by Richard Mansel, managing editor
A local congregation should never be engaged in a war from within. Combat in the pews is anathema to God’s plan (1 Corinthians 1:10). Fighting Satan is enough to keep God’s people busy forever (Ephesians 6:11-12).
Christians argue and divide when they have allowed the ways of Satan to rule their spiritual lives (1 Corinthians 3:3).
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1, NKJV).
Inside each Christian is a fierce struggle between the fleshly and the spiritual.
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8).
When we deceive ourselves into taking the wrong paths, we bring unrighteousness into a righteous place and the sins of the flesh are unleashed on the brethren.
“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:23).
The only way to avoid these dangers is to be transformed by the gospel (Romans 12:1-2) and learn completely new ways of dealing with other people (2 Corinthians 3:12-13). None of the previous rules apply.
“And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).
We are no longer guided by the destructive paths of the wicked (Ephesians 4:17). We have put God’s plan above our own, seeking his glory in everything (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Sin creates these impurities in our lives and God’s Word is the heat that removes them from our hearts (Hebrews 4:12). We must be brutally honest with ourselves to identify these flaws.
We must stop deceiving ourselves into thinking our ways and rationalizations take precedence over God’s Word because Satan provides unlimited ammunition to turn ourselves and others away from God (1 Peter 5:8; John 8:44).
Christians should be spreading love (1 John 4), not hate and hostility. When we fight, we put an angry face on God and destroy any hopes of evangelism in our community and God will be heartbroken.