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Posts Tagged ‘contention’

BITTERNESS


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Looking diligently, lest any fall of the grace of God. Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. – Hebrews 12:15

– Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you – with all malice. – Ephesians 4:31

Bitterness towards life, or the Lord, arises out of false perceptions it brings that things aren’t quite working out how a person hoped they would at some prior point.  Notions of rewarding jobs, joyous marriages, riches, etc. – never materialized – and fault always lies with others (including God).  So, the bitter soul stews and simmers on, with unhealthy views of life.

However, instead of doing anything about it, often born out of a “why bother” mind, because nothing has really worked out before, the bitter person usually sits around a lot wallowing in self-pity.  Pointing critical, accusatory, and fault-finding fingers outward and skyward, but seldom back at themselves.  This type of blame game started back in the Garden of Eden.

All the while, bitterness slowly spreads like a spiritual toxin inside a soul.  However, it is hard to spot just by looking at a person, because a sweet smile on Sunday at church can hide a spirit soured by resentment the rest of the week.  Words spoken smoother than butter can mask bitterness in the heart (Psalm 55:21).  Still, God sees it all (1 Samuel 16:7, Hebrews 4:13).

Our Father cannot show anybody a more excellent and better way, if they should ever be in the galls of bitterness (1 Corinthians 12:31, Acts 8:23).  Why? Well, with God, it keeps people bound in the bonds of iniquity and sin (Acts 8:23).  Bitterness is any feeling He has dealt (or is dealing) unfairly or unjustly, and this isn’t possible (Ezekiel 33:20, Deuteronomy 32:4).

Everything past in our life is required by God, and it will be this way as long as we live (Ecclesiastes 3:15). However, how will He ever create a new path in the wilderness if we keep looking back over our shoulder in remembrance of the bad things from days gone by making us bitter now (Isaiah 43:18-19)?  Repeatedly rehashing them leaves little room for future hopes.

God will never cause us grief or afflict us willingly – there always a reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  It’s just that we are not to know the times or seasons He has put in His own power (Acts 1:7).  Faith and belief says we trust in Him, and He knows what He’s doing – even if we don’t understand (Proverbs 3:5-6).  We either grow better from trials and troubles, or bitter.

Bitterness is also feelings of resentment with God – and there can be a wide variety of reasons why.  One could be some private displeasure about blessings He certainly seems to bestowing on others from above – when we think we are the ones showing Him much more love than they are – and that we should be the recipients.  It creates a sense of indignation inside us.

When these feelings of resentment get released out into the open, expressed in words or actions, it is how Christianity can start feeling like it is nothing more than a tense, stressful contest.  It becomes ungodly. There’s lack of contentment.  Believers start unwisely comparing and measuring aspects of their walk with God against those of others (2 Corinthians 10:12).

In turn, this creates an uneasy air of contention, and generates confusion God never authors (1 Corinthians 14:33).  It is a precursor to every evil work within the churches (James 3:14-16).  It births sinful pride and the evil rejoicing of boastings (James 4:16).  This is how believers become apostates by serving Satan more than God (Romans 1:25,30, 2 Timothy 3:1-2).

We are all prime candidates for bitterness, if we ever become weary of life, or in our walk with the Lord (Job 10:1).  Relationships, jobs, finances, Christianity, etc. – are not creating the better lives we hoped they would at their outset.  We can get to a point where we think “What’s the point?”  This is vanity – useless, a waste of time, and not producing desired results.

We have to be careful and prayerful our belief does not end up being in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2).  Bitter roots cannot possibly produce the spiritual fruits God commands us to continually bring forth – meet for repentance (Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30).  Instead, they bring forth toxic, spoiled, and worldly fruits like resentment, anger, and envy.

Whatever the reasons for bitterness, they are all displeasing to God.  Bitterness prevents Christians from following peace and holiness with all men below heaven, and keeps them out because of it (Hebrews 12:14-15).  It breeds contention, birthed only from foolish pride (Proverbs 13:10), with others and Him. Contention creates conflict and friction – not peace.

Bitter Christians don’t think right thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).  It means they cannot have victorious walks with Jesus in such vexed states of mind.  The final 13 paragraphs from the Charming Health website (with some personal additions and Scripture support) give an extensive and excellent description of bitterness, as well as the inner and outer damage it causes:

Bitterness is emotional suicide.  It’s like drinking poison, and then hoping the other person gets ill. People embroiled in bitterness have an incredible memory for the tiniest little details, and they wallow in puddles of self-pity and resentment.  They record every offense in their heart and head – more than ready to show others how much they have been hurt.

Bitter people defend and carry grudges constantly. They feel they have been hurt too deeply and too often, and think this exempts them from their need to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15).  Their hearts can overflow with so much resentment, they no longer have any capacity to love.  Bitterness takes their soul captive, consuming positive emotions, and robs them of joy.

Bitterness is frozen anger in latent form.  When it is manifested, it becomes a vicious malignancy making one extremely vulnerable to very unwise choices and decisions, developing destructive thought patterns infiltrating body and soul.  It saps the mind’s vitality. If allowed to fester unaddressed, bitterness can pave a path to seeking out vengeance and acts of violence.

Failure to confess and correct bitterness causes it to spread like a cancer no longer in remission.  Unlike a physical kind confined to just one body, bitterness is a spiritual kind infecting and sickening others.  It’s often expressed as anger, jealousy, dissatisfaction, or hate. It keeps focus below, on getting back or even, but not getting and staying on the narrow path to heaven.

It is true many life events can be unpleasant, causing grief and pain.  However, responding in any prolonged bitterness fuels more bitterness far down the road.  A reservoir of resentment is drawn upon over and over. It can be passed down to children and hold people in its vice-like grips.  It can even generate fiery, deadly feuds between families, like the Hatfields and McCoys.

Some of these events can be quite sudden, such as the literal loss of a loved one, or a source of income. Some are subtler, happening more slowly over time such as the loss of reputation, social status within a group, or control.  Regardless, they all sow and grow bitter roots and fruits.  Resentment and bitterness are unacceptable to God as they’re self-defeating and sin.

Existing bitterness in a Christian means they are not abiding side by side with God, so He can burn up the unrighteous roots producing such resentment (John 15:1-6).  These roots cannot bring forth anything but rotten fruits defiling a soul.  Some of them are guilt, arrogance, frustration, surmising, melancholy, sloth, and envy, creating instability in mind and spirit.

Extended bitterness produces physical ailments like insomnia, ulcers, anxiety, fear, depression, and heart attacks.  Mental consequences are hyper-critical views and attitudes about life.  Nobody can do things right (including God) except the bitter person.  Those who associate with such souls may sympathize for a time, but can end up avoiding them, lest they get drawn in.

Still, we are responsible for what we say, think, and feel.  God’s plan is to make us better so we can enter into heaven – not bitter so we cannot.  What makes people so bitter are worldly attitudes they develop growing up, and then carry in life towards situations and others.  As Christians, we’re being transformed by His truth, so old ways aren’t conformed to again.

Continuing in bitterness is not rooted and grounded in God’s love within through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17).  It is building faith upon a faulty foundation (Luke 6:47-49, 1 Corinthians 3:11).  It is not repenting (Luke 13:3,5).  Perishing awaits, unless one is purified by obeying the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned and fervent love of all (1 Peter 1:22).

God cannot possibly work His good will and pleasure in bitter hearts (Philippians 2:13).  Those battling with Him and others in futile resistance to His ways, and in refusal to His voice (Hebrews 12:25).  It’s enough to wrestle against the rulers of darkness in this world (Ephesians 6:12), without having to get into bitter, resentful wars with heaven and the brethren as well.

If we are being humbly obedient to God (Philippians 2:8) we are submitting to His power inside us.  We are not to resist it (Romans 13:2), as it’s the only power we will ever get to put off all forms of malice (second lead verse).  External means or methods, including guidance from other Christians, cannot cure bitterness.  All they do is give place to the devil.

Characterized by hostility (not hospitality) bitterness brings forth unforgiving, sputtering, and backsliding spirits full of negative attitudes almost always plotting and scheming, along with grouchy and complaining mouths.  Love can certainly dispel it all, but it spells disaster if left uncorrected.  Satan’s job is to devour, destroy, and kill souls – exactly what bitterness does.

 

 

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– Be angry, and do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath.  For anger rests in the bosom of fools God has no pleasure in. – Ephesians 4:26, Ecclesiastes 7:19, and Ecclesiastes 5:4

– A moment of anger can destroy a lifetime of work, whereas a moment of love can break barriers that took a lifetime to build. – Leon Brown

“Anger” has many negative connotations attached to it.  It can mean to irk, irritate, or infuriate.  It can be indignation provoked by perceived unfairness.  Even though it can conjure up images of ungodly behavior, anger does not always birth sin.  What matters to God is how we handle any anger before going to bed.

There are several forms of good anger, such as in instances of moral injustice or righteous indignation. Christ was justly upset when casting out those who bought and sold within God’s temple (Luke 19:45). Overthrowing the tables of the money changers, and upsetting the seats of the dove sellers (Mark 11:15).

However, our Father’s anger is always right, perfect, and true (Deuteronomy 32:4), even though He is slow to wrath (Psalm 103:8).  Long suffering towards all, not wanting us to perish (2 Peter 3:9).  Always ready to pardon (Nehemiah 9:17), if we turn from our sin and don’t offend Him anymore with it (Job 34:31).

On the other hand, Christian anger is generally a manifestation of flesh – and not Spirit.  Although it’s understandable (Galatians 5:17), it does not make it acceptable.  Human wrath is typically rooted in the world – not the Word.  Something or somebody is causing feelings of annoyance, hostility, or discontent.

Souls are like container vessels that can only hold so much in.  Once filled to the brim, something spills out in word or action.  The mouth will always speak out of the heart’s abundance (Luke 6:45).  The longer any anger resides inside, the more it gets pent-up like a spiritual pressure cooker ready to burst any second.

Anyone in such a volatile state within can go through what appear to be a string of normal days outwardly. Nothing much seems to be bugging them externally. However, they’ve foolishly left anger unaddressed nightly for a week.  It can detonate at the worst time, directed at one who is not the cause of their wrath.

It can result in instant fireworks.  The fuse ignited by anger days before – sparked by another person or situation – finally hits the bundle of dynamite sticks in the heart and everything blows up without warning. The one who explodes not only hurts the innocent party with words, but is left scrambling to save face.

This is wrath that doesn’t work the righteousness of God (James 1:20).  This is a type of anger keeping some wrapped up in unrighteous rage throughout their life.  Keeping them playing hurtful, harmful games of trying to get even with others – instead of leaving all vengeance to God (Hebrews 10:30-31).

Unless it is taken care off, all anger can start ticking like a time bomb in the heart.  It starts behaving like a spiritual toxin if it isn’t brought up and addressed on a regular basis (lead verse).  Toxins can easily create disease.  Physical ones harm the health of a human body; spiritual ones harm the health of a human soul.

Harboring unrighteous anger in the heart as the sun sets, is allowing it to be unaddressed with whomever or whatever it is focused upon – and with God.  It has to be brought up.  The longer wrath rests in a soul, the more foolishness it births.  Any Christian folly isn’t faith.  It gives place to Satan (Ephesians 4:27)

Our days on this earth are evil.  Therefore, we are to walk circumspectly – not foolishly (Ephesians 5:15-16).  Anger born of folly corrupts production of the spiritual fruits God commands us to bring forth meet for repentance – and which are to remain (Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 17:30, Matthew 3:8, John 15:16).

However, even righteous anger has to be watched very closely so we don’t get too high-minded and start jumping to conclusions.  We rarely have all the facts needed to justify wrath – right or wrong – while everything is naked before Him (Hebrews 4:12-13). Things aren’t always as they seem (Joshua 22:6-34).

There is an old saying of “cooler heads prevail” and it’s why we have to keep our anger in constant check so we don’t sin.  We are being purified as Christians through the blood of Jesus, but we will never be as perfect (1 Peter 1:19).  Having any kind of mind like this means God’s truth isn’t in us (1 John 1:8,10).

Does our Father give us ways to address and handle anger so we keep it at bay?  Yes – He does.  There are several throughout His Word, but perhaps one of the best remedies is to remember the words of David: “Stand in awe and do not sin.  Commune with your heart upon your bed – and be still (Psalm 4:4).”

In Psalm 77:6, we read “I call to remembrance my song in the night.  I commune with my own heart, and my spirit makes diligent search.”  If we do these and can’t find our anger source, then we ask God to make intercession.  To reveal deep and secret things only He can see (Daniel 2:22, Romans 8:26-27).

Although there are many other ways (e.g. Psalm 141:3, Proverbs 15:1, Philippians 4:8-9), remember we do not know what any day will bring (Proverbs 27:1) that could arouse angry behavior.  Our soul has to be kept in a constant state of peace and calm.  If it’s being filled with the world, wrong wrath emerges.

Anger is a very complex issue and its triggering factors are many.  It’s a topic far too broad to cover here and this piece is not intended to proclaim of knowing all the causes and answers concerning wrath. However, bottled up anger is a joy and peace stealer, and it can shipwreck relationships beyond repair.

As God tells us in the lead verse, we can be angry, but we cannot let the sun set on it.  We have to come to grips with it before going to sleep.  Wrath will rob us of rest required to walk soberly with Him the next day.  Instead, we will wake up stressed and tense due to anger left lingering in our soul during the night.

Unaddressed, unconfessed anger to others and God – and left uncorrected before retiring in the evening – is a catalyst for committing sin the next morning.  We’ll likely leave the house meditating on the wrath; not the Word.  Sin always lies waiting at our front door (Genesis 4:7), and withholds good (Jeremiah 5:25).

Remember a lot of unrighteous anger in life can put us in a lot of contention with other people – or God. This is nothing more than pride (Proverbs 13:10).  It frequently creates conflict and friction, and leads to disagreements within relationships – even with Jesus – because life just is not going exactly as wanted.

Who is ever going to get mad, angry, or upset when everything is going precisely the way they desire (Psalm 23:1, James 1:4)?  So, if wrath exists before the sun sets, it might mean swallowing some pride and taking a bite of humble pie.  Visiting or calling a person we’re angry at, to hear their side of the story.

This is showing grace, and how we grow in it (2 Peter 3:18) – so we don’t wallow in wrath day after day.  If we are Christians, then we’ve been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We have been given the only power we’ll ever get to put off things like lying, anger, wrath and filthy talk from our mouth (Colossians 3:8-9).

In conclusion, remember our Father above is always ready to pardon us, gracious and merciful, and slow to anger (Nehemiah 9:17).  As Christians, we are to be the same way to everyone else, no matter if they fail to do the same in return.  Otherwise, we are not learning Jesus as commanded (Ephesians 4:20-32).

Repeated troubles and problems dealing with anger, and letting it go, shows this is not being done.  One may be hearing and studying a lot about truth, but never applying it to life from the inside out (2 Timothy 3:7).  More wrath is likely in store until it is finally dealt with as God commands; before each day ends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Here is the patience of the saints: Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. – Revelation 14:12

– Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6

Impatience in life is marked by ungodly attributes such as anxiety or complaining.  Impatience with God is marked by the same things.  It’s a feeling one gets when something is just not happening as quickly as expected.  It’s a restless wanting or ache to do or get something – and something/someone is preventing it.

Impatient people have trouble waiting for anything, and pride is a common cause.  Often wanting others to serve them in a timely fashion, in accordance with anticipations based on their inordinate opinion of themselves, even if only in their mind.  Otherwise, contentions are bound to begin (Proverbs 13:10).

Long check-out lines at the store, or short traffic light times annoy them.  Almost everything in their life takes on an air of urgency or emergency, even if just imagined in their head – as is usually the case.  They easily get aggravated when delays and interruptions, whatever the cause, interrupt their schedule.

An impatient Christian sins because it’s a lack of faith (Hebrews 11:1).  It shows reluctance to wait on His promises not yet seen to come true.  They don’t like waiting too long for worldly things, much less those of the Word.  Hold-ups irritate, creating impatient traits such as cursing or murmuring (Philippians 2:14).

Impatient people also have a tendency to exaggerate the importance of their daily activities.  Whatever they’re involved with matters much more than what anyone else is – even among family, friends, or co-workers.  If anything or anyone interferes with their efforts to have a productive day, they get annoyed.

However, the words important and productive do not appear in Scripture.  As Solomon wisely pointed out many times, our life is vanity and vexation of spirit (Ecclesiastes 1:14, 2:11,17,26, 4:4,16, 6:9) without salvation.  Vanity means useless, a waste of time – not producing end results one desired at the outset.

We all arrived upon earth as creatures subject to vanity (Romans 8:20).  When we die, all claims of belief in God will have been in vain, if we did not endure all He commanded (Matthew 24:13, Hebrews 12:20).  We failed to hold fast in patient faith; and forgot what was preached to us (1 Corinthians 15:2).

Salvation is our expected end in this life (Jeremiah 29:11).  It is a hope we are to wait with patience for – for any hope seen is no longer hope (Romans 8:24-25).  This patience is one of the many spiritual fruits God commands us to produce continually until our death (Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 17:30, John 15:16)

Fruits to be brought forth meet with our repentance to salvation (Matthew 3:8) – to keep us climbing up heaven’s staircase the correct way (2 Peter 1:5-8). Impatient rushing in this world can cause us to skip or forget steps, and make us slip a little or take a tumble (Hebrews 2:1).  Spiritual impatience can do the same.

It’s why we must be diligent and make our calling and election by God sure.  If we do, then He promises us we will never fall.  We will take each step with Him in steadfast patience (2 Peter 1:10) – so an entrance will be administered abundantly unto us at the end into heaven’s everlasting kingdom (2 Peter 1:11).

Otherwise, Jesus will call us a robber and thief for climbing up the wrong way (John 10:1).  Spiritual stealing works the same way as the physical kind. People who don’t want to wait and do things legally to acquire an item desired, will rob.  Physical theft leads to prison; spiritual theft to death without deliverance.

Why is having patience so crucial prior to and for salvation?  One reason is because our Father is a God of patience and consolation.  Without patience we can’t learn to be like-minded, one toward another in Jesus – nor receive each other with any forbearance and tolerance; as God is to us (Romans 15:5-7).

Another reason is patience purifies our hearts by faith (Acts 15:9).  If we’re impatient in the world one day, and patient the next, we are still wavering in our walk with God (Ephesians 4:14).  This is having a double mind (James 1:6-8).  It is trying to eat and drink at two tables simultaneously (1 Corinthians 10:21).

In the same vein, patience purifies our motives.  It shows God if our prayers are amiss, asking for things just to consume on our lusts (James 4:3).  Or, do we trust Him to know our needs before we do (Matthew 6:8)?  We are to be content with what we already have – and not want (Hebrews 13:5, Psalm 23:1).

If we ever want anything from God, then we have impatience within us to deal with and correct.  Why? Because our Father is going to try our faith to work patience in us, and we are to let this patience have her perfect work.  So we may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing from God ever again (James 1:3-4).

A third reason is we’re all running a spiritual race of faith.  If we were running something like a marathon, we wouldn’t sprint out of the starting gate and run as hard and fast as we could right off the bat, or we’d be exhausted in the first few miles.  Instead, we would set a steady, straightforward pace from start to finish.

Even then, we might not win.  There could be other contestants better conditioned, and who trained with much more discipline and commitment than we did. Spiritual training is very similar.  If we are doing it in accordance with the Word, we are to lay aside the weight of all sin that so easily besets us in the world.

This is so we can run with patience the race of faith set before us.  Even though we have a heavenly cloud of witnesses along the route rooting us on, we are to be looking ahead at all times towards the finish line. Only Christ is waiting there to hand us our eternal crown of victory if we endure (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Patience commands moderation and self-restraint.  It means we learn temperance.  This is another fruit to be produced (Galatians 5:23), and another step on heaven’s staircase (2 Peter 1:6).  Spiritual growth should show more abstinence from worldly things and ways each year, and more abidance to the Word.

It all plays an integral part in patiently running our spiritual race as the apostle Paul wrote about as follows:  “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.

Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we for an incorruptible one.  I therefore so run – not with uncertainty.  So I fight – not as one who beats the air (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).”  Running around to and fro aimlessly without a steady direction, purpose, or focus (Colossians 3:2) – is vainly beating the air.   

Sadly, it seems we are living in a world teaching less patience each year.  We have so many on-demand devices and programs available, we can get used to having things now – not later.  This is coupled with an incentive-laced system of earning gifts or monetary rewards for many purchases we make (Isaiah 1:23).

However, impatience is never a new thing to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).  We see examples throughout Scripture, starting off with Abraham and Sarah not wanting at first to wait for Isaac to be born in God’s timing.  Instead, they rushed the matter with Hagar, who birthed the wild child Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-15).

Also in the Old Testament, Esau’s impatience cost him his birthright (Genesis 25:24-34).  We see impatience in the New Testament with the Prodigal Son, who did not want to wait until later to receive his inheritance. So he got it, wasted it, and began to be in want as the swine dined better than he was (Luke 15:11-16).

Impatient behavior leads to hasty words – towards each other or heaven.  It is hard to let words be few, when stewing about in impatience (Ecclesiastes 5:2). Hearts can only hold so much before something spills out of a mouth (Luke 6:45).  Blessing and cursing from the same ought not to be so (James 3:9-10).

We must never be ignorant about any of this, as impatience is a powerful tool the devil uses to pull us away from the truth.  To keep us bustling about in bursts and flurries of impatient activity in the world he’s the prince of (John 14:30).  Reaping nothing more than the whirlwind being sown (Hosea 8:7).

The devil roars around like a starving lion.  Trying to devour us in impatience – to gain advantage with deceptive devices we can’t be unaware of (1 Peter 5:7-8, 2 Corinthians 2:11).  We should not marvel. Satan and his angels are transformed into ministers of light and righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Deceiving the whole world is the only job God gave Satan upon casting him out from heaven (Revelation 12:9, Luke 10:18).  We are warned by our Father to let no man or the devil ever deceive us (Mark 13:5). Heavenly wrath comes down upon His children who succumb to such disobedience (Ephesians 5:6).

Deception thrives on impatient people.  It is often those who are greedy for gain (Proverbs 15:27) or fame.  They want such with no desire to count the cost beforehand (Luke 14:28) and put the time in. Instead, they dream of instant riches or success; and think becoming a Christian meant instant salvation.

Scam artists and con men use deception to prey upon such desires.  They dupe people into believing there’s great gain down the road, by getting them to buy into likeable lies along the way – until it is too late to do much about it.  It is how Bernie Madoff “made off” with so much.  It is how Satan makes off with souls.

Jesus said “By your patience possess your souls (Luke 21:19).”  If we have no rule over our spirit, we’re like a city of old broken down by invading forces – and no longer with walls (Proverbs 25:28).  Uninvited and ungodly guests like impatience walk in unhindered and take up residence in our hearts and minds.

Their landlord is Satan, who is always ready to lead us away in err to faith shipwrecks.  If so, it’s because we failed to grow in patient grace (2 Peter 3:17-18, 1 Timothy 1:19).  We had no time to hear people out in any matter, or give them benefit of the doubt.  We were too busy rushing about in unsaintly impatience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Only by pride cometh contention; but with the well advised is wisdom. – Proverbs 13:10

– Woe unto him that strives with his Maker! – Isaiah 45:9

The simplest definition of “contention” means being opposed to something or someone.  Carried out to extremes, it develops a zeal to emerge as the winner in arguments or debates with anybody – including with God.  Contentment usually only comes with victories – while losses often generate contempt.

Any contention in life develops an existence of strife, discord, or disagreement with any number of people. It does the same with our Father above.  Contentious opposition to His ways can birth enmity or bitterness (Hebrews 12:15), leading to discontent lives of always questioning Him in an air of conflict and quarreling.

It’s a sign of having a carnal mind still conformed to the world; not renewed and transformed by His truth yet (Romans 8:7, 12:2).  It creates spiritual stress, struggles, or stagnation – and a burdensome, heavy yoke (Matthew 11:30).  It often creates a confusion God is never the author of (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Contention is a state of dissention with heaven.  It keeps hearts far from it – even though lips may speak many feigned words to the contrary (Mark 7:6).  It’s not growing in God’s grace, but it gives place to the devil – and space for his many devices of devouring (2 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 4:27, 2 Corinthians 2:11).

It is sin – for only by pride does it arise (lead verse). It is being at odds with God – at any time, for any reason.  It is disobedient complaining coming from a lack of faith and trust – and this is displeasing to Him (Numbers 11:1, Philippians 2:14, Hebrews 11:6).  It is walking contrary to His ways (Leviticus 26:27-28).

To contend, or being in any contention with God is ungodly.  Some synonyms for both words reflect this, such as conflict and friction.  It’s hard to walk with anyone in such disharmony (Amos 3:3).  People can only disagree with others for so long, before they say “so long.”  The same goes with God (Hebrews 3:12).

Contention implies God does not know what He is doing.  It suggests He is unfair (Ezekiel 33:20), lying (Hebrews 6:18), or wrongly judging because violence, spoiling, and strife abound (Habakkuk 1:3-4).  Those contentious with God tend to perceive their goodness or innocence (Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 2:35).

However, our Father is always right – His ways are perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).  Contention with Him says He is not – and makes mistakes.  If we say we’re Christians, then we have been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We’ve been reconciled back to God into one body by the Cross of Christ (Ephesians 2:16).

Reconciliation means being brought into agreement and alignment with something or someone.  If we are Christians, then it is God.  Contention prohibits any concurrence with Him.  If we claim belief, then we always agree with God.  If we don’t, we are devoid of the truth, despite any claims to the contrary.

Our Father’s commandments are not meant to be grievous, but to grow us up into mature Christians (1 John 5:3).  Contentions against Him grieve the Holy Spirit – and we’re warned not to do this (Ephesians 4:30).  When we do, it upsets and saddens God.  It shows we haven’t learned Christ (Ephesians 4:20-32).

Remember, our Father causes and creates all things in life – light and dark, good and evil (Isaiah 45:7). However, He will never grieve or afflict us willingly without reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  Griping or grumbling about troubles or trials in life is not the way to grow spiritually and in grace (2 Peter 3:18).

We must look within at sin still not confessed and corrected as the source of any difficulty with Him.  Sin angers God, especially when committed by Christians who cannot be ignorant about His command to repent (Acts 17:30).  Otherwise, complaining and contention with Him are bound to begin (Lamentations 3:39).

If contentious arguing arises against God, it is being lifted up in the same arrogant pride that got Satan cast out from heaven (1 Samuel 2:3, Proverbs 16:18, Luke 10:18).  Christian novices are prone to prideful contention – and this puts them in danger of falling into the condemnation of the devil (1 Timothy 3:6).

New believers are unlearned and unstable.  They still wrestle with Scripture and require a lot of spiritual milk.  The Bible is hard to understand (1 Peter 2:2, 2 Peter 3:16).  It includes those who should be teachers by now; but who have to keep being retaught the first principles of God’s oracles (Hebrews 5:12).

Contention can also be fostered by failing to speak or preach wholesome words becoming sound doctrine (1 Timothy 6:3-4, Titus 2:1).  Instead, it is putting a personal “spin” on Scripture.  With catchy quotes or phrases sounding very spiritual and godly, but being unable to affirm them with His Word (1 Timothy 1:7)

However, this is swerving from the truth (1 Timothy 1:6), and being removed to another gospel (Galatians 1:6).  This is how people get deceived by vain words (Ephesians 5:6).  Contention has likely led to rewrites of Scripture into many new versions so they sound more agreeable to man (Revelation 22:18-19).

Whatever the cause, contention is never a good state to be in very long.  Satan roars around like a starving lion, waiting to lead us away in err (1 Peter 5:8-9, James 1:16, 2 Peter 3:17).  The devil is our 24/7 accuser (Revelation 12:10).  Stirring up contention with God is a deadly device he uses to devour souls.

This doesn’t mean we will never be contentious with others – even with believers.  We were all raised in the world first, and have various viewpoints, theories, and opinions about life we may still be entangled in (2 Timothy 2:4).  Jesus has to untangle these so we stop minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19).

These can lead to sometimes heated disagreements with each other.  In the book of Acts, contention separated two brothers in Jesus.  What happened would be similar to a group of church elders today unable to agree on who to send on a mission trip. However, why it happened merits some examination.

Paul and Barnabas were at an impasse about whether to take John Mark – the cousin of Barnabas – as a third companion to go visit brothers in cities they had previously preached in.  They wanted to see how these brothers were faring.  The contention was so sharp, they went separate ways (Acts 15:36-39).

Scripture reveals they never met face to face again. Still, Paul later makes favorable mention of Barnabas (1 Corinthians 9:6), and expresses a desire for John Mark to join him in ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).  Even though Barnabas and Paul disagreed, they did not end up making a mountain out of a molehill.

Also, keep in mind their dissension did not involve Scriptural content or doctrinal issues.  They did not engage in profane or vain babblings about the Bible (1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Timothy 2:16).  The split between the two men involved a personal dispute based upon a judgement call on who to take with them.

To their credit, neither Paul or Barnabas permitted the contention to sideline them from personal efforts in spreading God’s Word.  Yes, it was prideful and partial (1 Timothy 5:21).  However, they didn’t allow their inability to arrive at a decision to get them angry enough to sin more against God (Ephesians 4:26).

There will always be times when brothers and sisters in Christ will not see eye-to-eye in matters of opinion. However, the important thing is how we respond.  Do we mope, sulk, and stew because somebody didn’t agree with our point of view – or do we stay focused on doing God’s will, regardless of disagreements?

Paul and Barnabas pushed forward, putting their hand to the plow (Luke 9:62).  As a result, more work was done for God because of how they handled their rift. They didn’t permit it to spoil them spiritually.  They didn’t let it fester and end up getting the best of them in ignorance of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).

There’ll be several situations throughout life leading to potential strife, dissention, or disagreement.  It’s even understandable between Christians, depending on the progress of their spiritual growth.  We still have to live in the world, but we have to watch with caution what we’re filling our hearts with (Luke 6:45).

Even with the Spirit inside us, our flesh lusts against it, and vice versa.  We don’t always say or do things we want to or should (Romans 7:18-19, Galatians 5:17).  However, contention is strife, and strife leads to evil works (James 3:16).  Individually, or in the churches where it has no place (1 Corinthians 11:16).

God tells us to take heed because we can easily be consumed if we continue biting and devouring each other in any contention (Galatians 5:15).  This shows a total lack of devotion to God’s ways and discipline in our walk with Him.  There’s no rest in life (Proverbs 29:9).  Contention makes people tense and on edge.

This is why we are well-advised to learn godly wisdom (lead verse).  It is letting God tame our unruly and evil tongues by His truth (James 3:8) – learning like David how to ask Him to set a guard over our lips (Psalm 141:3).  So our words are few and we refrain from rash talk (Ecclesiastes 5:2, Proverbs 10:19).

Strife in life leads to a lot of wrong, unrighteous, and ungodly thinking (Philippians 4:8).  Precious time is wasted and mental energy is spent dreaming up ways trying to prove a point on any topic, even Scripture, to those we disagree with.  Giving them a piece of our mind can’t lead to peace of mind (Philippians 4:9).

No thought can be hid from our Father (Job 42:2) – God knows them all (Ezekiel 11:5).  Even if we may think our contention is hidden to the masses in our mind, it is immediately manifest before the Almighty (Hebrews 4:12-13).  We can fool others with feigned and fake faith, but not God (Jeremiah 3:10).

We can also go out and speak the most convicting words about God – then come back home and rail accusations against Him behind closed doors about something we think He is doing wrong.  However God knows our abode; when we come and go.  If we rage against Him like this, it can’t be hid (2 Kings 19:27).

Many things increase vanity in this life and contention with God is one (Ecclesiastes 6:10-11).  It is counter-productive to bringing forth spiritual fruit meet with our commandment to repent of sins (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23).  Who are we to contend with God and command Him (Job 40:2)?

Contention with God shows Him we desire to establish our own righteousness and then declare it as such – just as the Israelites did.  However, it’s not submitting to His righteousness (Romans 10:3).  Instead, it is subversive and condemns Him.  If we do, we disannul His judgment, just so we can be righteous (Job 40:8).

Contention is everything but peace.  It is sin and it is ungodly.  We are to follow peace with all men, and holiness or we won’t see God (Hebrews 12:14).  If we should stay ungodly by blaming Him for our problems in prideful contention, and fail to repent of our ways, we will not stand in the judgement (Psalm 1:5).

Therefore, God tells us to avoid foolish questions, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law. They are unprofitable, and vain (Titus 3:9).  Starting strife is like opening floodgates to release dammed up water.  So we don’t meddle with contention, we’re to walk away from it, before it begins (Proverbs 17:14).

However, there is one thing we all have to contend for – and earnestly, meaning intently and seriously.  It is the faith once delivered to the saints of yore (Jude 1:3).  It is the kind Jesus wonders about; if it will be found upon returning (Luke 18:8).  It means we have to be in contention with the devil (Proverbs 28:4).

It means we have to hold fast.  It is keeping our souls from straying by having them firmly secured by the anchor of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:19).  This is so we hold fast to instructions from God (Proverbs 4:13), the profession of our faith without wavering (Hebrews 10:23), and all that is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

It is so we can hold fast to the form of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13).  So we hold fast and repent unto salvation as commanded – or perish (Revelation 3:3, Acts 17:30, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Luke 13:3,5).  If we don’t it will be easy to backslide into contentious ways – and hold fast to deceit (Jeremiah 8:5-6).

Prideful deceit is the state of our heart from the start of life (Jeremiah 17:9, Obadiah 1:3, 1 John 2:16).  If we should keep slipping (Hebrews 2:1) back to it as believers, we swerve from a good conscience, to contention again with God (1 Timothy 1:5-6).  It’s how we veer off the straight path (Matthew 7:14).

Straying in any contention too long is staying in uncorrected sin.  It’s failing to consider the eternal consequences of disobedience (2 Thessalonians 1:8). If we remain in contention too long, we will have no excuse if God says to us when we meet Him, “Depart from Me, for I never knew you (Matthew 7:23).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– You shall not go up and down as a talebearer among the people.  The words of a talebearer are as wounds and go down into the innermost parts of the belly. – Leviticus 19:16 and Proverbs 18:8

– Gossip is the devil’s radio. – George Harrison

“Loose lips sink ships” is a decades-old American idiom that attained wide-spread popularity during WWII.  Originally created by the War Ad Council, it appeared on posters back then put out by the U.S Office of War.  It means beware of unguarded talk, as careless conversations may be of use to any enemy.

Loose lips breed gossipers and busybodies saying words they should not (2 Thessalonians 3:111 Timothy 5:13) – launching seemingly harmless talk such as “Guess what I heard about so-and so?”  We avoid trouble if we keep our mouth (Proverbs 21:23). Gossip means this hasn’t been learned (Psalm 141:3).

Gossip is ungodliness and being disobedient.  It is not having the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  Jesus didn’t go around spreading rumors, revealing personal secrets (John 2:24-25), or engaging in any chit-chat. Gossip is lots of idle talk.  We will all give an account of every idle word we ever say (Matthew 12:36).

So, what exactly is gossip?  It comes to us from the Old English word “godsibb.”  Up until the mid 1500’s, it meant a familiar acquaintance.  As time passed, its sense was extended to one who “engaged in familiar talk.”  However, by the mid 1800’s, gossip had come to mean trifling talk and spreading groundless rumor.

A gossip is sometimes referred to in Scripture as a talebearer or a busybody.  A Christian busybody is not very disciplined – but one who walks disorderly.  It is one who doesn’t work, for they are more focused on the personal affairs of others, in hopes to find some new thing to gossip about (2 Thessalonians 3:11).

Gossip is unsubstantiated hearsay often revealing juicy secrets one has about another (Proverbs 11:13). It has a way of coming back full circle to the person being gossiped about.  It returns loud and clear to their ears.  Even if whispered to begin with, gossip separates close friends in the end (Proverbs 16:28).

Gossip is frequently spread by a person under the guise of them being knowledgeable about something or someone.  This is how gossip gains a foothold and is able to spread.  However, it is not the same as just exchanging information.  The difference between the two centers on intent and why a person is talking.

Information is helpful, gossip is hurtful.  Gossipers have a secret goal to build themselves up by making others look bad, exalting themselves in the process (Luke 14:11).  They speak of the faults, failings, or shortcomings of other people – revealing potentially embarrassing or shameful details about them.

We are all prone to gossip.  It’s why we have to be very careful as Christians as to what we are filling our souls with, for our hearts will always speak out of their abundance (Luke 6:45).  Still, some are more apt to gossip than others depending on how they were brought up – or where they are now in their life.

Those raised in houses full of strife and busy lives hear more in the way of steady talk than those raised in quiet and reserved atmospheres (Proverbs 17:1). People who grow up in the former might become gossipers early on.  Those brought up in the latter usually let their words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

Others gossip out of boredom.  They always need to see or hear some new thing or person to spike their interest and talk (Acts 17:21).  In several studies, boredom was the #1 reason why young people say they spread rumors.  When everyone is happy and getting along, it’s dull.  Gossip can shake things up.

A third group very susceptible to gossip are widowed women and men who can find too much time on their hands.  Once accustomed to children and spouses around the house, they now have empty hours to fill. Without godly thought as how to spend them, idle walking and talking easily begins (1 Timothy 5:13).

Whisperings is another word for gossip.  Christians engaging in either are in eternal danger.  It is a sign of turning aside after Satan and departing the living God (1 Timothy 5:15, Hebrews 3:12).  God can turn one over to whispering when the devil is served and worshipped more than He is (Romans 1:25,28-29).

Gossip generates slanderous communications and comments.  Slander is evil in every way and corrupts any good manners a person may have (1 Corinthians 15:33).  Being a gossip or slanderer requires one to become a busybody – or have another to be one for them – to provide the proper “dirt” on somebody.

A busybody meddles in the affairs of others.  They snoop and spy, being the investigator for the gossips and rumormongers.  Just like some widowers, people like this are not redeeming their time very wisely (Ephesians 5:15-17).  Being a busybody is just as worthy of death as being a murderer (1 Peter 4:15).

Whatever name we want to call gossip, all of them create a lot of contention in life.  However, just as any fire goes out without wood, so does strife cease when the talebearing stops (Proverbs 26:20).  All gossip is sin.  If we regard it in our heart we will have a hard time getting prayers answered (Psalm 66:18).

Loose lips can sink just as many spiritual ships (e.g. fellowship, discipleship, worship) as they do physical ones.  Careless and uncommitted walks with the Lord lead to careless talk and communications.  Unguarded talk such as gossip gives ample ammunition to our adversary, Satan – so he can devour us (1 Peter 5:8).

This is why it is eternally dangerous for Christians to keep on minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19), and staying entangled in affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:4).  It means we will keep listening to Satan’s lies more than God’s truths.  Our walk and talk will follow whoever we are heeding and believing more.

Our words will become our earthly and eternal burden (Jeremiah 23:36).  In the end, we will be justified or condemned by all the things we said in this life – or spread like gossip (Matthew 12:37).  Gossip grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).  It leaves one still stuck on destruction’s broad path (Matthew 7:13).

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– And their eyes were opened, and Jesus straightly charged them, saying “See that no man knows it.” – Matthew 9:30

– Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition. – Abraham Lincoln

Would we ever do anything in life – if people never knew we did anything?  What would be the point of living?  What would we really do at our jobs if we couldn’t put it on a resume later?  Would we ever participate in competitive sports where nobody won championships – and no one received awards and trophies?  What would politicians do – if they knew it would never be put on the nightly news?

What’s the harm if we blow our own horns now and then?  Do we sometimes pretend it isn’t a big deal if nobody seems to notice us much?  Does it really not bother us if life starts to feel like we are blending in with the greenery and scenery, as alluded to in “Take the Long Way Home” by Supertramp?”  If we really did live a life of relative obscurity, what might our obituary look like?

Perhaps something similar to this: “John Doe, 85, passed away yesterday.  He never did much.  He will not be missed.”  However, this certain John Doe did thousands of good things in his life.  Although local library books could have been filled by them, pursuing personal praise and public notice wasn’t his earthly purpose.  Just like Jesus, whose deeds would have filled a few more books (John 21:25).

During a Passover feast, some of those around Jesus could not understand why he tried to avoid personal attention as much as possible.  Some of them said to Christ, “Depart, and go into Judea, so your disciples may also see the works you do.  For there is no man who does anything in secret, while he himself seeks to be known openly.  If you do these things, show yourself to the world (John 7:2-4).”

There are similar scenes throughout the four gospels where Christ charged the disciples to keep quiet about things he did, what he said … even about who he was. For example, when Jesus was on the road with them to Caesarea Philippi, he asked, “Whom do men say I am?”  After answers such as John the Baptist and Elijah – Christ charged them they should tell no man of who he was (Mark 8:27-30).

Was Jesus denying he was God’s Son?  In 1901, theologian William Wrede labeled Christ’s seeming quest for confidentiality the “Messianic Secret.” However, Jesus was not trying to keep a secret.  He just did not want to receive the reverence if his identity was revealed.  It did not belong to him. Christ was simply seeking God’s glory.  Speaking about himself wasn’t the way to do it (John 7:18).

The same goes for us.  Job learned a very painful lesson in humility because of his huge “I” problem (Job 1:11-19, Job 29:14-25).  Tooting our own Christian trumpets is not truth.  It tarnishes God’s glory by putting a varnish on ours.  Whatever glory we may be seeking for ourselves in doing any work for the Lord – is not His glory (Proverbs 25:27).  It is glorying in everything but the Cross (Galatians 6:14).

Pure and undefiled religion in God’s eyes – is the kind unspotted from this world (James 1:27).  It is when we work quietly and privately away from the public spotlight.  Serving all others with the unfeigned and fervent love God commands (1 Peter 1:22) – without fawning all over ourselves.  Without sounding the attention alarm by having to publish our works in the church bulletin – or post them on Facebook.

Christianity is not a contest.  We are to prove our own work, so any rejoicing will be in ourselves (Galatians 6:4).  We are not wise if we compare and measure ourselves with what other believers are doing (2 Corinthians 10:12).  Showcasing is often created when we do this.  Contention between Christians and churches follows.  Confusion, pride, and evil works ensue (Proverbs 13:10, James 3:16),

Until the day of Christ’s return – we are to have faith to ourselves (Romans 14:22).  We are to pray in private and fast secretly (Matthew 6:5-6, Matthew 6:18).  We are to let others who are strangers praise us – not our own mouths or lips (Proverbs 27:2). All Jesus did on earth was to go about His Father’s business.  Teaching the Word of truth, without having to boast about it.  The same goes for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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