In Galatians 5:22-23 we are told “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Therefore, there is no room in a heart where the Holy Spirit dwells for such things as pride, arrogance, hatred, jealously, greed, or a desire to create discord. In Proverbs 6:16-19 we are told there are six things the Lord hates and seven are an abomination unto him. The seventh thing is a person who sows discord among his brethren.
1 Peter 5:8 warns us “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Don’t you think Satan would seek to create division in order to destroy a church that is on the move in the community, reaching the lost, growing in membership, and building the kingdom of God?
Sometimes in our churches members are given roles of leadership which they take very seriously, as they should. However, sometimes the enemy invades their hearts by sneaking in with pride. He begins to create havoc and destroy what the Church has built. Sometimes a person’s feelings may be hurt when they’re asked by the church members to give another member a chance to serve in the position they are currently serving or if they are corrected by their Pastor in the way they’ve handled a situation. Perhaps they were a founding member who helped to build the church and aren’t happy because they feel they’re losing control due to the majority of the members voting against an issue of importance to them.
As Christians we should ask the Lord to “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23 We should ask the Lord to consume our hearts and remove anything that is unpleasing to Him. As Christians we are Christ’s representatives on earth. What is in our hearts is what shines through into a lost and hurting world. Have you ever met someone and noticed something about them that that you couldn’t really identify but you knew you wanted whatever they had? I have!!! I know now that it was the Holy Spirit dwelling inside them; shining through for the world to see. Sadly, it’s only been a few times that I’ve encountered it. It is the desire of my heart to be so consumed by the Holy Spirit that others sense His presence in me.
What is in your heart? What does a lost and hurting person see in you? What does your church family see in you? What does a visitor experience when they enter your church? This is something each and every one of us needs to give thought to. We are living in a time that we do not have time for pettiness, discord, and division in our churches. Today I am praying for churches facing division and discord. I pray the Lord will strengthen the congregations to stand in truth and love to overcome the enemy and be victorious.
Here are some scriptures on dealing with conflict within the church:
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;” Hebrews 12:14-15
“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
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,” Luke 17:3
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:19-21
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15-16
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8
“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:17
“The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.” Proverbs 17:14
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” Romans 12:17-19
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;” Psalm 1:1-6
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” James 4:1
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;” 1 Corinthians 13:1-13