What stirs up strife, hatred, anger, wrath, and pride? (Prov. 10:12, 15:18, 28:25, 29:22, James 4:1-2, 4)
GOD: THE LAWMAKER AND LAW ENFORCER
God has provided an orderly world. (Gen. 1:14, Eccl. 1:4-7, 3:11, Job 38:31-33, Isa. 40:12). His creation has been designed and executed perfectly—displaying His power, holiness, and righteousness (Ps. 18:30, Ps. 19:7, Rom. 1:19-20). “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). The universe obeys certain laws. These laws (ordinances of heaven and earth, Jer. 33:25) are precise and many of them are mathematical in nature (laws of physics, i.e. law of gravity…). Natural laws are hierarchical in nature. Secondary laws of nature are based on primary laws of nature, which have to be just right in order for our universe to be possible. Laws are nothing in themselves. In all the works of God we find not only what we call “Law” and a “Law maker”, but we also discover a “Law enforcer”. The most fundamental laws of nature exist only because God wills them to. He upholds and sustains them in the universe He’s created (Col. 1:17, Heb. 1:2-3). God created man and woman in His own image to have dominion over all the living creatures that He had created. God also allowed man and woman to have free will.
INSURRECTION IN THE GARDEN
Anarchist: a person who rebels against any authority, established order, or ruling power.
God placed man and woman in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it (Gen. 1:26-28). He had commanded them of which tree not to eat of, and told them what would happen if they did (Gen. 2:15-17). We’re not told how or when the anarchist got into the garden, but we do know a bit about his background. He had previously challenged and revolted against God’s authority long before he ‘slithered’ into Eden. He is known by different names: Lucifer, the Devil, Satan, and the great Dragon (Rev. 12:9). His past position was as God’s anointed cherub, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. His performance was first-rate in the role God placed him in from the day he was created until iniquity (perversity) was found in him. His heart grew prideful due to his beauty and so his wisdom became corrupted. Lucifer wasn’t content with the high ranking post that God had given him. He wanted to be like God, the Most High. Instead God removed him from his position and cast him to the ground (and the angels that followed him) (Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:13-18, Rev. 12:9).
We find him next persuading Eve in the garden to question what God had said. It didn’t take long to deceive her into breaking God’s command and convincing Adam to as well (Gen. 3:1-6). They were reprimanded and given the penalty for their disobedience and cast out of the garden. The chaos and calamities that befall mankind are a direct consequence of Adam and Eve’s rebellion from divine law and affect not only mankind but all of creation (Gen. 3:16-19, 23-24, Rom. 5:12, 8:20-22).
KNOW JESUS. KNOW PEACE.
There is one Lawgiver, Who is able to save and to destroy (James 4:12).
The great pronouncement and prophecy in Genesis 3:15 that God gave to the serpent provided mankind with a glimmer of hope, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” See also 1 John 3:8. God, in His superior wisdom and foreknowledge had a plan already in motion. Due to His enormous mercy, He would send in an army of One Who would pay the ultimate price so that mankind could have access to eternal life as well as a new way to live in peace (in the midst of a fallen, chaotic world) (Rom. 5:12, 19, 2 Cor. 5:21, Gal. 1:4, Eph. 1:7, 2:8-9, Col. 1:4).
THE UNSEEN WAR
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war… Friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:1-2, 4).
Even though the Christian’s eternal position in Christ is secure today, in order to walk in victory through the dark times on earth, a Christian must stay ‘hid in Christ’ where the enemy will have no power to tempt his flesh (Col. 3:3, Rom. 13:12, Eph. 6:10-13, 4:23-24). It’s an imperative to stay in God’s Word in order to wield His spiritual sword with discernment effectively (and not succumb to the wiles of the devil) (Heb. 4:12, 1 Cor. 2:12-14, 2 Cor. 2:11, Eph. 6:11, 17).
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 10:3).
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood…” (Eph. 6:12).
The truth is we war against spiritual, unseen entities that are principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of the age; spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places (Eph. 6:11). As tempting as it is today to get caught up in worldly debates, remember that a Christian’s true citizenship is in heaven, not on earth (1 John 5:19, Phil. 3:20, Col. 3:1-2). Satan is an adversary, who waits around like a lion seeking who he can devour (1 Pet. 5:8). He’s a liar and deception is his mode of operating (John 8:44, Gen. 3:13, 2 Cor. 11:3, 14, 1 Tim. 2:14, Rev. 20:10). His realm is in the corrupt fleshly nature, which all (believer or not) carry. That’s why for the believer (who has another option) is told to put off the old nature and put on the new. The old is the area that Satan has an opportunity to agitate and rile up emotions that generate envy, self-seeking, and prideful hearts. This often leads to anger, strife, and hatred, causing one to war against another. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there (Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 4:22-27, 5:11, 2:2, Rom. 6:6, James 3:14-16).
NO JESUS. NO PEACE.
God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Cor. 14:33). God cannot lie, it’s not in His nature (Titus 1:2, Num. 23:19). His wisdom is from above and is peaceful, gentle, full of mercy, without partiality and without hypocrisy (James 3:17-18). God’s Spirit bears fruit (Gal. 5:22-23, Eph. 5:9). “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
We shouldn’t turn our backs when injustices arise and we can be righteously angry. Our anger shouldn’t lead us to sin as this gives the devil an opportunity (Eph. 4:26-27). The way we conduct ourselves does matter. Our actions should be in love, as children of light, and with wisdom—redeeming the time because the days are evil (Eph. 5:2, 8, 15-16).
Martin Luther King Jr., in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech said this, “…In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high place of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”
STAY THE COURSE
As the Bible tells us, the good guys win in the end (Rev. 20:10, 21:4, 22:3, 1 Cor. 15:26, 28, 1 John 3:8, 5:4-5). Be strong in God’s grace. It is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9, 2 Tim. 2:1). Don’t get caught up in the world’s ways and teachings that are ever changing, remembering they generate from the present ruler of the power of the air and demons (1 Tim. 4:1, 2 Tim. 2:4, Eph. 4:14). Speak the truth in love and preach God’s truth steadfastly and patiently (Eph. 4:15, 2 Tim. 4:2). Stay the course by fighting the good fight, keeping the faith and finishing the race (2 Tim. 4:7).