Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
We can define strife as discord, hostility, or uncontrolled and bitter conflict that leaves lingering anger and bad feelings. It’s a demonic spirit that’s determined to destroy us and block the flow of God’s grace into our lives. In addition to dividing people, it comes directly from the enemy, who intends to kill, steal, and destroy the abundant life God longs for us. One of the dangerous tragedies of life and destiny is evil competition. It is because unhealthy competition limits a man’s future. It isn’t possible to be ourselves if we struggle to become like other people. We cannot become who we are meant to become when our main focus is to undo, overdo, or outdo someone else. Strife breeds emotions like jealousy and envy, and they cause intense emotional pain that influences us and moves us away from God’s plan for our lives. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” It is important to note that God did not call us into competition, comparison, and rivalry but are to complement and complete one another. Therefore, to operate in competition is to act outside the Will of God.
The presence of evil competition or strife is the absence of God. Since we cannot strive with someone we love, the appearance of it equals the existence of hatred. So, strife, hatred, and competitive jealousy excuse us from the presence of God because God is love(1 John 4:8). There can never be love where there is hatred or strife. In other words, God is never present where hatred or strife is present. When Lot tried to contend with Abraham, he failed miserably, losing everything. Every competition that does not glorify God is not our portion; it is a pathway to hell! James 3:14-16 says, “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James reminds us today that where there is envy and selfish ambition, we will find disorder and every evil practice. Jealousy and selfish ambition are all sins and not characteristics of Christians. And where the devil controls our desires, there is no peace. However, there’s only one way for us to attain true peace. That’s why strife is so dangerous because by chasing others’ benchmarks, we miss what God has destined for us. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.”
Beloved, deliver yourself from evil competition because it kills joy. When you allow strife, the joyfulness needed to fulfill destiny is dead. Therefore, struggle only to be what God wants you to be, not what another person is. Always avoid unhealthy competition. Believe and act on the Word of God concerning you. Be content in the role God has given you to play. Don’t try to promote yourself or compete with other people. Do your best to make others look good, and God will make you look good at the right time. Instead of struggling to compete and contend with men, give your life to the service of God, and the Spirit of God will give you distinction amid opposition. Set your heart to reach great heights for God’s glory and bless others. Otherwise, all your attempts to do great things will ultimately end in chaos, heartbreak, and destruction. You have the advantage over the devil’s crafty emotional attacks when you operate in the grace and love of Jesus Christ. Strife can’t touch us when we let Christ, not the world, guide our emotions. Remember, the presence of strife is the absence of God.
O Lord, deliver me from the spirit of competition, strife, and jealousy. Help me to live by Your Word in Jesus’ Name.