DEFINITION: Doubt is a lack of assurance that causes one to question their salvation as well as other spiritual works God has done in their lives. It is a feeling of uncertainty and mistrust.
FACTS ABOUT DOUBT:
Doubt is a feeling, but we are not saved by feelings. We are saved by faith. Satan can tamper with your feelings, but he cannot void the work of God in your life. Determine that you will serve God even if you never “feel” anything that confirms your spiritual experience. Your eternal relationship with God is not based on feelings.
Doubt often results from disappointed with God. Perhaps He did not answer a prayer as you desired, or you feel He did not intervene in your circumstances as you had hoped.
Faith is the opposite of doubt. Faith is belief or trust in someone or something without overt proof. Biblically, faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). The basic tenets of our faith are the Word of God and the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
You are mandated to have faith in God. Jesus commanded: “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). It is impossible to please God without faith. You must not only believe in God, but you must believe that He acts in your behalf: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
You can be assured of your salvation because God’s Word assures it (John 3:16; Romans 10:9; 1 John 1:9). You can be assured that:
-Jesus paid your sin debt and obtained your full pardon: Colossians 2:13-14.
-Your pardon is based on God’s grace, which always exceeds your transgressions: Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:20.
-God does not hold your past or present sins against you as long as you have asked forgiveness: Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:19.
-Forgiveness is extended to all who believe in Jesus: Acts 10:43.
-Forgiveness is extended to believers who sin: John 1:9.
Assurance that eliminates doubt is not a matter of applying human logic. It is a matter of faith. You simply believe God’s Word and do not rely on your own thinking (Proverbs 3:5).
DEALING WITH DOUBT:
Confess your sins to God: Sin can cause a lack of assurance about your spiritual status in God. Confess your sins regularly by using the model prayer for daily prayer (1 John 1:9 Proverbs 28:13).
Confess your doubts to God. “…for what is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Lack of faith shows you do not believe God at His Word. As the father who brought his ailing child to Jesus, cry out by faith, “Lord I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
Study the Word of God consistently. The better you come to know God through His Word, the more you will trust Him completely with your salvation and in other spiritual issues
(Romans 10:17; John 7:17; 1 John 5:13). Faith–the remedy for doubt–is increased through hearing, reading, and studying God’s Word (Romans 10:17).
Refuse to allow the spirit of unbelief to operate in your life. In the first temptation, Satan caused Eve to doubt the Word of God. Doubt is a tool of the enemy, so when Satan returns with doubtful thoughts, rebuke him, rebuke the thoughts, and cast them out in the name of Jesus.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT DOUBT:
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)
Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. (Psalm 119:89)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” (Matthew 8:13)
…your faith has healed you. (Matthew 9:22)
According to your faith will it be done to you… (Matthew 9:29)
Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Matthews 13:58)
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:19-21, NKJV)
I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and it will be done. (Matthew 21:21)
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34)
Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (Mark 5:36)
“Lord I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Mark 10:52)
“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. (Luke 8:22)
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5)
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:22-24)
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.(Mark 15:14, NKJV)
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)
The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. (Luke 8:24-25)
If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it will obey you. (Luke 17:6)
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16)
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.(John 5:24)
I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. (John 6:47)
I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins. (John 8:24)
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. (John 10:27-28)
Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. (John 12:37)
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. (John 15:4)
Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:24-31)
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:8-10).
…for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
(2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
…for by faith you stand. (2 Corinthians 1:24)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16)
…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.(1 Timothy 2:8, KJV)
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:12-13)
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. (Hebrews 10:35)
Now faith is the assurance, the confirmation, the title deed of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see, and the conviction of their reality. Faith is perceiving as real what is not revealed to the senses.(Hebrews 11:1, AMP)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 1:5-8)
And God, in his mighty power, will protect you until you receive this salvation, because you are trusting him. It will be revealed on the last day for all to see. (1 Peter 1:5, NLT)
See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us–even eternal life. (1 John 2:24-25)
And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. (1 John 2:28)
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20)
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
(See also the subjects of “Assurance”, “Faith”, and “Unbelief” in this database.)
DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
DEFINITIONS: Divorce occurs when a couple decides they no longer want to fulfill their commitment to their marriage. Remarriage is marrying again after a previous marriage ended in either death or divorce.
FACTS ABOUT DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE:
Divorce was not God’s original plan. When questioned by the religious leaders about divorce, Jesus explained that divorce was permitted because of the hardness of the hearts of mankind (Mark 10:1-9). God’s original plan was one man, one wife, for life (1 Corinthians 7:10)
Divorce is permitted under certain circumstances. For believers, these circumstances include sexual immorality (Matthew 19:9) and when a spouse deserts (1 Corinthians 7:15). In these situations, divorce is permitted by scripture, but not necessarily advocated. The goal is always reconciliation if possible.
Remarriage is not prohibited for a person whose spouse has committed sexual immorality or abandoned them–and of course, remarriage is permitted after the death of a spouse.
Although usually one person initiates divorce proceedings, both parties most likely have contributed to the breakup to some degree.
Divorce is not the unpardonable sin. We are all sinners, and we all make mistakes in relationships. To those who were caught in sin, Jesus forgave them with the admonishment, “go your way and sin no more.” Sinful errors may have been made in a relationship, but you can receive forgiveness and go on with a renewed dedication to God.
Having an unbelieving spouse is not grounds for divorce. The Christian spouse is encouraged to remain with their mate with the goal of winning him/her to Christ (1 Corinthians 7:12-16).
Many problems in marriage would be avoided if believers obeyed God’s Word regarding not marrying an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). No need to pray about this. God already said don’t do it! To avoid such emotional entanglements, don’t date unbelievers.
DEALING WITH DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE:
Think long and hard before initiating a divorce. Do you have biblical grounds? How will it affect your children, friends, and family? Will it actually solve problems or just present a whole set of new issues? How will it affect you and your family financially? Divorces are difficult spiritually, mentally, materially, and a breakup is especially hard on the children. Shame, anger, depression, loss of other relationships–all are part of divorce. You shouldn’t leave because of petty issues of incompatibility, because you tire of a relationship, or you are not committed enough to make it through the tough times.
Explore your relationship with God. Are you a believer? If you want your marriage to succeed, you must build it on the Lord (Psalm 127:1). Join with your spouse to seek a renewed relationship with God first, then with each other.
Seek forgiveness. Ask forgiveness from God and from your spouse. Pray for the healing of your emotions and relationship.
Seek reconciliation. Try to the best of your ability to reconcile with your spouse. Pray together, study the Word of God, form relationships with couples who have successful marriages, attend Christian marriage seminars. Pray about your problems instead of yelling about them. Do not bring up the past. Look to the future.
Take practical actions. List all the praiseworthy traits of your spouse and share at least one each day with them. Take a good look at yourself and improve things like bad habits, appearance, mannerisms, integrity, etc. Don’t just tell your spouse how you are going to change; show him/her by changing.
If you are a born-again believer, do not marry an unsaved person. Don’t be surprised when such a union experiences difficulties because Jesus said, a house divided against itself is destined to fall (Luke 11:17). A similar passage in the Amplified Version says, “…no city or house divided against itself will last or continue to stand” (Matthew 12:25 AMP).
Accept that sometimes, there is no more you can do. If you have done everything possible to save your marriage and it still failed, if your mate has departed, or if you are in an abusive situation and you need to depart for your own safety–then accept that there is nothing more you can do. It is in God’s hands. Divorce is not the unpardonable sin. Ask God for forgiveness for your part in the problem. Accept His forgiveness, forgive yourself, and then get on with your life. Do not keep looking back thinking “I should have….” As long as you live in the past, you will never have a future.
Realize that there are some relationships that cannot be fixed. Not because God can’t fix them, but because one party is unwilling to change. The abuser, the alcoholic, the drug addict–they all promise they won’t do it again, but they will not change without a true born-again experience and supernatural deliverance. The adulterer and fornicator that comes and goes in and out of your marriage bed may leave you with an incurable sexually transmitted disease. Perhaps this is one reason why fornication–sexual activity outside of marriage including adultery–was specifically mentioned as a scriptural cause for divorce (Matthew 5:32). In the case of spousal abuse or child abuse, you must leave and take the kids with you. In many nations, you are legally responsible and can be criminally prosecuted if you fail to protect your children. Just because you walk away, does not mean God will not continue to deal with your spouse, nor does it mean God cannot put the relationship back together again in the future, nor does it mean that you must legally divorce your mate. What it means is that, for the present, you must take this action to protect yourself and your children. Be sure to protect yourself legally from the debts of your spouse and be sure the children are provided for.
Know that God is the God of a second chance. Consider Jonah, David, Moses, and Peter. God accomplished His purposes in the lives of each of these men, despite their failures. If you have failed in marriage and you are divorced, it is time to..”Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you–rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!” (Isaiah 60:1, TAB). Let go of the hurt and bitterness. Stop dwelling on the “what ifs”. Stop rehearsing the past. If you are in an abusive situation, stop trying to make it work. If your mate has abandoned you, release them to God. If God puts the relationship back together in the future, then it will work. If not, consider it a divine division, abandon the past, and look to the future. As long as you are living in the past, you will never have a future.
Embrace your loss as spiritual gain. The Apostle Paul said: “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:7-10, KJV). God can use even the suffering of divorce to deepen your relationship with Him. Embrace that loss–and all the losses in your life–as spiritual gain.
Do not judge others who have divorced and remarried. If you don’t believe in divorce for any reason or remarriage after a divorce, do not judge others who remarry. Live by your own convictions in this area, but do not impose your beliefs on those whose situations you do not understand and know nothing about.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE:
But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:20-24)
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord. (Proverbs 18:22)
Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home. (Proverbs 27:8)
If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? (Jeremiah 3:1)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3)
And did not God make [you and your wife] one [flesh]? Did not one make you and preserve your spirit alive? And why [did God make you two] one? Because He sought a godly offspring [from your union]. Therefore take heed to yourselves, and let no one deal treacherously and be faithless to the wife of his youth. (Malachi 2:15 AMP)
It has been said, “Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.” But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:31-32)
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25)
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:3-9)
Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
“What did Moses command you?” he replied. They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:1-9-12)
Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Luke 16:18)
For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man. (Romans 7:2-3)
To the married I give this command (not I but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. (I Corinthians 7:10-15)
A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:39)
Read 1 Corinthians 13.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18, NIV)
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Hebrews 13:4)
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7)
(See also “Marriage” in this database.)
DEFINITION: Dissatisfaction is a feeling of discontent and displeasure with circumstances in life or other people. It is a feeling of unhappiness.
FACTS ABOUT DISSATISFACTION:
The enemy causes dissatisfaction. The Bible says in John 10:10 that it is the enemy that kills, steals, and destroys. If you are dissatisfied and unhappy, guess who stole your joy? Jesus came to destroy the work of the enemy and to give you abundant life. He wants you to be content and happy.
Disappointments cause dissatisfaction. Sometimes people disappoint you or your circumstances are disappointing. Sometimes you disappoint yourself by failures. Such disappointments can lead to dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction with your own performance or that of others leads to discouragement, and discouragement can lead to depression.
Materialism causes dissatisfaction. The Apostle Paul warned Timothy: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). All the things that you want that seem so important are usually temporal. Focus on the eternal (1 John 2:15-17).
Dissatisfaction is sin. When you are dissatisfied, grumbling, and complaining, you are actually blaming God for your circumstances, implying that He is not providing adequately for your wants and needs. Israel was repeatedly dissatisfied with God’s provision in the wilderness. They grumbled about lack of water and food. Then they complained because the manna God provided was not as good as the leeks and garlic they had in Egypt. God said their grumbling was sin, and judged it as such.
Dissatisfaction leads to grumbling, complaining, unhappiness, and an unthankful and critical spirit.
DEALING WITH DISSATISFACTION:
Recognize that dissatisfaction is sin. As with other sins, you must confess and ask God for forgiveness.
Ask God to give you a spirit of contentment. The Apostle Paul declared: “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13). He told young Timothy to be content with the basics of food and clothing (1 Timothy 6:8). The Hebrews were admonished to be content with what they had.
Put your trust in God, rather than in people or things that will fail (Psalm 20:7-8; 44:6; 146:3). That way you will never be disappointed or dissatisfied. Your trust should be in God, not in man. Keep your focus on the Lord!
Make positive changes in your life. What changes can you make that will eliminate negative circumstances in your life? What changes will bring joy back into your life?
Return to the basics of Christian life. Be faithful in prayer, church attendance, and the Word of God. The Word of God is effective to facilitate change in any problem or circumstance of your life. Dissatisfaction is a state of mind, and your mind can be renewed through the Word (Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10).
Cultivate friendships with positive people. Avoid being a loner. Satan wants to isolate you through dissatisfaction. Deliberately spend time with believers who are positive and uplifting. Do not hang out with negative, critical, judgmental people, as this will contribute to your own dissatisfaction. Christian friendships with positive people will help you when you feel discouraged (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Do something for others. This will take the focus off of things that are causing your dissatisfaction. The joy you receive from doing acts of kindness will help eliminate your dissatisfaction. When you see how tough some other people have it, you will be more satisfied with your own lot in life.
Start a gratitude journal. Write down at least one thing each day for which you are thankful. This will help you remain focused on the positive instead of the negative. It is the will of God for you to give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Recognize the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is based on outward circumstances. When things are going good, then you are happy. When circumstances are bad, you are unhappy. Joy, on the other hand, is a spiritual fruit from God. You can rejoice in every circumstance and the joy of the Lord gives you strength to face negative circumstances (Philippians 4:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Jesus faced the most difficult circumstances of His life with joy. Although He knew the suffering that awaited Him in Jerusalem, He entered the city with a joyous procession. In view of this, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).
Pray this prayer: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT DISSATISFACTION:
…for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:3-4)
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42:2)
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1)
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. (Psalm 63:5)
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation. (Psalm 91:16)
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:1-5)
For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (Psalm 107:9)
You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:16)
Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. (Psalms 146:3)
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. (Isaiah 55:2-3)
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)
Blessed are you who hunger now for you will be satisfied. (Luke 6:21)
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. (John 6:33)
I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. (John 7:38)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.(John 15:11)
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (Romans 14:17)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:11-13)
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 4:19)
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. (1 Timothy 6:8)
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:17)
“Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17)
Read through the book of Psalms and underline all of the commands to rejoice and the reasons for rejoicing instead of being dissatisfied.
(See also “Criticism And A Critical Spirit” in this database.)
DEFINITION: Disobedience is refusing to follow instructions and to comply with rules or regulations. Biblically, disobedience is refusing to obey God, the commands in His Word, and leaders who have God-given authority over you.
FACTS ABOUT DISOBEDIENCE:
Disobedience is sin. Biblical, disobedience is not “exercising your right to choose” or “freedom of choice”. It is sin. Obedience is the opposite of disobedience. Obedience is acceptance and submission to the authority of God and His Word.
God expects obedience. Your entire relationship with Him is based on obedience, beginning with your obedience in accepting Jesus as Savior (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).
Disobedience will prevent you from taking possession of the promises of God. It kept an entire nation out of their promised land. When Israel disobeyed God, they were sent back into the wilderness to wander for forty years (Nehemiah 9:17).
Disobedience includes sins of commission–things you should have done and did not do–and sins of commission–sinful acts you committed contrary to God’s Word.
You are required to obey authorities. It is a command: “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority” (Hebrews 13:17).
Strategies of Satan that will lead you into disobedience.
-He causes you to doubt God and His Word.
-He tempts you to murmur against God.
-He causes you to turn away from God.
-He causes you to reject God’s voice and His Word.
-He causes you to no longer fear God.
-He causes you to fear man more than you fear God.
-He causes you to reject God’s will and follow your own plan.
-He deceives you into compromising.
DEALING WITH DISOBEDIENCE:
Repent of your disobedience. Disobedience is sin, and as with any sin you must confess it and ask forgiveness from God.
Determine you will obey God. You have the power to obey God. Sin no longer has dominion over you: “For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God’s favor and mercy].” (Romans 6:14 AMP)
Practice obedience in routine decisions. Then you will develop the habit of obeying and will not fail to obey God in the big decisions of life.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT DISOBEDIENCE:
Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever! (Deuteronomy 5:29)
See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse–the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known. (Deuteronomy 11:26-28)
It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. (Deuteronomy 13:4)
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life… (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:8-9)
If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God–good! But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your fathers. (1 Samuel 12:14-15)
But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.”(1 Samuel 15:22-23)
Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. (Psalm 119:1)
Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed. (Psalm 119:136)
I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word. (Psalm 119:158)
I obey your statutes, for I love them greatly. (Psalm 119:167)
He who obeys instructions guards his life, but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die. (Proverbs 19:16)
If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel,>you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 1:19)
Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. (Jeremiah 7:23)
Obey me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God.(Jeremiah 11:4)
See how each of you is following the stubbornness of his evil heart instead of obeying me. (Jeremiah 16:12)
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. (Matthew 7:21-24)
Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)
If you love me, you will obey what I command. (John 14:15)
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”(John 14:23-24)
If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (John 15:10)
We must obey God rather than men! (Acts 5:29)
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:12-14)
Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:16-18)
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:5-6)
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? (Galatians 5:7)
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. (Ephesians 5:6-7)
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”-which is the first commandment with a promise “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3)
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (Colossians 3:22-24)
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. (Titus 3:1-2)
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:17)
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:23-25)
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. (1 John 2:3)
This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:5-6)
Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. (1 John 3:24)
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. (1 John 5:2-4)
Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 1:9)
Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. (Revelation 3:3)
(See “Sin”, “Submission”, and “Authority” in this database.)
DEFINITION: To disagree is to have a difference of opinions. A disagreement is a failure to agree about something. Unresolved disagreements can lead to arguments, misunderstanding, and disputes. If resolved biblically, they do not need to do so.
FACTS ABOUT DISAGREEMENTS:
People can disagree without having conflict, but conflict often results from unresolved disagreements. It is not differences of opinion that hurt and destroy, but the failure to resolve them and to love others despite our differences.
When people are fighting each other, they are not fighting the works of Satan or battling for the souls of lost men and women. God wants you to deal with disagreements effectively so the work of His Kingdom can proceed.
The reasons for conflicts are detailed in James 3:14-16: “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” Again, in James 4:1-3, James declares: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” The Apostle Paul wrote: “You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?”
(1 Corinthians 3:3). Remember also that one who is being led by the Spirit will usually come into conflict with others who are being led (at least for a time) by the flesh.
A good leader does not ignore disagreements. He does not call people “unspiritual” for bringing problems to his attention. He immediately deals with disagreements according to scriptural principles.
Personal disagreements between believers should not be ignored, but should be resolved according to biblical guidelines. Do not allow differences of opinion to separate you from other believers or fester in your mind to create anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness.
DEALING WITH DISAGREEMENTS:
Prevent conflicts. The best way to handle conflict is to prevent it before it occurs. Here are some ways to prevent conflict:
-Become spiritually mature (James 3:14-16; 4:1; 1 Corinthians 3:3).
-Keep others well-informed. Confusion and lack of information often creates problems. Build strong bridges of communication between those involved with you in the work of the ministry. Good leaders in the Bible (like Moses, Nehemiah, Ezra, etc.) were good communicators. Communicating with your family is also important.
-We live in an imperfect world. Expect problems and deal with them immediately when they arise.
-Plan ahead. By careful planning you can deal with many issues before they become conflicts. If everyone knows what you are doing and why, there is less opportunity for misunderstanding and conflict.
-Build strong relationships. It is easier to resolve disagreements when you have a good relationship with others with whom you are interacting.
-If you make a mistake, do not ignore it. Be big enough to admit and correct it.
Dealing with conflict. When a disagreement arises, follow these guidelines:
-Pray for wisdom to deal with it.
-Determine the real problem. The conflict is not the real problem. What caused the conflict is the problem. To determine the problem you must ask questions, observe, and continue to pray for revelation. Listen to all sides of the problem and to all people involved. Do not act without a clear understanding of all the facts. Always keep in mind the real source of problems (James 3:14-16; 4:1; 1 Corinthians 3:3).
-Let people who are directly affected by the problem suggest solutions. Be willing to listen to all suggestions.
-Pray together about a solution. In serious conflicts, fasting is also recommended.
-If the conflict is a personal problem between two people–you and another person–resolve it according to the principles of Matthew 18:15-17.
-Deal with conflicts with a proper attitude. Be forgiving, seeking to restore rather than sever relationships. Be loving. Do not threaten or become angry.
-Use tact. Tact is the ability to deal with difficult situations with wisdom and love without offending people. It involves being sensitive to others, being understanding, and using words that restore and heal rather than divide and wound. Be flexible. Do not be selfishly set on having your own way. Be open to different ideas and ways of solving problems.
-Deal with one conflict or problem at a time. Do not confuse the issue by discussing other related problems.
-When you have a clear understanding of the problem causing the conflict, act immediately to correct it.
-Explain to others involved the reason you are handling the conflict the way you are. For example, in the conflict described in Acts 15, the leaders explained their decision in detail in writing to those involved (Acts 15).
Use God’s Word to resolve issues. God’s Word is vital in solving discipline problems and conflicts because: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God’s Word is effective for discipline, reproof, and correction.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT DISAGREEMENTS:
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. (Psalm 133)
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9)
Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, And they go down into the inmost body. (Proverbs 26:20-22)
For as churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife. (Proverbs 30:33)
Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? (Amos 3:3)
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19)
I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:3).
If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another–and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers. (1 Corinthians 6:1-8)
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called–one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.(Ephesians 4:3-6)
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life. (Philippians 2:14-16)
But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (Colossians 3:8)
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:13-14)
If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)
Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. (2 Timothy 2:23-24)
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:9-11)
>My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.(James 1:19-20)
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:14-18)
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3)
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. (1 Peter 3:8-11)
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18)
Biblical examples of resolving disagreements.
Abraham. Abraham resolved disagreements between his servants and those of Lot by suggesting they separate and giving Lot the choice of lands (Genesis 13:5-13).
Paul and Barnabas. Paul and Barnabas disagreed over taking a young man named John Mark with them on a missions trip. The problem was solved by forming a second evangelistic team. This solution actually advanced the spread of the Gospel. Paul and Barnabas did not get angry, stop speaking, and have nothing more to do with one another. Neither one dropped out of Christian service because “someone had hurt them.” They both continued on to serve the Lord. Sometime later, Paul admitted that John Mark–having been trained by Barnabas–was ready for ministry and asked that John Mark be sent to him (Acts 15:36-41).
The early church. Any time a church, an organization, or work of God is launched, it goes through certain stages of development. Read the following chapters in your Bible:
Acts l God chose certain men.
Acts 2 He gave these men a ministry.
Acts 3 There was great multiplication.
Acts 4 A great movement was born (the Church).
Acts 5-6 Persecution and conflict arose.
In Acts l-4 a great work of God is birthed, then in Acts 5:1-11, a problem arises. Peter does not ignore it, but confronts and deals with it. In Acts 5:12-42, conflict from without the Church arises. The disciples stand in the face of opposition and boldly declare that they should obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29 and 42). In Acts 6:1, conflict from within the church arises. There is a dispute over the distribution of supplies to widows. Again, the disciples immediately solve the conflict (Acts 6:2-7.) Anytime a ministry or work of God is launched, it will experience a similar pattern. As it grows, there will be disagreements and conflicts from without and within the fellowship that must be resolved biblically.
(Disappointment And Discouragement)
DEFINITIONS: Depression is an emotional condition characterized by feelings of continued hopelessness, inadequacy, gloom, dejection, sadness, and difficulty in thinking, concentration, and action. Depression also causes loss of interest, hopelessness, and, in some cases, thoughts of suicide. Discouragement and disappointment often result in depression.
FACTS ABOUT DEPRESSION:
Both positive and negative circumstances contribute to depression. A great loss, death of a loved one, losing a job, traumatic experiences, divorce, imprisonment, financial problems and other negative circumstances can cause depression. Guilt is another trigger for depression, and struggles with addictions can cause it. Discouragement and disappointment are related emotions also. But positive circumstances may also cause depression: A new job, geographic relocation, retirement, a new baby. These are positive things, but they produce levels of stress that can result in depression.
Depression is caused by negative emotional responses to circumstances, physical or mental conditions, or attacks by Satan on your mind.
Disappointment in others contributes to depression. People disappoint you and don’t measure up to what you want from them. Jesus told Peter not to be concerned about the performance or destiny of others (John 21:23). The Apostle Paul declared: “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12).
Discouragement may be caused by difficult circumstances. Poor health, financial problems, relationship issues, etc., can cause discouragement that leads to a diminished joy in life.
Unconfessed sin also contributes to depression (Psalm 38:38).
Errant spiritual decisions cause depression. The rich young man who refused to put all he had into the hands of Jesus went away “sorrowing” (Mark 10:22). Sometimes the root of depression is a spiritual cause–a refusal to place some aspect of our lives, abilities, possessions, family and friends, or sorrows into the hands of the Lord.
Depression can affect anyone. Male and female, young and old—even children and teenagers can be depressed.
Depression affects every aspect of your being–spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. It can cause a change in your sleeping patterns, weight changes, loss of appetite or overeating, loss of interest in sex, lack of energy, problems with concentration, poor memory, and difficulty in making decisions. Emotionally it causes low-self image, self-criticism, hopelessness, anger, resentment, guilt, irritability, crying, fear, gloomy outlook. You may withdraw from social relationships and your work ethic may be affected. You may also be tempted to turn to drugs and alcohol–which only tend to further the depression.
Depression can lead to suicide. If depression is not dealt with, it can lead to such hopelessness that a person contemplates or tries suicide to escape the pain. (See “Suicide” in this database.)
Depression is not sin. It is a signal that change, a healing, or deliverance is needed in your life.
DEALING WITH DEPRESSION:
Identify the root cause. How did the depression begin? When did it begin? What is the main issue causing it? Is your depression because of finances? Loneliness? Unconfessed sin? Are negative emotions causing it–things like anger and unforgiveness? Physical problems? An attack of Satan on your mind?
If unconfessed sin is the problem, ask God for forgiveness. David said that day and night, God’s hand was heavy on him until he asked for forgiveness. Ask God to forgive your negative thinking and wrong emotions. If you are harboring unforgiveness, forgive!
Have a medical examination if you think your health is affecting your mood. If it is a medical condition, you can then pray for physical healing rather than misdirecting your efforts by thinking you are fighting a battle of the mind over depression.
Take these steps if your depression is due to negative circumstances and/or attacks of Satan:
-Pray and bind the spirit of depression that is operating in your life. Jesus gave you power over all the power of the enemy, and that includes depression (Luke 10:19).
-Eliminate drugs and alcohol–they only contribute to depression.
-Reprogram your thinking by immersing yourself in God’s Word. The Word of God can change every area of your life–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Program your mind to think on good things rather than the negative (Philippians 4:8).
-Do not look at your circumstances. Keep your focus on God.
-Recognize that God’s ultimate purpose is to do you good and that He is in control of your circumstances (Jeremiah 29:11).
-When depressing thoughts try to return, resist the devil in the name of Jesus and he will flee (James 4:7). How you react to these thoughts is the key to your deliverance, as the battle of depression is in the mind. As long as you allow yourself to think you are defeated and depressed, you will remain that way because…”As he thinks in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7, NKJV). Remember that with every temptation you face, there is a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).
-Encourage yourself in the Lord. Read 1 Samuel chapter 30 to see how David encouraged himself during a tragic event in his life. Read the book of Psalms and you will note that David is often discouraged, but finds encouragement in God.
-Praise and worship the Lord. Satan hates praise and worship and will flee in the presence of your sacrifice of praise.
Get proper rest, sleep, exercise, and nutrition. These all help with the physical aspects of depression.
Make positive changes in your life. What changes can you make that will eliminate stress? What changes will bring joy back into your life?
Return to the basics of Christian life. Be faithful in prayer, church attendance, and the Word of God. These will encourage you and give you a more positive attitude. The Word of God is effective to facilitate change in any problem or circumstance of your life. Depression is a state of mind, and your mind can be renewed through the Word (Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10).
Cultivate friendships with positive people. Avoid being a loner. Satan wants to isolate you through depression. Deliberately spend time with believers who are positive and uplifting. Do not hang out with negative, critical, judgmental people, as this can contribute to your depressed state. Christian friendships with positive people will help you when you are feeling down (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Do something for others. This will take the focus off of yourself and the joy you receive from doing acts of kindness can help your own depression.
Start a gratitude journal. Write down at least one thing each day for which you are thankful. This will help you focus on the positive instead of the negative.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT DEPRESSION:
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.(Psalm 3:3)
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:9-10)
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14)
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. (Psalm 28:7)
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
Read Psalm 38 as an example of depression caused by personal sin. Read Psalm 51, a prayer of repentance which restored the joy of salvation to David.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God,for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:5, 11; 43:5)
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3)
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.(Psalm 55:22)
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. (Psalm 62:5)
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. (Psalm 94:18-19)
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. (Psalm 112:4)
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me. (Psalm 138:7, NKJV)
The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. (Psalm 145:14
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25)
The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit? (Proverbs 18:14)
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down,
his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
Anyone who is among the living has hope. (Ecclesiastes 9:4)
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you,Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:1-2)
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. (Isaiah 60:1)
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says the Lord, “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV)
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. (Nahum 1:7)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:19)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John14:27)
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18-22)
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28-29)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Galatians 6:9, NKJV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4–9)
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16, NKJV)
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:12-17)
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7-8)
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)
Study the story of the Prophet Elijah’s depression in 1 Kings 18-19.