Ministrymaker Ministries

James 4:1-17 – Wars and Fightings Among You

There is entirely too much strife in the body of Christ. The entire context deals with wars, fighting, and strife among God’s people. In chapters three and four, James deals with both the cause and the cure. We do well if we take heed to his admonition and advice.

We will be applying most of this to the body of Christ to which James was addressing but it can apply to all relationships of life, to marriages, families, and the work place.

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Strife, contention, arguing, fighting, and division is contrary to Christ and His purpose for our lives. We all are part of one body and members one of another. The purpose of His coming was, in part, unity. We all have different callings and giftings. We must be willing to function where He has called us.

Unity

Jesus prayed,

John 17:21 – “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.”

Romans 12:4-5 – “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”

1 Corinthians 1:10 – “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

Galatians 5:15 – “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

Unity at What Price

This does not mean we seek to maintain unity at the cost of sound doctrine. Doctrinal error is the only reason for division. When there are those who forsake sound, fundamental, and essential doctrines of the faith this and this alone we must contend with and fight for.

Jude 3 – “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

Romans 16:17 – “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

Wars and Fightings Among You

James 4:1 – “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”

Good question! Where do wars and fightings among us come from? How do they get started and begin? What do we do about it when they arise? Context is always paramount! To arrive at an answer to a question or the meaning of a verse or passage we must always look at the context in which it is written.

The Cause

  1. Offence. Offence is one of the greatest causes of conflict there is. When one is offended strife, conflict, and division arise. It is better to never have an offence but they nonetheless do arise at times.

    James 3:2 – “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.”

    Matthew 18:7 – “Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”

    Putting an end to offences before they arise is preferable but what do we do when we’ve offended someone or when they’ve offended us? Jesus is always a great source to an answer to any problem.

    1. What to do when we are the offender. Jesus gives a simple answer to this dilemma. We must go to them and do whatever is necessary to make it right with the one we’ve offended.

      Matthew 5:23-24 – “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”

      Even before going to God in prayer or attempting to bring a gift or offering to Him we must first make every effort to be reconciled to the one we’ve offended. If we even think there may a remote possibility of offence we are to go to them seeking forgiveness and reconciliation.

      This, of course, doesn’t mean they will always accept our apology but we must make the effort nonetheless. It doesn’t even mean they are correct in being offended. We nevertheless are obliged to seek their forgiveness. We are to humbly go to them confessing our error or misunderstanding and seek their forgiveness.

    2. What to do when we’ve been offended. This is to be dealt with similarly but in reverse. We are to go to the one who has offended us and tell them what they have done to offend us.

      Matthew 18:15 – “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”

      The goal is always reconciliation. We are go to them alone and tell them what they have done to offend us. Initially, this must not be done in front of others making them feel they have to defend themselves. When we go to them it must be done humbly and not in a confrontational manner.

      It might go something like this. “Could we talk for a moment alone? I may be wrong and forgive me if I am but I feel you did this against me. I really don’t want there to be anything between us.” If done in the proper way reconciliation will usually be achieved.

      There’s always a chance they may not respond favorably. You, however, have done your part to make things right. The rest is between them and God. Don’t argue with them but leave it in God’s hands. Jesus goes on to tell the next steps to take if you want it to go that far. At times this is proper but at other times you may want to let it rest with God.

      Matthew 18:16-17 – “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”

  2. The unbridled tongue (James 3:3-12). We won’t cover the entire passage here. We refer you to the teaching on this passage. Suffice it to say that the tongue, out of control, can do irreparable damage in the body and nearly every relationship of life. It has stirred more strife, conflict, fighting, and wars than one can fathom.

    James 3:5-6 – “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”

    All to frequently people’s tongues are out of control in the body of Christ. We tend to make an emphasis on “So Called Bad Sins” and dismiss and overlook the grievous sins of the unbridled tongue. God’s people seem to be given to unleashing their tongues with criticism, complaining, arguing, and gossip. May I suggest to you that these are the more grievous and destructive sins which must be repented of.

    Proverbs 17:9 – “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.”

    Philippians 2:14 – “Do all things without complaining and disputing – arguing.”

    Romans 14:4 – “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”

    Romans 14:10 – “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”

    Romans 14:19 – “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”

    Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

  3. Jealousy, self-seeking, selfish ambition, and a lust for power. Therein is the cause for “wars and fightings among us.” We want what we want with a total disregard for others. If someone else has something we desire look out. It’s not just things but power and position as well. In fact, power, authority, and prestige is probably the bulk of what this is dealing with. The desire to be someone of prestige, position, and power.

    Sadly, far to frequently, power hungry people in the church have often sought to usurp the pastors authority in their thirst for power and control. This grieves the Holy Spirit and is not of God.

    1 Samuel 15:23 – “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness (insubordination) is as iniquity and idolatry.”

    James 3:14-16 – “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”

    Notice it’s bitter envying stemming from the heart. It’s a bitter root within the heart, really an evil heart. It’s a heart problem. Envy, strife, self-seeking, selfish ambition, and a lust for power all stem from an evil heart.

    Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Who can know the depths of its depravity?

    Matthew 15:19 – “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”

    Proverbs 27:4 – “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?”

    Strife is translated self-seeking in the New King James and selfish ambition in the New American Standard Bible. Most strife is there because people are wrapped up in themselves. It’s all about number one and forget everyone else. We want our own selfish way with a total disregard for others.

    It’s all about self, trying to get a head, and get our own way. All our striving get us absolutely nowhere. We want a certain position in the church, in business, or some position in life and fight with everything we have to get it. We’re even willing to destroy others to get what we want.

    Philippians 2:3-4 – “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

    We need Wisdom From Above to deal with this.

  4. Politicking in the church. Believers far to often politicking in the church. Attempting to politicize a position in the church, one above another. If someone gets a position in the church, there are those who become jealous and wonder why didn’t I get it or someone they favor. Then their envy becomes divisive through their criticism, complaining, and planting seeds of doubt throughout the body.

    Romans 16:17 – “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

    A great example of this is with the mother of James and John. She came to Jesus, with James and John, desiring something from Jesus. Her request was undoubtedly motivated by her sons thirst for power and position. We read,

    Matthew 20:20-23 “Then came to Him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him. And He said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto Him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on the left, in Thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto Him, We are able. And He saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father.”

    Notice, His answer to their request was, “to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father.” We’d do well to learn from this. When someone is promoted or placed in a position can we simply accept that it’s God’s will and rejoice with them? If the Father has called them that should be enough.

    Hebrews 5:4 – “No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God.”

    Jesus also said to them, “Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto Him, We are able. And He saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.”

    He was referring to the cup and baptism of His suffering. Before thirsting for prestige, position, and power we had best understand there’s a price tag to being in a position of leadership and authority. Paul became one of the greatest of the apostles and his calling would come with great sacrifice. Jesus said of him, “I will shew him how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:16). Promotion comes at great cost!

    The desire and thirst for positions of authority always brings with it jealousy, strife, and indignation (James 3:16). “And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren” (Matthew 20:24). They went behind the back of the other ten seeking to be elevated. This inevitably made them indignant. Jesus’ answer to them all was that the way to greatness in the kingdom of God was through servanthood.

    Matthew 20:25-28 “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

    Philippians 2:5-11 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

  5. Prayerlessness. The very things we desire could be ours if we would but ask God for them. If we do not receive it then we are praying amiss . The implication here is that we must be seeking God as to what He desires for us and praying accordingly.

    James 4:2-3 – “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”

    This means to pray properly we must set aside self, self-seeking, selfish ambition, and lust for power, and take up our cross and follow Him and His will for our life (Luke 9:23). True prayer is a complete abandonment of self and surrender to God and His will.

    We must pray! Prayerlessness is the cause whereas prayer is the cure.

  6. Worldliness. Worldliness is much of the cause of wars and fightings among God’s people. If we weren’t strapped to the things of this world and all that’s in it there would be no jealousy, self-seeking, selfish ambition, or lust for power. Thus, most wars and fighting would be abolished.

    Even in the church do we see this raising its ugly head over and over again. Someone was promoted to a position in the church that we think should have been ours, they get blessed instead of us, or a decision is made that opposed what we wanted and bitter envying raises its head in our heart and spirit. Then what typically happens our unbridled tongue begins to spew its venom, then comes strife, backbiting, gossip, criticism, slander and war has begun.

    James 4:4-5 – “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”

    1 Kings 18:21 – “How long halt (hesistate) ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.”

    Matthew 6:24 – “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.”

    Mark 4:18-19 – “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the Word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the Word, and it becometh unfruitful.”

    Mark 8:36 – “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

    Romans 8:5-6 – “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

    2 Corinthians 6:17 – “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

    Colossians 2:8 – “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

    1 John 2:15-17 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

    Colossians 3:1-4 – “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”

  7. The devil. Satan is the cause of all wars and fighting among us. His goal is to thwart the purpose of God, God Himself, His people, and the church. We must wake up and see our fight is not with flesh and blood (people) but with the powers of darkness.

    James 3:14-16 – “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”

    It’s straight from the devil himself. He designs to stir our emotions, jealousy, self-seeking, selfish ambition, and sensual desires thereby causing strife within the body. When these things begin to arise we must see it for what it is.

    Ephesians 4:25-27 – “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: NEITHER GIVE PLACE to the DEVIL!”

    This requires seeing beyond the flesh, the desires of the flesh, and our own personal ambition. Discernment is needed to see beyond the things that are merely of this world. We need spiritual people who can see beyond the natural realm into the spiritual.

    Ephesians 6:12 – “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

The Cure

  1. Humble yourself. Humility is the opposite of pride. Pride is the source of much strife in the body of Christ and all other relationships of life. God resists the proud but grants grace (favor) to those who humble themselves before Him and others. If we desire God’s favor humility is the key and the cure to all strife.

    James 4:6, 9-10 – “But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

    1 Peter 5:5-6 – “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.”

    Humbling ourselves before God says we are trusting Him to exalt us “in due time.” There’s no need to fight and war and strive to get ahead. God will elevate us in His timing which is always perfect. He knows what we can handle and when we are ready for all He may be calling us to.

    Pride verses humility is best exemplified in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican.

    Luke 18:8-14 – “And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

    The Pharisee trusted in himself whereas the publican laid himself completely at the mercy of God, knowing that he had nothing to offer Him but himself. If he was to amount to anything at all it would be God Who would do it. If we are to be exalted, our exaltation lies with God alone and nothing within ourselves, “for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

    Micah 6:8 – “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

  2. Submit yourself to God. Submission to God is the cure to most everything in life. If we will submit to God and trust Him, He will take care of everything else. There’s no need for striving for what we desire because our life and all its pursuits are in His hands. Your submission to God declares you trust Him to give you all you need and to “exalt you in due time.”

    James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God.”

    Philippians 2:5-11 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

    Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

    Psalm 37:4-5 – “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.”

  3. Resist the devil. The devil is the source of strife and division within the church and all institutions and relationships in life. Division keeps God’s people from being all we can be and accomplishing all He calls us to. Jesus’ prayer was that we be unified for the purpose of declaring Him (John 17:21).

    If we are unified there’s nothing we cannot accomplish for the glory of God. Its was said of those at the tower of Babel, “Behold, the people are one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (Genesis 11:6).

    It’s interesting that tongues, in this case, brought division, confusion, and the people were scattered abroad (Genesis 11:7-9). In Acts 2:1-4, at the birth of the church, tongues unified them and as a result great things were accomplished for God.

    The one was self-seeking, selfish ambition, and lust for power, whereas, the latter was complete submission to God and His purposes. The devil seeks to divide, therefore, when envy, self-seeking, selfish ambition, lust for power, and strife arise He Must Be Resisted!

    James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

    1 Corinthians 1:10 – “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

    The devil must be resisted on every front. His primary goal is to thwart the purposes of God. If we are to accomplish all God calls us to we must vehemently “resist the devil” at every temptation, every attack, and each time he seeks to divert us from the plan and purpose of God for our lives, even when it comes from those close to us.

    Jesus had just finished talking to His disciples concerning Who He was and the power and authority that would be given to the church in Matthew 16:16-19. I’m sure they were excited and enthused. Immediately afterwards, He began telling them “how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day” (Matthew 16:21).

    This completely deflated Peter’s enthusiasm. I’m sure he thought “how can this be?” On minute He tells us of the authority He’s going to give us and now He’s telling us He’s going to suffer and die. Peter’s response was one of the flesh, self-seeking, and not “the things of God.”

    Matthew 16:22-23 – “Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee. But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art an offence unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

    We must resit the devil at every front. Whenever he attacks we must resist him. He will even come at us often from those closest to us. As well meaning as they may be, when they seek to turn us from the plan, purpose, and will of God, discernment is necessary, and we must see who is actually behind it. The devil is the cause and the cure is to resist him.

  4. Draw near to God. If we will draw near to God in times of conflict, purify our hearts, and seek Him above all else, He will give us the needed answer and direction as to what to do. We have a responsibility under the new covenant to draw near to Him.

    James 4:8 – “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

    Jeremiah 29:11-13 – “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.”

    We have a mandate to draw near to God, seeking His face, and He will meet us in our hour of need. If those in conflict with one another will lay aside their differences for a time to seek Him, we’ll find the conflict no doubt resolved.

    How can we draw near to God? There are some specific ways in which we are told we can draw near to the Lord. They are outlined clearly in scripture. If we’ll apply them diligently, in our time of trouble, whatever it may be, and draw near to Him, God Will Intervene!

    1. The blood of Jesus. “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God” (Hebrews 10:19-21). When Jesus died on the cross the veil of the temple was torn into from top to bottom by God the Father.

      The veil was eighteen inches thick and interwoven. It was what kept mankind out of the the Holy of Holies – God’s presence. The veil was ripped apart signifying man’s sin was atoned for and that nothing could keep us from God’s presence as long as we came through the blood of Jesus. Let’s draw near God with all boldness by the blood of Jesus. Also read Proverbs 28:1, Hebrews 4:16, Hebrews 10:14, Romans 3:25-26, Romans 4:4-5, Romans 5:1-2, 1 John 1:7, and 2 Corinthians 5:21.

    2. Submit to God. “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:7-8). Submission to the Lord is a special way of drawing near to God. When a believer submits to God they are choosing to draw close to Him in obedience and full surrender as Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane. We are in essence making Him not just Savior but Lord of our lives.
    3. Spend personal time with God. Whenever we set apart time to be alone with God we are purposely drawing near to God. Jesus made this a priority in His life as our example. “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35). This should be a daily practice of every born again believer. “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). Let’s spend daily time drawing near to Him!
    4. Practice His presence. We draw near to God by constantly practicing God’s presence. “He Himself has said, I WILL NEVER DESERT (LEAVE) YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU” (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). His promise is that He will always be with us. It is incumbent upon us to constantly acknowledge and conscientiously dwell on His presence. In doing so we are drawing near Him.
    5. Fellowship with other believers. “Where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:20). When we gather together with those of like precious faith, He is there with us. We know He is always with us but His presence is in our midst in a special way when we gather in His name.

      John wrote, “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us” (1 John 4:12). If God resides in every believer, it stands to reason His presence would be magnified the more of us are assembled as one in His name. If we understood this it would settle most conflicts.

    6. Worship Him. Worship (both personally and corporately) ushers in His presence in one of the most profound and powerful ways we can ever imagine. The Bible says, “Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with joyful singing. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His holy name” (Psalms 100:2-3 and 4).

      And again, “But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of (Your people) Israel” (Psalms 22:3). I’ve noticed, the more intensely I am involved in worship the more I sense His presence. Let’s worship our Lord with all we have within us. The Psalmist said, “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name” (Psalms 103:1).

    7. Exercise your faith. We must approach Him “In full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22). Jesus made the way for us to come to God without fear having become sin for us and making us the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Our hearts and consciences have been cleansed. Guilt can keep us from and hinder us from drawing near God.

      We must draw near “in full assurance of faith” that we have been cleansed of all sin and guilt by the finished work of Christ at Calvary on our behalf. Faith is the key. We are saved by faith and we must approach Him by faith, believing we are “The righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).

  5. Refuse to speak evil of others. This goes back to the unbridled tongue. How frequently have we spoken ill of our brothers and sisters in Christ? We should not be speaking evil of anyone without alone those who are part of the family of God. We talk about them behind their back, we criticize, complain about them, and say all matter of evil against one another. “My brethren, these things ought not to be” (James 3:9-10).

    James 4:11-12 – “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?”

    Romans 14:4 – “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.”

    Romans 14:10 – “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”

    Matthew 7:1-3 – “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

    Another great question! Who do we think we are to stand in judgement over another? Why do we judge and criticize one another? Why do we so easily notice the faults and imperfections of others and so easily overlook our own faults and imperfections?

    A few things about judging and criticizing:

    1. It’s easy when it’s not us.
    2. We set the criteria for our own judgement (Matthew 7:1-3).
    3. We set in motion the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7, Luke 6:36-38, James 2:13).
    4. We display our negative attitude (Romans 14:19, Philippians 2:14, 4:8).
    5. It makes us feel better about ourselves.
    6. We don’t have all the facts.
    7. It reveals our insecurities.
    8. We don’t know their motives.
    9. Judgement is the area given to the Son.

    John 5:22 – “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”

    We must commit ourselves to speaking nothing but what good and uplifting to and about our brothers and sisters in Christ and all others. If we can ever do this it will put an end to “wars and fightings among us.”

    Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

    Colossians 4:6 – “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

  6. All pursuits must be divinely directed. If all our pursuits were divinely directed it would put an end to most strife and division in the body of Christ. The will of God must be supreme above all else and in all our pursuits in life.

    James 4:13-16 – “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”

    God’s will should be paramount in the life of every Christian. We must surrender completely to God’s will as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). “Thy will be done” may be the hardest words one could ever say. Once we have completely surrendered to the will of God, we must pursue His will with all the passion we can muster up.

    Paul had such a passion. When at Phillip’s home in Caesarea, Agabus took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles” (Acts 21:11). Those present begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. Paul said, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done” (Acts 21:13-14).

    The will of God is one of the primary keys to seeing our prayers answered and must be sought in all our pursuits. Jesus sets forth the will of God at the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done in earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Our goal must be the implementation of the will of God in all our affairs.

    This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make plans and have vision for our future. On the contrary, the Word of God makes it abundantly clear we should. “If you plan at nothing you will surely hit it” (Zig Ziglar). It’s foolish not to have goals or plan.

    Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

    Habakkuk 2:2-3 – “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie (It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail): though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

    Submission to God and His will is the key. Cockiness and arrogance is what is to be avoided. One who is overly self-confident in the pursuit of their own desires irregardless of how it affects others is filled with arrogance. I want this position, business, career, etc., and will have it, leaving God out of the equation completely.

    Proverbs 27:1 – “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”

    James 4:16 – “But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.” (KJV)

    James 4:16 – “But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.” (NASB)

  7. Do the right thing. Doing the right thing will put an end to strife and contention. Doing what is right in all the aforementioned as well as what we know to be right in our actions and responses to others.

    James 4:17 – “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

    This deals with sins of omission. When we know what God wants of us and what is clearly commanded in scripture and do not obey, we sin. When we fail to do what God has told us to do it’s sin. If we will passionately seek to do all God has told us it will put an end to most conflict.

    Things we know are God’s will: (I will list only a few. Add to the list as you read your Bible)

    1. Sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
    2. Maintain unity (Ephesians 4:3 and 13).
    3. Pray (Luke 18:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
      1. Leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
      2. Wisdom and direction (Proverbs 3:5-6, James 1:5).
      3. Our enemies (Matthew 5:43-44, Romans 12:17-21).
      4. Infilling of the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:9-13).
      5. Laborers in the harvest (Matthew 9:3-7-38).
      6. Boldness (Acts 4:23-24 and 31).
    4. Preach the gospel (Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19-20).

    The Corinthians were experiencing an element of strife and division over sectarianism. Paul challenged them to maintain unity and speak the same thing (1 Corinthians 1:10). After dealing with the root cause of their division he challenged them to focus on preaching the gospel.

    1 Corinthians 1:18 – “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

    One of the best ways to maintain unity and settle strife, wars, and fighting is to prioritize. What is the primary thing we are commissioned to do? Preach the Gospel! Paul presents this as the primary way to maintain unity and put an end to division and strife.

    Matthew 28:19-20 – “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”

    Mark 16:15 “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

    Acts 1:8 – “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

    Three I AMs of the Apostles Paul:

    1. Romans 1:14 – “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.”

    2. Romans 1:15 – “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.”

    3. Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

    1 Peter 3:15 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

Dr. Gary LintonWith over 43 years of teaching and ministry experience, Dr. Linton’s passion is to equip, encourage, and strengthen pastors and ministry leaders. Check out his latest video messages and sermons.