I’m just getting tired of it all.
The Bible commands us to avoid strife at all costs because it does bring contention and weariness:
“Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife.” (Proverbs 17:1)
Another part that really bends me is when I get myself involved in some battle when I know better because it is just going to bring more than for what I bargained. Again I’m not saying we are to avoid all confrontation or not defend the faith, I’m saying I need to use a full measure of wisdom before I involve myself:
“The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.” (Proverbs 17:14)
Sometimes we may not want to give up a fight because we don’t want to look weak. That’s a natural human response that requires a supernatural remedy. Here’s a really good one:
“It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.” (Proverbs 20:3)
Any questions? I could actually stop what there, but let me share a bit more.
Let me ask you a question, and me as well: are you a kind person? And I don’t mean just to strangers; it’s easy to be kind to strangers, especially if it’s the only time you’ll have to deal with them. I’m talking about the people you are involved with daily; are you kind to them? As my pastor always says to our congregation during the welcome, we’re going to love each one of you and by God’s grace we’ll like you after we get to know you. That’s funny but no small task. It’s takes Jesus to do that:
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4)
I really love the Book of Philippians; well maybe except for those four verses. They challenge me so! The opposite of strife is unity and Paul is teaching that unity comes through humility. He is actually just repeating the lessons of our Lord. Commenting on these four verses, our old friend Matthew Henry writes:
“Here are further exhortations to Christian duties; to like-mindedness and lowly-mindedness, according to the example of the Lord Jesus. Kindness is the law of Christ’s kingdom, the lesson of His school, the livery of His family. Several motives to brotherly love are mentioned. If you expect or experience the benefit of God’s compassions to yourselves, be compassionate to one another. It is the joy of ministers to see people like-minded. Christ came to humble us, let there not be among us a spirit of pride. We must be severe upon our own faults, and quick in observing our own defects, but ready to make favorable allowances for others, but not be busy-bodies in other men’s matters. Neither inward or outward peace can be enjoyed, without lowliness of mind.”
Lord Jesus, as I type and then read the words from Pastor Henry, I realize that in my own strength it is impossible to have such lowliness of mind. But with you, all things are possible. Lord give me remembrance and give me the strength to be such a man of inward and outward peace. Jesus, I want to exalt Your name in my actions, attitudes, and words. May this day glorify you Lord. In Your name I do pray. Amen
And for you my beloved readers I pray that you have a blessed and restful weekend, and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers
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