Where Discord Comes From

“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (James 3:14-15).

Some people suppose that friction and discord originates simply from divided minds. Some of this, of course, rings true. But we have a greater force at work, one from the hidden world of evil. Additionally, we must cope with sin that lurks within our own sin natures.

Certainly we experience disagreements each day on a number of matters, and they often die before they have a chance of escalating. But we need to beware of Satan’s schemes in all of this (2 Corinthians 2:11). He would like to fan the flames of disagreements and turn them into full-blown standoffs. Of course, mature believers will want to avoid this, since Satan feeds off of disunity and warring factions. He seeks to disrupt healthy churches and healthy families. Knowing these forces originate in the spiritual realm, what can we do to avoid them?

1. Pray for unity.

God values unity in the church and home. He has established roles and order in both, but it takes more than structure to attain unity. We need the presence of God in our midst, something we need to pray for.  Jesus Himself prayed for unity:

“And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11).

2. Work through issues biblically.

Sometimes even mature believers can struggle getting problems with others resolved. For that God provided some procedures to follow, such as in Matthew 18:15-20. The Bible commands us not to parade our problems in heathen law courts, and not to toss lawsuits at one another (see 1 Corinthians 6:1-11). Some other matters we can address by demonstrating spiritual sensitivity, such as the strong respecting the weak (Romans 15:1). At times, we need to simply suffer injuries meekly, and not stress our rights (1 Corinthians 6:7).

3. Be on guard spiritually.

Finally, we need to walk with God daily, pray for God’s wisdom and protection, and be keen to advance the kingdom, and not tear it down through strife and division. Pray for others, too, that God would help them resolve problems before they escalate into open warfare.

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