Dec. 27, 2016

The churning of anger produces strife

Proverbs 30:32-33 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

If you have been foolish in exalting yourself
Or if you have plotted evil, put your hand on your mouth.
33 For the churning of milk produces butter,
And pressing the nose brings forth blood;
So the churning of anger produces strife.


The churning of anger produces strife. We see, in our culture and society, many individuals and even many groups who seem to thrive in churning anger and producing strife. There are many, I’m sure we all know some, who it seems are not content unless they are at odds with someone. They seem to thrive on discord and drama. Again we see it in individuals, but also on a larger scale with powerful organizations sowing seeds of discontent, churning anger and causing division, bitterness and strife, pitting people against others, dividing them according to race, gender, social standing or any number of things. There is an intentional discernible effort made by media and political groups to divide rather than unite people. The stories that fit the agenda of division and discord, the stories which best churn anger through our society are the stories which are headlined and parroted by the bulk of media.     (I appologize for the problem with the font in the next 2 paragraphs. It would not copy properly from word)

We need to understand that what is behind this churning of anger, this causing of division, turning people against each other is more than a political strategy, though it may be that. It is more than an ideological effort to promote one belief over another. In truth what is behind this churning of anger, what is behind this effort to produce strife and division is far more ominous and powerful than any individual or human entity. This strife is a powerful spiritual force that is present throughout the world and always has been. For believers, followers of Christ it is vital that we recognize the true source of this strife and contention, so that we battle against it appropriately. In Ephesians 6:10-13, Paul says:    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.    The spirit of strife is a world force and its purpose is to cause division between people.

We need to recognize that it is not the people we should battle. In truth we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Rather than listening to the storyline being promoted through the media we should focus on the truth, the only absolute truth God’s word and His will. Galatians 5:19-21 says:   Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.   We, as believers need to guard against allowing our zeal against immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, drunkenness and carousing to actually be part of creating and promoting enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions and envying. The list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God includes all of them. Doing the wrong things for the right reasons has been a problem for the church throughout history, often becoming a stumbling block to the world, preventing them from seeing the true love, grace and righteousness of God.

What though can we possibly do against this world power of darkness and strife which has existed throughout history?   Ephesians 6:14-18 says:     Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and havingput on the breastplate of righteousness,  and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit.        The first thing we are to do is to gird ourselves in truth. There is a new label being put on some of the agencies which divest information to the world. Some sources are being called “fake news.” The reality though, unfortunately is that most if not all media and news sources could be labeled “fake news.” There is much less telling of facts than there is spinning of facts to promote or support an agenda in most stories reported or written today. Even trying to hear both the liberal and conservative take on a matter does not guarantee that we know the truth. We must seek to hear and know God’s perspective, His truth of every matter. We are to put on the breastplate of righteousness. We cannot see and know truth if we ourselves are living in unrighteousness. We cannot know God’s truth and His perspective if we are separated from Him by the sin we choose to live in. It is not though our own righteousness, we must put on righteousness. It is the righteousness of Christ, provided through the cross which is our lens to seeing God’s perspective. We walk with our feet wearing the gospel of peace. We cannot overcome anger and division with anger and division, but only with peace. Romans 12:21 says:   Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.      We are also to stand behind our faith. We are to protect our thoughts and our minds, covering our heads with the salvation we have in Christ. When we are confident in our salvation, we have no need to fear the words or actions of others. We can say, as the psalmist says in Psalm 118:6: The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?  

Above and beyond all else though, recognizing that anger and strife is rooted in a spiritual darkness, we must battle it in and through the Spirit, not in our flesh. We are to strike only with the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. Isaiah 55:11 says:  So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.      God’s word, even if it is quoted out of context, will accomplish what He desires. It may not accomplish the purpose or agenda of the one misquoting it, but God’s word will accomplish His will. Finally we are also to pray at all times in the Spirit. Even in prayer, when we pray according to our own perception, we pray our own will. We pray then asking God to do it the way we see. When we pray our will, according to our perspective, we may actually be praying contrary to the will of God. Is it no wonder then that often our prayers seem to be unanswered?  Jesus taught us to pray:   Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Heavenly Father, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. This is my prayer, that both in and through my life Your will would be done. Thank You for the cross of Christ and for His righteousness which has been given to me. Thank You for giving me the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit. I pray that I would be one who would stand against the spirit of strife, division and anger in the world. Help me to do the right things, the right way, according to Your will. In the name of Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, I pray.   Amen