Where does strife come from?

When we as believers truly understand the root cause for strife and fighting, I believe we will be more determined to prevent it from occurring in our relationships. Proverbs 13:10 gives us one great cause of strife. It says, “By pride comes nothing but strife.” This is one of the root issues – pride. Therefore, it is easy to see that when someone chooses to enter into strife, it is being instigated through the satanic realm.
 
Satan, who was once called Lucifer, was removed by force from his position in Heaven as one of the head angels because he got into pride and wanted to be God. Therefore, Satan is the author of pride. This is why 1 Peter 5:5 says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Until a person is willing to humble himself or herself, God will not show up on their behalf. Why? When a person gets into pride, he or she is submitting to the lordship of Satan rather than the Lordship of Jesus.
 
As a person causes or participates in strife, they are also neglecting Jesus’ command quoted in John 15:12: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” An excellent example of this is shown in Proverbs 10:12, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.” Therefore, if we participate in strife we are choosing to walk in Satan’s realm, which is hatred, rather than walking in Christ’s command of love. Knowing this, it is not any surprise that James said, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16, KJV). If we choose to walk in strife, we are also choosing to open the door to the devil, giving him free reign to bring confusion and every evil thing into our life.
 

James had quite a bit to say about fighting and disagreements. In James 4:1-3 he states that fighting comes from a person’s desire for pleasure, which is rooted in lust and coveting. When someone lusts or covets after something they don’t have, that is ultimately from pride because they are saying that what God has given them isn’t good enough. A classic example of this is King David. We find the story in 2 Samuel 11:2-4,

 

And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, ‘Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’ Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her . . .

 

The story continues with David later having her husband killed because she was pregnant with King David’s baby. After he committed this great wickedness, he was visited by Nathan the prophet and rebuked by God. The Lord said to David,

           

I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you more! (2 Samuel 12:8).

 

It is interesting to note that in addition to addressing David’s act of adultery, God also went on to address David’s lack of contentment with what he already had as sinful behavior. Hebrews 13:5 advises us, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.” God had given David so many good gifts and even with all that he possessed, he became discontented, lusting and coveting after what belonged to someone else.
 
This is how pride and selfishness work. No matter how much God gives someone they are not appreciative for what they do have. A person who allows pride and selfishness to rule their life will never be consistently satisfied with anything or anyone emotionally, physically, or sexually. This is why prideful people are often angry people. They are especially good at putting on a façade for those outside their family, yet they get into strife and snap at those of their own household without apology.
 
People living this way often don’t know why they are angry so often. It is because they have yielded to pride and selfishness and this causes a recurring dissatisfaction because nothing ever seems good enough. There may be a few temporary moments of satisfaction where pride feels a short-lived fix. A big achievement, a promotion, purchasing a new top-of-the-line car, watching pornography, or an illicit sexual encounter may give short gratification, but then the dissatisfaction is right back again and the person lashes out in anger at those they are closest to.
 
It is not wrong to desire something, as long as it is not against Biblical principles to have what we desire. Psalm 37:4 says “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” The true test is, do we invest more time thinking about how good God has been to us and how we can be a gift to others or do we invest in thinking about what we don’t have.
 
The good news is, if we realize that pride has been leading us, we can repent and choose to change our ways just like David did. Isaiah 55:7 gives us a wonderful description of God’s mercy, saying, “…Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”
 
God only shows us what we need to change in ourselves because He loves us and He knows that we don’t have to live a life of discontentment. He has already provided a way for all of our needs to be met and for us to have divine satisfaction when we walk with a thankful heart toward Him for the things we do have. True satisfaction comes from knowing the grass isn’t any greener on the other side; rather, it’s greenest where it is best watered and properly tended to. 
 
In love, 
 
Pastors Shaun & Amy