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.