“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Proverbs 6:19 says that God hates “he who sows discord (or strife) among his brethren.”
What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? 2 You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures. James 4:1-3 AMP
In the Body of Christ, strife between believers is caused by the sensual desires that are constantly warring in their own bodies. The root of strife is in the individual himself or herself. Most of the time, it does not occur to the person who is stirring up the strife that they actually causing it – they are convinced that it is the other person’s fault! Strife is caused when people are jealous of what other people have – they covet their blessings. If you pointed out to most strife-causers that the root of their desire to fight with others is jealousy and covetousness, they would probably be shocked and surprised to learn what is really in their own heart. If you are armed with this truth, you will be able to recognize when your carnal nature is being stirred up with covetousness and jealousy and you will be better able to stop it in it’s tracks, and even avoid it completely, by allowing the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to regulate your thought life and to help you overcome your own flesh in these areas.
Cleaning up your life in this area is not optional – it is crucial. God commands that you face your sin and deal with it, because it will destroy your life and the lives of those with whom you war and fight. When you jealously covet another person’s blessings, you demonstrate that you have no faith in God to provide for you, too. There are two reasons you will not be blessed: one is because you don’t expect God to provide for you, so you don’t ask, and the other is that you are greedy and even when you do ask God for things, it is with a totally wrong motive. God cannot answer a prayer that is never prayed and He will not answer a prayer that is prayed with evil, selfish motives. When you behave like this, you just shoot yourself in the foot as far as God is concerned. If you want God’s blessing then stop being jealous of others, stop wanting what they have, be happy that they are blessed, start to find out what God requires of you, become a giver not a taker, find out how you can be a blessing to others, be motivated to be a blessing to others at all times, let your requests be made known unto God, and trust God to supply everything you need!
For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another. 14 For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. 15 But if you bite and devour one another [in partisan strife], be careful that you [and your whole fellowship] are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). Galatians 5:13-16 AMP
Fill up and complete my joy by living in harmony and being of the same mind and one in purpose, having the same love, being in full accord and of one harmonious mind and intention. 3 Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves]. 4 Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others. Philippians 2:2-4 AMP
If you want to avoid strife and be blessed in every way you must be motivated by the love of God – you must know that God loves YOU and you must know that He loves everyone else, too: you must love God and love people as you love yourself; you must serve others in and through the love of God; you must walk and live in the Holy Spirit as a habit; you must be controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit; you must be sensitive to Him and responsive to Him; you must not give in to your carnal nature – do not gratify the cravings and the desires of your flesh; you must not be motivated by selfishness or contentiousness; do not be prompted by conceit or arrogance; you must have a humble estimation of yourself; don’t think of yourself as better than anyone else; think more highly of others than yourself; do not think only of your own interests – what you want and what you need; think about the interests of others; think about how you can help them and bless them. If we will love others, stop focusing on ourselves alone, and reach out to bless and to be a blessing, we will cut all the strife out of our lives and God will be pleased!