For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. KJV
The Bible teaches that strife is dangerous and should be avoided. The above passage in James says that envy and strife lead to confusion and evil. That goes against what you might hear in the natural world. If there is strife in your family or at work, most people would just chalk it up as a natural unavoidable part of life. Most consider harsh words and actions routine. But what is God’s standard? What does He say about strife?
Proverbs 16:28 “A perverse man stirs up strife.”
Proverbs 29:22 “A man of wrath stirs up strife”
Let’s look at a Biblical example for dealing with strife. In Genesis 13:8 Abram and Lot were dwelling in the same area, sharing the same grazing land for their increasing herds. The land was not able to support both Abram’s and Lot’s flocks, herds and tents. So there was conflict between their herdsmen. Abram said to his nephew Lot, “Let there be no strife.” Furthermore, Abram tells Lot, that they should separate. He gives Lot the first choice of land and takes the leftovers. Abram knowingly gives the advantage to Lot.
Remember, Abram is Lot’s respectable elder. Lot does not defer to his uncle but selfishly chooses the better, well watered area of the Jordan valley. Lot’s choice leaves Abram to settle in the less prosperous land of Canaan.
I believe the root of Abram’s actions toward Lot were due to the following:
1) He trusted God would take care of him and his household. Abram was convinced that God had his back and would protect and bless him no matter what. That attitude empowered him to give Lot the advantage without fear and self preservation. Verse 14 says that God spoke to Abram promising to bless him in the land of Canaan. And that is exactly what happened. His flocks and herds continued to increase and the Bible says Abram was extremely rich. It does not say that about Lot. Remember, the blessing and favor of God is better than any earthly advantage. God can make you prosper no matter how bad the circumstances may appear.
2) He knew the dangers of strife and determined to be a peacemaker. Abram initiated peace talks with Lot even though he could have just evicted Lot from the land. After all, Lot was sharing the land with Abram at Abram’s invitation. Years before Abram brought Lot with him from their homeland. Abram treated Lot with dignity and equality.
The strong character that Abram displayed is not common. What kind of man risks is wealth and livelihood in the name of peace? According to scripture only a man of great honor makes such an unselfish choice.
Proverbs 20:3 “It is an honor for a man to cease from strife.”
Next time you encounter strife choose peace. Decide to trust God with the outcome. Willingly give others the advantage. Such actions are nothing short of operating in the supernatural. Mere unchanged men and women don’t have the power to operate in such strength.