For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work (James 3:16).
In order to grow strong in the Lord, we need to stick together. It’s true. We are better and stronger when we’re part of a team—a body of believers. Who would dream of fighting a war alone? Or playing against an entire basketball team by ourselves?
I heard a statistic recently that sobered me. Guess why most missionaries leave the field? Not because of living conditions or less creature comforts; not fear of threats like ebola or isis; not rejection or even attacks from the locals; not family issues. The reason most missionaries leave the mission field is because of conflict with other missionaries.
Internal strife is destructive—perhaps the most painful type of conflict. Those who know us best have the power to wound us most deeply. Just ask anyone who has experienced divorce.
This kind of stealth attack among Christians happens far too often. Probably because the enemy knows it works. We’re unaware of his tactics and therefore don’t properly guard our unity.
The devil is an expert at creating division. After all, it’s his calling card. The Greek word translated “devil” is diabalos, and means “divider.” So dividing relationships is not only his name—it’s his job description. It has been his tactic from the beginning. Remember how he tempted the angels. A full third of them rebelled against God and were thrown out of heaven.
At its root, division is animated by evil spirits. Satan and his minions are dividers and accusers of the believers (Revelation 12:10). It’s what they know and love. Like any opponent, the devil plays to our weakness. He exploits our natural pride, selfish ambition, envy, and competitiveness (James 3:13-16 ).
So if we want to grow in strong in the Lord, we must fiercely guard the love and unity that hold us together. We need to be aware. Watchful. Alert to the devil’s strategy. When destructive thoughts creep in—thoughts that tempt us to think the worst or speak poorly of another believer—we need to pause. Recognize their source. Repent. It’s time to see each other as comrades rather than competitors in our fierce battle with the forces of darkness.