WE'RE FIGHTING FOR THE FAMILY
Do Whatever Is necessary To Keep Envy & Strife Out of Your Life!
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.—
The devil knows that envy and strife destroy relationships and long-term
friendships. He is aware that if he can create envy and strife between you
and the ones you love, he can ruin those special relationships that God
intended to be a blessing in your life. Do you have any relationships in your
life right now that are under this kind of demonic assault?
The devil doesn’t just target friendships with this type of assault. He also
knows how to get in between you and your church family, a ministry you
love and support, or even the organization or place of business where you
work. The enemy doesn’t care whom he divides — he simply wants to
divide! Since envy and strife are some of the tools he uses to do this, it is
crucial that you understand how to recognize envy and strife and how to
stand against them!
In James 3:16, the Bible says, “For where envying and strife is, there is
confusion and every evil work.” I want you to notice the word “envy” in this
verse. It is taken from the Greek word zelos, and it denotes a fierce desire
to promote one’s own ideas and convictions to the exclusion of everyone
else. This word zelos is where we get the word zealot, which describes a
person who is so fixated, obsessed, and fanatical about his own cause that
others perceive him as an extremist on the threshold of becoming militant.
In the case of James 3:16, this word presents a picture of a believer who is
so obsessed, gripped, and preoccupied with his own view of things that he
can’t see or hear the view of anyone else. In fact, his militant perspective
has made him lopsided in his thinking. He never takes a softer line but
holds out until all the other parties admit defeat and agree with his point of
Therefore, the word “envy” in James 3:16 could be translated this
“For where there is a fierce desire to promote one’s own ideas and
convictions to the elimination of everyone else.…”
If this kind of attitude continues, it will naturally lead to the next step in this
horrible sequence of events. This is where strife comes into the picture!
Notice that James goes on to say, “For where envying and strife is….”
The word “strife” is taken from the Greek word eritheia. It was used by the
ancient Greeks to stand for a political party. This Greek word is often
translated as a party spirit because of its linkage to political systems and
political parties. Therefore, in order for us to understand why James used
this word, we need to stop and think about the way political parties are
formed and how they function.
Political parties are formed by a group of people who have similar values
and views. After the party is formed, the participants develop a unified
agenda; once the agenda is decided on, they create a platform. From that
platform, the people begin to push their agenda and ideas, fighting fiercely
to see that their party’s platform is accepted and eventually put in the
position of ruling and calling the shots.
In the same way, some Christians become so clouded by their ambition to
see their own views adopted that they have no tolerance for anyone who
sees things differently than they do. These people usually gravitate to other
believers who hold similar views.
Once these “like-minded” Christians find each other, they naturally begin to
take sides, forming a kind of allegiance. Then they begin to form agendas
and develop plans to see their views pushed, promoted, and accepted. As
a result, people who once stood shoulder to shoulder often end up standing
on different sides of a fight with their relationships ruined and filled with
When envy and strife have made it this far, the next step in this sequence
of events becomes inevitable. James 3:16 continues, “For where envying
and strife is, there is confusion….”
The word “confusion” is taken from the word akatastasia. It was used in
New Testament times to describe civil disobedience, disorder, and anarchy
in a city, state, or government. By using this word, James explicitly tells us
that when situations of strife and discord are allowed to persist, an
atmosphere of anarchy sets in and begins to destroy the relationships once
loved and cherished. Rational thinking is replaced by raw emotions, and
people end up getting hurt.
James wants to make sure we understand what this kind of conduct
eventually produces if this behavior isn’t stopped. He goes on to say, “For
where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
The word “evil” is from the word phaulos, describing something that is
terribly bad or exceedingly vile. We get the word “foul” from this Greek
word. James is saying that where envy and strife are permitted to operate,
thus producing confusion and anarchy in relationships, they ultimately yield
a foul-smelling situation!
These various Greek words in James 3:16 convey this idea:
“For where there is a fierce desire to promote one’s own ideas and
convictions to the exclusion of everyone else’s, it produces divisions
so great that people end up taking sides and forming differing parties
with conflicting agendas. This is a terrible event, because it creates
great unrest among people who should be united. Ultimately, the
whole situation becomes a stinking mess!”
But understand this: You can help stop this from happening by choosing to
consider other people’s opinions to be just as important as your own!
Instead of pushing your own agenda, why not stop and listen to what others
have to say? They may have something powerful to contribute, but if you
can’t hear them, you’ll never benefit from their perspective.
You don’t have to yield to envy and strife! When the opportunity for strife
arises, you can beat Satan at his own game by choosing to make room for
the ideas, thoughts, and opinions of others. Even if you don’t agree with
what they say, at least you can demonstrate that you value their right to
have a differing opinion. By maintaining an attitude of staying on the same
side with your fellow believers, you can put the devil on the run and keep
your relationships alive, healthy, and long-lasting!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I ask You to forgive me for the times I have allowed strife to get into
my heart. Also, please forgive me for those occasions when I have been
the origin of strife and fighting. Help me grow in discernment so I can
quickly recognize when the devil is trying to create division. Show me how
to be a peacekeeper and a source of harmony rather than a player in the
midst of others’ wrong attitudes.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I do not yield to envy and strife! When the opportunity for
strife arises, I beat Satan at his own game by choosing to respectfully make
room for the ideas, thoughts, and opinions of others. Even if I don’t agree
with what they say, I let them know that I value their right to have a differing
opinion. I maintain an attitude of staying on the same side with my fellow
believers; therefore, I put the devil on the run and keep him OUT of my
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Do your coworkers, friends, and family members find you open-hearted
to their suggestions, or do they find it difficult to express themselves
honestly in front of you?
2. When the opportunity for strife arises, what can you do to circumvent it
and promote peace?
3. Can you recall moments when you were so sure you were right, only to
discover that someone else’s idea was really much better than yours?