Creflo Dollar - The Ten Sources of Strife
Father, we thank you for this another opportunity to minister to these your precious sheep. Thank you, Lord, that revelation knowledge will flow freely, uninterrupted and unhindered by any satanic or demonic force. And, Father, I pray that you will speak through my vocal cords and think through my mind. None of me and all of you. Holy Spirit, you are welcome to move in the lives of our precious members and friends and partners. And, Father, I thank you that whatever is wrong, you're making it right. You're sending every devil to flight tonight, and I thank you that all is well with those who are involved in this message tonight. And I pray a mark will be made that will never be erased. It's in Jesus' name we pray, and everybody said amen.
Well, praise the Lord. You know, last week I began to teach you about strife and how, you know, we've got to be careful because I've never seen in 60 years ever, ever, ever, ever this much strife that's going on, this much strife that's happening, this much anger. And people don't understand that when you operate in strife, you know what happens? You are captive by the devil. When you operate in strife, you know what happens? You give Satan the exact platform that he needs to just do anything he wants to do in your life. It's a trap. In fact, let me say it like this. Strife is a trap, and it's not God's will for you to be caught up in that trap. And, you know, it's getting deeper and deeper right now. It's the spirit of strife. It is not fighting flesh and blood; it's fighting principalities, powers, wicked spirits in heavenly places.
And so I want to continue to deal with this issue of strife, and I pray that somehow by way of the Holy Spirit can impart some things into you to help you to not walk in strife, to help you to begin to recognize it and not yield to it. Well, you can sense strife in a room because strife put your life on pause and, you know, nothing flows. Strife put your life on pause and nothing flows. I want you to hear that. Hear that. Strife put your life on pause and nothing flows. You know, if I had to pick out a culprit, there would be two culprits of strife. Listen to this. One, jealousy; and the other one, greed. Look at Proverbs chapter 28, verse 25 and let's examine these two culprits of strife. One, jealousy; and one, greed. Verse 25 says, "He that is of a proud heart, a proud heart stirreth up strife, but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat".
Now, a person that has a proud heart also has an exaggerated estimation of his self-importance. And I mean, it's just arrogance is what it is. And so if you truly trust God, I can tell you that there's no need for you to ever be jealous of anybody; if you really trust God. If you really trust God, jealousy won't be a problem that you have. Because you trust God, there's no need to be jealous. Now, if you believe God loves you and has a plan for your life and if you believe that his timing is always right, there is no need to envy a single person. This is all about your relationship with God that keeps you out of jealousy. This is all about your relationship with God and your trust in God that keeps you out of envy. And so it's important that you understand that that type of heart is going to stir up strife; but you put your trust in the Lord, then you will be made fat.
Look at this in the New Living Translation, the same verse of Scripture. You trust in the Lord, then you'll not have to worry about jealousy and you won't have to worry about envy. He says in verse 25, "Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lord leads to prosperity". Greed causes fighting; trusting in the Lord leads to prosperity. And so let's trust in the Lord so we won't have to deal with jealousy, envy, or greed. Now secondly here, this area of greed, you know, the culprit of jealousy and then the area of greed.
People who are greedy and never satisfied with what they have and who always want more, they stir up strife, and they do it for a couple of reasons. I mean, people who are greedy and they're not satisfied where they are, they don't know about being content, they're always wanting more and more, this will stir strife up. And here's the two reasons it will. Number one, this thing of, "I want this, I want that". Okay? Trying to achieve things, you know, in your own power instead of God's will, then that'll stir up strife. Trying to achieve things in your own power instead of God's will, that's going to stir up strife. And I'll tell you one thing, boy. When you're greedy, you're going to try to achieve a lot of things within your own ability, your own power and, you know, instead of doing it God's way. It's going to stir strife up.
Let's look at James chapter 4, verses 1 through 3. It has a lot of interesting things there. And so a jealous person, you know, that person is going to stir strife up because he doesn't trust God. An envious person, that'll stir strife up 'cause he doesn't trust God. But then a greedy person who, you know, is always trying to achieve things in his own power instead of God's will, that'll stir strife up.
Look at verse... I just thought about this Scripture. Verse 1 he says, "From whence come wars and fightings among you"? The question. "Come they not hence even of your lust," or your appetite for something? That's what a greedy person has. He has an intense desire to want something so bad. And the question he's asking here, where did the wars and fightings come from? He say they come from your lust that war in your members. Verse 2 he says, "You lust and you have not. You kill and desire to have and cannot obtain. You fight war, yet you have not because you ask not". Verse 3, and he says, "You ask and receive not because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts".
This type of greed, wanting to get something so bad that in your own ability trying to get it instead of trusting God, this is going to stir strife up. Remember the question was, where does war and fighting come from? He says in your attempt to try to fulfill your own desires through your own ability instead of being concerned about God's way and God's Word for your life. And then secondly, you know, this reason why people are greedy and never satisfied and they don't trust God, it's this idea of, "If I only had, I'd be happy. If I only had this, then I'll be happy. You know, if I only had a job that paid me $100,000 a year, I'd be happy. Oh, if I only had this kind of car, I would be happy". But Psalms 37 and 4, if you'll look at Psalms 37 and 4, he says something here. Because I want you to know a lot of people who said that they were not happy. They just didn't get there. He said, "Delight thyself also," who? In the Lord and he'll give you what? The desires of your heart.
Now I understand this goes a little deeper than dealing with the things that you want, if you only had. He basically says here that if you will begin to enter into a place where you're worshiping God and you trust God, that he will actually give you the right kind of desire. He'll give you the right kind of desire. You won't be walking in the wrong kind of a desire; you will have the right kind of desire if you'll delight yourself in the Lord and delight yourself in what God wants you to do. And so it's no longer, "If I only had, I'd be happy". I tell you what. God will change your desires and he'll give you a desire to do what pleases him, and that'll make you happy.
So there are a couple of ways that, you know, I thought about that you can use to get out of strife. Number one, consider who you spend your time with. That's a very practical something. Consider who you spend your time with. Because if you find that you're always in strife, eventually you got to evaluate, "Who am I spending my time with"? Consider who you're spending your time with. And then number two, guard your heart. Guard your heart. You see, you pick up what you spend time with and what you open your heart to. You pick up what you spend time with and what you open your heart to. And so you're going to have to guard your heart. So number one, you got to consider who you're spending your time with. If you really want to keep out of strife, "What am I hanging around? Who am I hanging around"? And then number two, I got to guard my heart so that I don't allow myself to pick up those things and open my heart to those things that will cause strife.
Now, again, let's go to this James chapter 3 and verse 16. Now, this is me dealing on a practical level of strife. Listen to me. We cannot allow our lives to be open to this. This is Satan's strategy: move you out of love by getting you into strife. "How can I move you out of love by getting you into strife? And what happens when I get you into strife"? Well, he says, "For where envying," or jealousy. He says, "For where envying and strife is, there is," what? "Confusion and every evil work". Isn't that amazing that envying and jealousy can be one of the culprits behind strife? And yet this Scripture says where you find envy and jealousy, you're going to find strife.
Where there's envy and strife, he says they're going to be confusion in every evil work. Well, Satan's interested in every evil work. So what does he do? He's got to make sure that you are captured by strife, which then enables him to do and perform every evil work. Now, just pause for a moment and just think about where we are today. We're living in a nation where we are surrounded by strife. There's strife in management and labor. There's strife between, you know, denominations. There's strife between political parties. And I tell you, when you allow a society to become baptized in strife, you also open that society up to confusion and every evil work.
And I'm telling you, we're there. We're there, but thank God we know that there's a way out. Thank God we now have a reason for the world to look at us, the church, as we fight against strife and we fight to stay out of strife. And I told you last week that, you know, there was a time going on in our lives where the blessings and things were really flowing, and I remember the first thing that came in my mind, the thing that the Spirit of God put on my heart was stay out of strife. And what it said to me was if there's anything that can stop this, block this, build a barrier between you and this is when you get in strife. Don't become, I like this, baptized in strife and open up an opportunity for the devil to come in and begin to reap havoc into your life.
Allowing strife to go unchecked or entering into it, it opens the door to every evil work. How many times in your life, I mean, you knew you had strife, but you didn't check yourself? You didn't check that strife at the door. Strife that you have within marriage, you didn't check it in the door and look what happened. Strife that was on the job and you didn't check it. Strife that was in the church and you didn't check it. Allowing strife to go unchecked or entering into it will open the door to every evil work. Look at Proverbs 17, verse 14 in the Amplified. Proverbs 17, verse 14 in the Amplified. Man, this is a serious issue here, and it's something that you and I can fight against by operating as real Christians and checking strife and just being determined, "I will not be captured by the spirit of strife". Verse 14 says, "The beginning of strife is as when water first trickles from a crack in a dam. Therefore stop the contention before it becomes worse and quarreling breaks out".
See, if you can deal with that crack, then you'll stop something, prevent something much larger from taking place in your life. And I think, unfortunately, sometimes we don't check strife, we don't deal with the crack, and then as a result of it that contention becomes bigger and bigger and now we got some big time things that are going on. You see, your peace is the greatest supplement that there is. Your peace is the greatest supplement that there is. And you have to understand that when you're around strife, that's the time when you call on your peace and you make your mind up that, you know, "If it cost me my peace, it's too expensive". And that's one really neat way to step out of strife that you realize, "This is costing me my peace. Let me step out of this thing". And so it's important that we look at this.
Now, go to Galatians chapter 5, verse 14 through 15. Galatians chapter 5:14 through 15. Today I'm going to talk to you about the source of strife. That's what I'm headed towards. The ten sources of strife so that you can at least be aware of it and kind of see it coming before it just kind of, you know, falls on you. Verse 14 and 15 says, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this; thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another". And so we know that God's best for our lives is that Jesus has loved us, giving us supernatural love so we can now love one another. But in our attempt to love one another, he says be careful that you're not going to be devoured by strife and these things that are going to try to come in to stop that love.
Satan is convinced that if he can get you into strife, he can get you out of love. He is convinced that if he can get you into strife, he can stop you from loving one another. And instead of being in love with one another, then, you know, you're confused and you're fighting one another, and then you're killing one another, and then you're just doing all kinds of evil to one another. You're being deceptive. You're destroying one another's life. You're doing all of these, you're oppressing one another. All of these things happen because he's convinced, "If I can get you out of strife, I get you into strife, I can get you out of love".
So, again, strife is the conflict, the antagonism. It's the quarrel, the struggle, it's the clash, it's the competition, it's the disagreement, it's the opposition, it's the fight. Are you still in a fight? Twenty years has come and gone. Are you still in a fight? Are you still in a quarrel? Well, if you are, you are messing around with the very things that will cause this to be strife. So let's look at the source of strife, the ten sources of strife, of what it's made up of. Let's look at the first source. Anger, anger. A couple of Scriptures here. Proverbs 29 and 22, and then Proverbs 29 and 11. Anger is a source of strife that we need to talk about and look at it. He says here, he says, "An angry man stirreth up strife". Look there. He says if you're angry, you will stir up strife. "And a furious man aboundeth in transgression".
Listen to me. That's why I said you're never going to be able to accomplish something with impact and influence out of anger, being mad all the time. You know, somebody said to me one time, "Yeah. But, Brother Dollar, God said be ye angry and sin not. Don't let the sun go down on your wrath. So there's nothing wrong with being angry". Well, Ephesians chapter 4:26 says that, but what is he talking about when he addresses this issue of be angry but sin not? You see, the godly use of anger - listen to me carefully. The godly use of anger is to be mad at the devil. The godly use of anger is to be mad at sickness. The godly use of anger is to be mad at disease. The godly use of anger is to be mad at poverty.
See, Jesus was mad at these money changers because they were deceiving people and he was mad at the sin that was taking place there. And this is what I want you to do. It's kind of like a righteous anger. It's like, "I'm mad at what Satan is doing. I'm mad at the strife. I'm mad at the racism. I'm mad at the sickness. I'm mad at the oppression". See, you can't just tolerate it. You've got to be fed up. You got to be, you know, in a sense sick and tired of being sick and tired, and that's what you find yourself mad at.
So when you rise up with godly anger and faith to exercise your authority, and a positive dynamic is going to be released when you do that. I think something very positive happens. I think something almost godly happens when you put your anger towards those things that are not of God. I think that's a motivation, that you're motivated to allow God to use you. You're motivated to use your authority because you're mad at injustice, you're mad at sickness, you're mad at disease, you're mad at poverty, you're mad at seeing people murdered. You're mad at those things.
So that's what he's saying. But let that anger move you into a righteous step. Let that anger move you into a righteous path. If the anger moves you into shooting somebody, killing somebody, burning up somebody's stuff, then maybe you need to evaluate, see what kind of anger that is. But if that anger moves you to a place where you're saying, "Enough is enough. We're going to keep the pressure on. We're going to get policy written. We're going to change the dynamic here. We're going to reconcile things. We're going to put the right people in. We're going to vote. We're going"... Oh, that's what he's talking about.
Let this kind of anger move you in to righteousness. Let this kind of anger be used to cause things to change. And then in Proverbs 29 and 11 he says, "A fool uttereth all his mind, but a wise man keepeth it till afterwards". So the anger here that he's talking about is not what was mentioned in Ephesians 4: Be angry, but sin not. This anger is stirring up strife. He says an angry man stirs up strife. I mean, he's just mad. He's in strife. And a furious man aboundeth in transgression. So anger here is one of those sources of strife. You can see here an angry man stirreth up strife. Excuse me.
Number two, to ridicule, ridicule. Look at Proverbs 22 and 10. To ridicule. That is one of the sources of strife. He says, "Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out". He says, "Yea, strife and reproach shall cease". So he says take the person who's behind the ridicule, get rid of him, and the contention and the strife will go out at the same time. Let's go, this goes back to be careful who you're hanging around.
Number three, hatred. Proverbs 10 and 12. Proverbs chapter 10 and verse 12. Hatred. You know, there's a lot of hate in our world today. I mean, just hate. And you're not going to be successful being motivated by hate. The Bible says hatred stirs up strife. And so if you find a person who's a racist, who's really hateful, then that's going to stir strife up. "But love covereth all sin". So now you can see what the enemy is going to do. He says, "I want to infiltrate and put hatred in people so I can take them from love because love covers up sin". He says, "I'm not trying to do that. I want people to hate".
And there are people in this world that hate and, you know, until Jesus comes there probably will always be somebody that's full of hate. But I tell you what. Love is more powerful than hate, and love will always defeat hate. So now as a Christian, you've got to decide: Am I going to be motivated by hate? Moved by hate? Or am I gonna be motivated by love and moved by love? Just because somebody has hate in their heart, don't let them inflict that same hate in your heart. Don't do that. You love no matter what it costs you. You love no matter what it costs you, because if you'll do that, you're gonna always win over hate. It's the greater force. Love is the greater force.
Number four, the fourth source of strife: gossip, check that out. For all of the gossipers. Check out this in the book of Proverbs, chapter 26 and verse 20. Here's what he says, he says, "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer," or gossiper, "the strife ceases". In other words, you know, the fire won't continue to burn if there's no more wood there. Neither will strife continue to go on if there's not a gossiper there or a talebearer that is there. And so be aware that when you are around gossip, that is the potential to start the fire going.
And then, if you look in Proverbs 16 and verse 28, he says, "A froward mouth soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends". So strife can come as a result of us, you know, being deceitful in our words and speaking the wrong words. Strife can come as a result of gossip. It comes as a result of having a talebearer in the midst. It comes as a result of a froward mouth, a gossiping, angry mouth, that's whispering things that separates friends, talking about stuff that you ought not to be talking about. The Bible says, you know, if you want to have a long life, if you love life and you wanna live it long, he says you've got to stay away from a deceitful mouth. You can't speak untruths, okay? And so this is an ingredient that will cause strife to come.
Number five: selfishness, selfishness. And I wanna use James chapter 4, verses 1 through 2. Selfishness can stir up strife. I mean, look at what we got so far, folks: anger stirs up strife, ridicule stirs up strife, hatred stirs up strife, gossip stirs up strife, and now selfishness. James 4:1 through 2, he says, "From whence come wars and fightings," we just read this, "among you? Come they not hence even of your lusts that war in your members"? Lust is selfish, man. And then he says, "You lust, you have not: you kill, you desire to have, you cannot obtain: you fight a war, yet you have not, because you ask not".
What's going on here with this? It takes a self-centered person to fit what we just read here in 1 and 2. Selfishness is going to stir strife up because when you're self-centered, you're going to end up hurting people because you don't consider their needs. You're so focused in on your own needs, you don't consider the needs of another person. And I can see strife just coming right there. You know, I'm sure each of us knows selfish people, but when people are so selfish that they never do anything to give you the advantage, they're always doing something to take advantage. That eventually will stir strife up. It'll cause hurt, it'll cause pain, but it will eventually stir strife up. So that's what I said the other week: you've got to get out of the center of the circle. You cannot be selfish and expect to not be visited by strife, amen.
Number six: the tongue stirs up strife. Proverbs 18:6, Proverbs 18:6. The tongue. The Bible says, "A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes". So your mouth used the wrong way - it stirs up strife. I know people that I don't know what it is about them, they open their mouth up, it's like they say stuff, it's like a stick of contention. It's like every time you open your mouth up, you're starting an argument. You're starting a fight or you're saying things the wrong way or you're saying things that are hurtful and mean to people. Taff said this years ago, she said, "Some people have a mouth that have no idea how to use it". Have no idea how to take advantage of it and do what needs to be done. But your tongue can be responsible for stirring up strife. So what's he simply saying here? Watch your mouth, watch your mouth.
Look at this. Number seven, and you know this. We've seen this all throughout the Scripture: pride. Pride will stir up strife. In fact, pride will cause contention, and contention will cause strife, which means ultimately strife comes from pride. Look what he says in verse 10. He says, "Only by pride cometh contention," only by pride. So if contention exists, he says the only way it is there is because of pride. Contention can only come because of pride.
Now, look at this in the NLT. Check this out in NLT, see what he says here... yeah, thanks. He says, "Pride leads to conflict". So pride is gonna take you to conflict. He says only by pride will you have contention, only by pride will you have conflict. Wow. "Those who take advice are wise". Now, again, let me give you the definition of pride versus humility. A humble man has a low estimate of his self-importance. A prideful man has a very exaggerated estimate of his self-importance. It moves into arrogance and he thinks he is more important than anybody in the room. He says this will cause conflict. This will cause strife.
Number eight: being quarrelsome. Do you know anybody that's quarrelsome? I mean, they just wanna pick a fight all the time. Every time you look around, they got something to quarrel about. Look at this, Proverbs chapter 26 and verse 21, Proverbs 26 and verse 21. Quarrelsome, or always fussing and arguing about stuff. Verse 21 says this. He says, "As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife". And when you see and meet somebody that's always quarreling, that always wanna pick a fight, always wanna debate about something. The Bible talks about, you know, be careful about avoiding a debate. He said, man, that guy is gonna be like kindling wood. He gon' start a fight. He gon' start a fight because, man, he loves arguing, or he loves picking a fight. Quarrelsome is an ingredient or a source of strife.
Number nine: disagreement, disagreement. Proverbs 20:3. Do you know that a disagreement, if not handled properly, can be responsible for a spark in strife in a person's life? He says in verse 3, "It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling". Every fool will be meddling. One of the things you've got to be careful of, and we talk about all the time at home, there is a way for you to disagree agreeably. In other words, I don't think that's really a bad thing. People get very upset when they find out somebody doesn't agree with them.
I don't think you need to shrink in a shell and start acting all weird. I think there's a way for you to disagree and be agreeable, disagree and still be friends, disagree and still love like you've always loved. And I think it's very important because the both of you now can walk away understanding that there's a disagreement, but you're still agreeable with one another. You agree to disagree. And you go home and think about it. You both may come back with something that's greater than what you had in the first place.
Sometimes disagreement puts you in a position to try to see things from a different perspective, to try to gain more information or understanding. It can also cause you to evaluate oneself and, at the end of it all, may be responsible for maturity or maturing that takes place in your life as a result of it. The Bible says to speak the truth in love. Who are we to refrain from that? When he says speak the truth in love, God knows he can do something with somebody who can speak the truth in love. But if you're afraid to disagree because you don't wanna lose a friend, or you have a friend that forbids you to disagree, I'm almost sure that at the end of the day, if you don't understand that right, and if you don't apply that right, you're gonna end up in some kind of strife.
And then number ten: arguments over doctrine and beliefs will produce strife. Arguments over doctrine and belief will produce strife. Look at 2 Timothy chapter 2. I wanna read two verses here, verse 14 and then verse 24. Verse 14 says, "Of these things, put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to be subverting of the hearers". And then the next verse, verse 24: "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, and to be patient".
Now, go back to verse 14, 2 Timothy 2 and verse 14. Let's milk that just a little bit here. He says, "Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit". You're gonna get in strife over words that were spoken? You're gonna get in strife over doctrine that was taught? Are you kidding me? He says, don't do that. Don't get into strife about words to no profit, he says, but to be of subverting of the hearer. You get yourself in a position where, you know, I can hear something, and might not agree with it, but at the same time, it's not gonna cause me to, "Well, I ain't gonna be your partner no more," because, you know, what you said.
You know, you say a thousand things right that change your life, you say one thing they disagree with, now they disconnect with you and, you know, tell you you're a false prophet and of the devil. We certainly can't do that. Certainly grace must mean a whole lot more than that, and I believe that it does. And so tonight I wanna encourage everybody to become an enemy to strife. I want us to rebel against the sources of strife, that when we find ourselves walking in these ingredients of strife, we rebel against it. We say no, we're not going to yield to you. No, we are not gonna allow you to dominate our lives. We're not gonna be trapped by you, we're not gonna be captive by you.
We overcome you by the blood of the Lamb, we overcome you by the word of our testimony. Satan, you are defeated. You will not trap me. You will not deceive me into living a life full of strife. So in the name of Jesus, I rebuke strife right now. I rebuke strife in your life. I rebuke strife in your relationships. I rebuke strife on your job. And in the name of Jesus, I declare that you have a sharp eye and a ear to recognize anger, ridicule, hatred, gossip, selfishness, a proud tongue, pride, a quarrelsome person, disagreement, and arguments over doctrine.
You recognize you are sensitive to these things. You walk in the love of God and you defeat strife. And so right now in Jesus's name, I say, Satan, we see you. We will not be a part of strife. We will forgive, we will love, we will, "Come, let us reason together, saith the Lord". We will do everything that we know to do to achieve peace and to walk in the love of God and not allow strife to ruin, damage, and hold us back. Strife will cause you to be stranded if you let it. Ten years'll go by and you've not made any progress because strife kept you at the same place.
So we're over it. I'm speaking for all of you tonight, we are over strife. We're over strife. You're gonna forgive, no matter what. And y'all don't have to go on picnics and vacations together. But don't be sitting at home alone in strife. Forgive that person, and if you should come across them in the near future, you greet them as a Christian. You greet them with love. You let them see and know that the person they dealt with 20 years ago is not the same one that they're looking at right now. They're looking at a person that's free from strife, free from unforgiveness, a person that walks in love and kindness and partakes of the fruit of the Spirit that has been made available to them by the Holy Ghost.
I say to you all is well in your life. All is well in your life. Don't pay too much attention on what's going on in the world. You're the answer for what's going on in the world. Let them get ahold of you. Let them taste what your life is like and just, one person at a time, walking in love, pulling people out of strife into the love of God. And I tell you, you can do your part in making a mark in this world that cannot be erased. Let's pray.
Father, I thank you for this time and I thank you for this word. I thank you of the last couple of weeks that there's been a spirit of deliverance from this egregious, awful, demonic force of strife. And I thank you that whom the Son sets free, is free indeed, and we are free indeed.