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Posts Tagged ‘vanity’

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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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:

– Charge them that are rich in this world, that they not be high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches … but in the living God, who richly gives us all things to enjoy. – 1 Timothy 6:17

Nowhere in Scripture does God say we can’t be rich in regards to money.  It is a matter of how our hearts and minds view it, use it, and comprehend where it always comes from (Deuteronomy 8:17-18) – that matters to Him.  Abraham, Job, and Solomon would have been considered wealthy by today’s standards. However, they also learned sometimes painful and persistent lessons about the dangers of earthly gain.

God once told Abraham not to regard his stuff – for the good of the land was already his (Genesis 45:20). Job lost nearly everything he had in one day, because his abundance had become his hedge for honoring God (Job 1:10-19).  All of Solomon’s wealth was not enough to satisfy him (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11).  He failed to fully follow after God like his father David had – and suffered the consequences (1 Kings 11:4-25).

Whether we are worldly rich or worldly poor, we are to be content with our wages.  We are not to spend our time trying to exact more than what God has already appointed (Luke 3:13-14).  We are to be content with food and clothing (1 Timothy 6:8).  If we follow the right things, God promises to thoroughly furnish us for all good works, including financially (Philippians 4:19, 1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 3:17).  

If we are not happy or satisfied with our finances at any time, we will be following after more at least part of the time.  We will spend at least a portion of our brief existence on this earth trying to bolster our bank accounts, improve our portfolios, and/or set money aside for future times such as our retirement. Days in the future we may never see (Proverbs 27:1, James 4:14).  It’s all vanity (Ecclesiastes 5:10).

If we do so, we are still saying we want something from God (Psalm 23:1).  We are not casting all our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7).  We are not fully trusting He knows all our needs before we do (Matthew 6:8). Any devotion to gathering wealth, any concentration on keeping cash flows constant, or any focus on earthly gain is incompatible with our devotion to God. We cannot serve two masters (Luke 16:13).

Wealth in this world can make us many friends – but our friends cannot save us (Proverbs 19:4).  All of the riches we may have cannot be used as a ransom for someone else’s life.  All of their riches cannot be used as a ransom for ours.  Our souls are precious to God – and they were bought back with the blood of Christ at Calvary – not by how much money we may have in the bank (Psalm 49:6-8, 1 Corinthians 6:20).

Regardless of what we may have – God requires us to be good stewards of it.  However, in His economy, this means we share our blessings with others.  Not preferring them for our own present and personal enjoyment – or stockpiling them for later use by ourselves (e.g. Proverbs 3:27-28, Isaiah 58:7, Luke 3:11, Luke 6:38, Hebrews 13:16, James 4:3, James 5:1-3).  This earth’s profit is for all (Ecclesiastes 5:9).

We can’t receive anything in life except from heaven (John 3:27).  Freely we have been given – freely we are to give (Matthew 10:8),  We are to always offer willingly for this reason (1 Chronicles 29:14).  With cheer; not out of necessity – as if we are only giving to get something back from God (2 Corinthians 9:7). Not so some become overly abundant or burdened, but so there is equality (2 Corinthians 8:12-14).

Even though so many try to figure out precisely what they will need in the way of future finances, worldly riches are always uncertain (lead verse).  The only thing we all can be certain about in this world – is we brought nothing in – and we can carry nothing out of it (1 Timothy 6:7).  With this in mind – what does it profit us if we gain the whole world and lose our souls in the end (Matthew 16:26, Luke 12:16-21)?

 

 

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– For we brought nothing into this world – and it is certain we can carry nothing out. – 1 Timothy 6:7

– “The years will come and go – some of us will change our lives, some of us still have nothing to show.” – George Micheal (“Waiting For That Day”)

“Have you ever taken a moment and stopped to think you’ve lived your whole life up until now – and completely missed the point?”  That’s a wonderful line from the 2010 movie “What If?” It’s about a young man who gives up the seminary and a fiance – for a 15-year career of corporate greed.  But, through an angel he gets the chance to see what his life could have been like – and a chance to choose between the two at the end.

Have “you” ever stopped to look around at everything you might have right now and said to yourself something like “Have I missed the point?”, or “Is this all I have to show for all these years?”  Some might not have what they think they want right now – but they are just waiting for that day when they have something to show to themselves or others for all their efforts. Only to say all too often, “Is this it?”  Everything hoped for wasn’t as expected – all of the things worked for only seemed to be vanity and a vexation of spirit in the long run (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

The flesh and blood we all are cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50).  Everything worldly in our lives – all of our material pursuits and possessions – all turn to rust and dust one day.  And, what does it profit it us if we gain the whole world and lose our souls (Matthew 16:26).  Naked we came from our mother’s womb – and naked we will return to the earth – taking nothing of our labor on earth with us (Ecclesiastes 5:15). Only our spirit returns to the One who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Where our treasures are in this life – so there will be our hearts (Matthew 6:21).  It is difficult to fix our hearts on those eternal rewards that await us up above – when we place our hope and happiness on worldly things below (Luke 6:23, Revelation 22:12).  What awaits us at the end is an incorruptible crown of glory to wear forever – and an incorruptible inheritance reserved in heaven for us that never fades away (1 Corinthians 9:25, 1 Peter 1:4).  That’s the day I’m waiting for – how about you?

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