Have you ever known someone who thrived on strife?
I have. Such people use anger and negative emotions to get the job done. No matter the task, whether it's getting the kids to obey or completing the yard work, they use strife and anger to motivate. Regardless of what they are involved in, they depend on anger and negative energy to stimulate themselves and those around them.
God's Word addresses the dangers of living in strife and discord. Proverbs 16:28 in The Amplified Bible says, "A perverse man sows strife." In the New Testament we read, "Wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices" (James 3:16, Amplified Bible).
The home can be a hotbed of strife and contention. We may spend much of the day putting our best foot forward in the workplace and at school. But the minute we enter the front door of our house we let our guard down and allow our selfish nature to take over, leaving a trail of destructive words and actions in our wake.
There is a better way.
Can you imagine living a life free from disharmony and conflict? Abram made that choice. We can aim to live free from strife in our families just as Abram did.
Abram and his nephew, Lot, were dwelling in the same region. You may remember that God had promised to bless Abram and his family and make him a blessing, which is exactly what happened. Genesis 13:2 says that Abram was extremely rich. He was living out the blessing that God had promised him. Abram was not only blessed, but also a blessing to Lot. We see in 13:6-7 that both their herds had increased so that there was not enough fodder for their cattle.
Scripture tells us that conflict developed between the herdsmen of Lot and Abram. "So Abram said to Lot, Let there be no strife, I beg of you, between you and me, and between your herdsmen and my herdsmen; for we are relatives" (13:8, Amplified Bible). Abram initiated peace. He refused to allow friction to continue. Abram's pursuit of peace is a testimony to his righteousness. Isaiah 32:17 says, "The effect of righteousness shall be peace [internal and external]" (Amplified Bible).
Abram suggested that he and Lot separate. Then he went a step further and allowed Lot to choose where he wanted to settle. Lot chose the greener, more fruitful land and Abram took what was left. Though Abram was a person of greater prominence and honor, he humbled himself by showing preference to Lot. If we are going to live in harmony, it will require humility and unselfishness. Of course we know the rest of the story. Though Abram settled in the less appealing area of Canaan, he was still greatly blessed.
When God's favor is upon you, circumstances don't really matter. You'll still be blessed. And the key way to be blessed in all areas of life is to walk in love. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God and love your neighbor. Daily walking in love is the only way to live a peace-filled life free of strife.
Someone once said the wife determines the atmosphere of the home. Some time ago I made a decision to daily walk in love. Though it seemed to be a lofty goal, I knew that Jesus would not have commanded something that was impossible. I also recognized that a command is not optional. I was determined to grow in love.
I have found God's Word to be the source of everything.
If my need is financial, or if I need guidance in another area, I find a Scripture passage that applies to my need and I read it often. I write it on an index card and carry it with me throughout the day. I not only meditate on the passage, but also say it out loud and verbally agree to do what it says. In doing so I have found my faith grows and my answer follows.
To grow in love, I meditated on 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, and other Scripture passages on love that I found. No overnight change occurred, but as God's Word grew inside I began to see things change on the outside. There was more peace and less strife in our home and in my marriage. I felt a greater sense of power and peace.
What a wonderful thing to know that God wants nothing less than a life of peace and joy for His children and that it is available to every believer.
By Gwen Miller