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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Keep Your Heart Free





 


But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.

— James 3:14

 

The enemy always tries to divide people. This problem is nothing new. From the beginning of the New Testament church, there have been those who have allowed the enemy to use them to bring strife and division. 

James addresses the issues of wrong attitudes and a spirit of strife in James 3:14: “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.” 

The phrase “bitter envy” in James 3:14 is translated from the Greek word “zelos” and refers to a zealous ardor to promote your own idea to the point you defeat another’s idea. The Greek word “eritheia,” translated as “strife” in the KJV and “self-seeking” in the NKJV, refers to competition and ambition. It can also be interpreted as a divisive spirit. 

If someone is full of selfish ambition, if he has the zeal to promote his own idea to the point he defeats another’s idea, his actions to promote his idea will create division in his relationships. 

James goes on to say in James 3:15 that this kind of wisdom “does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.”

 

The word “earthly” in Greek is the word “epigeios.” It describes something coming from an earthly source, not a heavenly one. The Greek word for “sensual” is “psuchikos,” and relates to the soul. James 3:15 calls this earthly wisdom demonic. This verse portrays someone whose mind or emotions have come under demonic influence. 

 

The enemy is cunning. You can fall into his trap and not even realize it. You can become so convinced that what you believe is right that no one else can possibly be right. If something minor becomes a significant issue, always stop and reconsider what you think and feel. The devil could be working in your mind, dividing you from the people you need and love.

 

The enemy always comes to destroy relationships and divide the body of Christ. Do you want to let him erect a wall between you and someone else over an issue that might not even exist in a few months? Is that problem so severe that you would break a relationship? Could the enemy be enlarging this issue in your mind, and you’re not seeing it clearly?

Through many long years, I have had to learn to keep my heart free from strife and offense. It hasn’t always been easy. The flesh doesn’t like it. But it is my decision to allow the Holy Spirit to have control and deny the enemy’s control. The enemy has tried to stir me up by appealing to my emotions. He has tried to make me aware of hurtful actions and the words and attitudes of people who bring pain. Many years ago, I allowed something to upset me and divide me from others. Now, I choose never to go to that place again. It is only the grace of Jesus that can accomplish this choice. I cannot live without His grace in every moment of every day. I need more of His grace to live an abundant and not a self-seeking life. 

If we can keep our hearts free of easily offended pride and strife, the door stays closed to the devil so he cannot disrupt our relationships. When you allow a spirit of strife to work inside you, your relationships, or your church before too long, people who used to love each other will be torn apart. This is how the spirit of strife operates and the destruction it produces.

Unless you give the devil permission, he cannot work in your mind and manipulate your feelings. Guard your heart from strife and a spirit of offense. Close your mind to the devil so he cannot disrupt your relationships and life. If you feel offended or have the smallest desire to be upset with someone, go immediately to the Lord and allow Him to help you see things from a clearer perspective. Let the Holy Spirit remove the sting of the disagreement and remind you how much you love that other person. Take time with God, and let Him search your heart and show you the truth. 

 

*******

 

 Lord, I never want to cause strife. Please help me keep my heart free of strife and my mind clear of criticism so I can have relationships that are pleasing to you. I want to bless others. I never want to confuse or hurt anyone. I don’t ever want to do anything to disrupt your freedom to flow in my life. I truly desire your love to flow freely through me and bring peace where strife once ruled. I choose to extend the grace you freely give, Lord Jesus. Help me keep my heart free. 

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

 

www.lynnlacher.com/2024/06/keep-your-heart-free.html

 

 

 

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