Posts Tagged ‘destructive’

Getting out of Midian

This is not our destiny!

Midian is not our destiny!

There is a powerful story in Scripture about Moses running to the land of Midian. It happens after he kills an Egyptian who had abused one of his Hebrew brethren (Ex. 2:11-15). In this circumstance Moses expresses a common feeling… what most of us feel in the midst of injustice.

In verse 12 it states the problem… “He looked this way and then that; when he realized there was no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand”. The spirit of strife arose inside of Moses to such a degree that it blinded his heart… forsaking the command of God in regards to murder.

Choices are the fruit of a heart’s focus!

Raised an Egyptian and coming to grips with the Hebrew heartbeat was like standing in an intersection and not knowing which way to turn. Moses’ wrong choice released the confusion that resided in his heart and created an enormous backlash among his brethren. The next day he went out to find two Hebrew men fighting. He spoke to the man who started it: “Why are you hitting your neighbor?” The man shot back: “Who do you think you are, telling us what to do? Are you going to kill me the way you killed that Egyptian?” Then Moses panics… “oh no, word’s gotten out; people know about this”. Secrets are often difficult to shake free from. Pharaoh hears about it and tries to kill Moses, but Moses gets away to the land of Midian. He sits down by a well with his confusion and there receives the call to be the “hand” of deliverance for God’s people (Ex. 3:1-4).

Midian is not the place Moses chose to go…

But God would meet Him there. Interestingly the word Midian means “striving” or “habit” and the Midianites were the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son from another season of bad choices. Oddly enough its very rare that one generation’s poor choices do not become a crucible for our life later, but that is another blog topic. Yet now, in order to escape punishment for killing the Egyptian, Moses runs away to Midian, a place of habitual strife. He finds himself face-to-face with… “himself”.

Sounds like God’s intervention…

Running away takes Moses to a burning bush… with a broken heart.  Moses became a stranger in a strange land, separated from his home and family… and he needed a new identity. It took many years after this incident for Moses to be ready to serve God. The good news is that Moses did trust God (Heb. 11:27) and leave Midian. Moses found the God who transforms our identity!

We must recognize the God who transforms us as quickly as possible and allow His priorities to shape our life choices. If not, we may find ourselves visiting the land of strife. Leaving Midian can only happen when we have felt the crushing reality of God’s intervention in our character. Yet it must happen if we expect God to use us, bless us, or prosper us.

Character transformation is the defining reality of what makes a leader attractive to those who follow.

When I find myself on edge, offended or bitter toward others, there is a good chance that I am hanging out in “Midian, the land of strife”. There are spiritual realities that effect my thought life, choices and behavior patterns. God takes us into places that test us and show us what resides within our hearts. He does this for our good, as His way of chastening His children.

God chastens those whom He loves and accepts! (Heb 12:4-11)

The Christian attitude toward anger and strife should be consistent with God’s heart. There is just no room for angry outbursts or strife ridden behavior in the processing of Christian relationships. We should call it sin and repent of it or we give place to confusion. Like Moses, we could wind up in the land of Midian until it gets burned out of us.

Here is what the Bible says: (Ps. 37:8)(Prov. 19:19)(Prov. 27:4)(Eccl. 7:9)(Gal. 5:19-20)(Eph. 4:31).

Living in Midian is like living next door to a volcano that only explodes once every couple of months. I believe many folks live in Midian, a land cursed by a spirit of strife and although the erruptions only occur every few months; life is lived in confusion and fear, waiting for when and how destructive the next outburst will be. This must not be our legacy, because it is most certainly not our destiny.

Getting out of Midian is as easy as recognizing the sinful behavior and repenting of it. Ask the Holy Spirit to deliver, then begin to rest upon the Truth that God is faithful to meet you in Midian with the power to transform your heart.

Savage Wolves

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?” (Mt. 7:15-16)

The Devil has always tried to use people to bring division into the Congregation of the Saints. There is nothing new about this problem. In fact, James addresses the issues of wrong attitudes and a “spirit of strife” (Jms. 3:14). From the earliest inception of the New Testament Church, we hear the Apostle Paul warn about savage wolves who would be raised up even among the flock… Paul says, “savage wolves will come in among you” (Acts 20:28-31). It is going to happen… so we must not be taken by surprise.

Watch for the Spirit of Strife!

Be on guard for spirits of strife, argumentative people and division. Church leaders have always had to correct people who acted under the deceiving grip of evil intent. This is what we commonly define as a “spirit”… its often motivated by fear or offense and demonic in nature. Unfortunately the fruit of such a spirit is destructive beyond measure. It is the source of much division and strife in the Church today.

In respect to people being used by the Devil to bring division, James says, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking (strife) in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth” (Jms. 3:14). The phrase “bitter envy” is very important. It is the Greek word zelos, which refers to a fierce desire to promote our own idea to the exclusion of others. The words, self-seeking or “strife”- eritheia which in the Greek means rivalry or ambition, can be translated as a party spirit or a divisive spirit. In verse 15 we see James expound upon the motivation for such a divisive heart toward leadership as he tells us, the wisdom that is creating strife is “…earthly, sensual (and) demonic. Note that this is not “wisdom” at all, but a deceptive perversion of wisdom that comes from an evil intent. These are the devil’s schemes and resources… and they come from the kingdom of darkness.

Stay Free!

Jesus said “the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me” (Jn. 14:30).

Of course, we know Jesus was speaking here of His betrayal and excruciating death at the cross… but the principle is real and true! We must learn to keep our hearts free from all strife and offense, because it causes us to miss the will of God for our lives. The Apostle Paul said, “avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth” (2 Tim. 2:23-25). If our hearts stay free of strife and offense, the door stays closed to the Devil so he cannot disrupt our relationships. We need to know that when we allow a spirit of strife to operate inside ourselves, our home, business or church; it won’t be too long until people who used to love each other are standing in opposition to each other. That is the way the spirit of strife operates, and that is the fruit it produces. In the end it produces death to relationships and bitterness beyond the walls of our fellowships.

What To Do:

So the key question is – “What are we willing to do?” Because it takes a certain amount of initiative and boldness to be a peace maker! Just read this difficult admonition:

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple”. (Rom. 16:17-18)

I want to point out that Paul says, these are people with smooth words and flattering speech! His command is to mark them… to avoid them and to give no opportunity for them to have a voice in the congregation. Is there hope for restoration? Perhaps, but not without true discipline and integrity among our leadership. Only then, will we see the spirit of strife removed from our fellowships.

An offense is a demonic trap – Be careful that you do not fall into it!

The Spirit of Strife

What does winning mean?

Check Mate

The Devil has always tried to use people to bring division into the Church. There is nothing new about this problem. In fact, James addresses the issues of wrong attitudes and a “spirit of strife” in James 3:14. From the earliest inception of the New Testament Church, we hear the Apostle Paul warn about those wolves who would be raised up even among the flock (Acts 20:28-31).

Paul says, “savage wolves will come in among you”.

 Church leaders have always had to correct people who acted under the deceiving grip of this “spirit”… its demonic in nature and destructive beyond measure. In respect to people being used by the Devil to bring division, James 3:14 says, “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the Truth.” The phrase “bitter envying” is very important. It is the Greek word zelos, which refers to a fierce desire to promote your own idea to the exclusion of others. The word “strife”- eritheia which in the Greek means rivalry or ambition, can be translated as a party spirit or a divisive spirit. In verse 15 we see James expound upon the motivation for such a divisive heart toward leadership as he tells us that the wisdom that is creating strife is “…earthly, sensual (and) demonic”.

 We must learn to keep our hearts free from all strife and offense.

 If our hearts stay free of strife and offense, the door stays closed to the Devil so he cannot disrupt our relationships. We need to know that when we allow a spirit of strife to operate inside ourselves, our home, business or church; it won’t be too long until people who used to love each other are standing in opposition to each other. That is the way the spirit of strife operates, and that is the fruit it produces.

 So what are we willing to do… (Rom 16:17-18) “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not  serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple”. I want to point out that Paul says these are people with smooth words and flattering speech; yet his command is to mark them… to avoid them and to give no opportunity for them to have a voice in the congregation.

 Its a real problem and we have to ask ourselves if we are willing to obey Scriptural principles.

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