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Faith works by love. Love is the real secret of our success. That's why Satan is working furiously day in and day out to deceive and pressure us into stepping out of love. He is constantly sending situations our way to tempt us to yield to selfishness instead of love, which is unselfish.

It's vitally important that we not be ignorant of the devil's devices, because when we're ignorant or unaware, we're more likely to fall prey to them.

It is important for us to study the Word to know what love is and what it is not. We need to study the enemies of love so that when the devil tempts us with them, we can quickly recognize his strategies and say, "No, devil! I refuse to do that. It's unloving, and I choose to walk in love!"

Some people don't realize that resisting temptation is that simple. (Notice, I didn't say easy. I said simple.) But it is! Temptation is nothing more than "a solicitation to do evil." That's actually one of the dictionary definitions of the word.

In times of temptation, the devil comes to you like a solicitor, or a salesman, and makes you a presentation. He brings an influence into your life and puts an opportunity in front of you to sin. You can say, "yes," to a salesman if you want what he's offering, or you can say, "no," to him if you don't think it would be to your advantage. You can either accept or reject the devil's solicitations the same way.

One reason we fail to reject the devil's solicitations at times is that we don't recognize temptation for what it is. We buy the devil's line before we even realize he's selling it to us. That's why we need to study what the Bible has to say about the enemies of love. The more we know about them, and the more we engraft what the Word has to say about them into our spirits, the easier it will be for us to detect the devil's devices.

Identifying the Enemies
The enemies of love are things such as envy, which the dictionary defines as "a feeling of discontent and ill will because of another's advantages, possessions or success." Jealousy, which is a little stronger than envy, is also an enemy of love. To be jealous is "to be suspicious, apprehensive of rivalry or resentfully envious." Proverbs 6:34 says, "Jealousy is the rage of a man."

Pride, too, is listed in 1 Corinthians 13 as an enemy of love. Pride is "an overly high opinion of one's self, exaggerated self-esteem, or conceit" and it shows itself through haughty or arrogant behavior. Pride is something we have to watch for in our lives.

Other enemies of love include bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. Those three things are among the biggest obstacles to walking in love, especially among people who have truly been hurt or abused.

Although I'm not going to focus on those particular enemies of love here, I do want to take a moment to tell you this: if you were abused as a child, no matter how terrible it may have been, the love of God is more powerful than that abuse. And if you'll begin to walk in love and forgiveness, and give up the resentment you've harbored against those who have hurt you, the love of God will overcome the damage that abuse caused in your life.

An Open Door to the devil
The most hazardous weapon the devil uses against us is the foremost enemy of love. And it is the one I want to focus upon in this article because, as I studied the other enemies of love, I noticed that they all resulted in this one thing. I'm talking about strife.

Strife means "vigorous or bitter conflict, discord and antagonism; to quarrel, struggle or clash; competition; rivalry." Strife is of the devil.

Strife opens the door to the devil. It licenses him to bring confusion and evil into our lives. That's why he's always pushing for us to argue with one another and get offended or critical of one another. It gives him access to us! You see, when you were born again, the Bible says you were delivered out of the control and dominion of darkness and into the kingdom of God's Son (Colossians 1:13).

At that time, the devil lost his right of lordship over you and you received salvation. Salvation doesn't just include the new birth, it includes all the blessings of God. Peace, healing, well-being, finances and provision for every area of your life belong to you the moment you become a child of God.

But Satan doesn't want you to enjoy those blessings. He doesn't want you to be healed, happy, and prosperous, because if you are, other people will notice and want the same quality of life you have. They'll give their hearts to God because of the goodness of God they see in your life.

To keep that from happening, the devil tries to steal those blessings from you. But since he has no authority over you anymore, to successfully do that, he has to trick you into opening the door of your life to him.

So what does he do? He tries to get you into strife. He brings you an opportunity to have a conflict with someone because he knows that the moment you step into strife, he can begin to gain mastery over you.

A Lifestyle of Agreement
It's bad enough that strife opens the door of our lives to confusion and every evil work. That alone should make us resist it with all our might. But that's not all the Bible has to say about it. In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul gave us even more information about the damaging effects of strife.

He wrote: "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" (1 Cor. 3:1-3)

Carnal Christians are miserable people. They're born again and they know enough about God not to enjoy sin, but they aren't committed enough to stay out of sin. If you don't want to find yourself trapped in that condition (and I know you don't) then stay out of strife because strife will keep you carnal!

Another dangerous result of strife is it will hinder your prayers by robbing you of one of the greatest promises ever given to us. You can find that promise in Matthew 18:19. There, Jesus said, "Again, I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven."

The devil hates agreement between believers. Agreement opens the windows of heaven to us and it closes the door on every destructive thing he can do. So he will continually try to disrupt that agreement by causing strife and division in the two places where believers come together in the most powerful way: the family and the church.

So make the commitment to keep strife out of your home. Learn to live a lifestyle of agreement with your spouse and your children. See to it that your prayers prevail by being in harmony with the members of your family.

The moment you slip up and get in strife, make it right. Say to the other person, "Please forgive me. I love you. I don't want to be in strife with you." Then say to the Lord, "Father, I repent of that. I'm not going to be a strife person. I refuse to yield to strife. I choose to walk in love."

Don't Judge Another Man's Servant
Let me warn you, though. As soon as you start putting strife out of your home, the devil will pressure you even harder to get into strife at church. He'll provoke someone to be rude to you and hurt your feelings. Or he'll make sure you find out about something someone else has done wrong and talk you into spreading word of that wrongdoing to others.

When he presents you with that opportunity, turn him down - fast! Treat that temptation to gossip and stir up strife like you would a poisonous snake.

Determine in your heart that from now on, if you see your brother sin, you'll do what the Bible says to do. You'll believe God for him and pray for him instead of perpetuating that brother's problem by talking to everyone about it.

I realize sometimes that seems extremely difficult to do. But here's something that will help you. When you're tempted to get in strife by judging a fellow believer, remember what Romans 14:4 says and ask yourself, "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant?"

The devil will try to push you into making a decision about that person. He'll pressure you to say whether he's guilty or not guilty. But don't give in to that pressure. It's not your job to judge others. (Isn't that a relief?)

First Corinthians 4:5 says, "Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God."

Most important of all, wherever you go, always be sure to go in love. Go in love and guard diligently against strife. When you do, you will keep your faith strong and your blessings out of the devil's hands. Walk in love and you will always live in victory, for love never fails!

Excerpt permission granted by
Eagle Mountain International Church, Inc.
aka:  Kenneth Copeland Ministries

Author Biography

Gloria Copeland
Web site: Kenneth Copeland Ministries
For the last 50 years Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have been passionately teaching Christians all over the world how to apply the principles of faith found in God's WORD to their lives.

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