For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. James 3:16
This morning, I am praying for a special group of grieving friends. Their grief is expressed in groaning, tears, sleepless nights, overeating, trying to outrun their sorrow. I am describing the grief of living in perpetual conflict. I speak to my friend whose rebellious child responds with disrespect, anger, and wild false accusation. I speak to my friend who hates herself for past regrets, and she does not hear me when I ask her to let go of hopes for a better yesterday, though her striving is destroying her body and soul. I speak to insecure women whose resentment of their husbands fill their homes with cutting looks, and responses of disgust. They are drained of energy, and have resigned themselves to believe that what is now will always be.
Is there any hope for those who are swallowed up in strife? I am praying with a gift of faith these days that I don’t understand, and because of God’s gift I answer this painful question with an unmitigating YES. I want for you God’s great gift of peace, and I will contend in prayer for this blessing until there is a breakthrough! I am praying beyond my knowledge. I am believing that God’s promise is true, and that it is His desire to make the promise true in your life, and in mine.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2
I want to offer a few thoughts about strife, and then call on you to pray for a miraculous deliverance—because God has the power to liberate you from this prison. James declares that envying and strife have a root of confusion and evil. Abhor evil, my friend. Hate the strife with all your soul. It is Satan’s tool of destruction, and as you hate evil more, you will love God more. “Depart from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14). Ask God for wisdom to put peace into practice.
God reminded me in prayer this morning of the ROPE principle. I saw this many years ago, and I tied a knot in the end and held on as strife threatened to overwhelm me. Love…
Is not Rude
Seeks not her Own
Not easily Provoked
Thinks no Evil
You recognize these phrases from I Corinthians 13:5. I looked in the mirror and saw in my misery that I was rude and selfish, taking offense and escalating conflict, believing the worst of the one I claimed to love. I was using the ROPE principle to place a noose around my neck instead of grabbing the lifeline God was showing me to escape the deep waters of conflict. I had to stop my cutting words. I had to stop making the misery all about me. I had to stop taking offense at every word. I had to believe the best, and deny the war in my mind that wrongly judged his actions.
I have lived in a household of extreme strife. I begged God for mercy and relief. I needed Him to rescue me and those I loved. I walked alone, drowning with no one to pray for me in my weakness and despair. I found relief in these four simple phrases, and though the conflict did not magically disappear, I discovered a deeper knowing of God’s peace, and relationships greatly improved because of my actions. I could eat and sleep and take joy in God’s gifts of assurance and stillness. I am throwing you a ROPE today. But it is very different than before. Now I understand that while I hang on to the ROPE, God hears and answers my prayer. I say my meager yes to Him, and He comes to me with an ocean of hope. His desire for me is peace, and I know I am praying in His will as I pray, “deliver us from evil.” My heart longs, with His heart, to see you free from envy and strife. Let’s pray together until God breaks through!