Definition: Aggressiveness has two contrasting definitions: The primary, being negative, means being inclined to act in a hostile manner; the secondary, but more positive meaning, refers to being bold, assertive or enterprising in getting things done. The first definition is the one explored in this section. See the section on “Boldness” for the second definition.
1. Pushy aggressiveness towards others is a worldly, carnal trait.
Romans 10:1-3 [Paul explains that the Jews were pushy in their service for God, but lacked really knowing the Lord:] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Phil 3:6-7 [Paul knew the Jew’s faults, because earlier, as Saul the Pharisee, his attitude was:] Concerning zeal, persecuting the Church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
John 18:36a Jesus answered, My Kingdom is not of this world: if My Kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight. [See Matthew 26:52-54]
2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.
Matthew 5:38-41 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Mark 10:42-44 [Worldly leaders are often pushy and domineering, but we are taught to lead with meekness and love] But Jesus called them to Him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.
Romans 13:13,14 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
1 Corinthians 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
2 Corinthians 10:3 [Even though we are carnal people, we are learning to see things in the Spirit] For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh. [See also Colossians 1:29]
2. Aggressiveness is often a symptom of a me-first sort of pride and selfishness.
Proverbs 13:10a Only by pride cometh contention.
Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory [conceit], provoking one another, envying one another.
Philippians 2:3,4 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory [selfish ambition or conceit]; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
3. Aggressiveness between Christians undermines unity and hinders our sample.
Proverbs 18:19 [Once disunity is created through offenses, it takes great effort to patch it up] A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
Matthew 12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.
Galatians 5:15-17 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Philippians 1:15-17 [Paul refers to the insincere, ungodly, selfish aggressiveness used by some Christians, contrasted with the loving support felt from others:] Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention … 17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the Gospel.
Philippians 2:14,15 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.
4. Worldly aggressiveness is completely contradictory to the ways of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22,23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
James 3:14-18 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
5. If aggressiveness is the problem, more love and a spirit of meekness are the cure.
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. [See also 3:30]
Proverbs 25:15 [Meekness accomplishes much more than force] By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.
Romans 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
1 Corinthians 2:3-5 [Paul, who had been overly aggressive as a Jew, learned to be meek, realizing how weak he was, yet relying on the power of God] And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. [See also 2 Corinthians 11:29,30; 13:9]
1 Corinthians 13:4,5 Charity [Love] suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.
1 Corinthians 10:24 [Be aggressive in helping others, not yourself] Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.
2 Corinthians 1:24 [The Apostles were not domineering] Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
Ephesians 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.
1 Peter 3:4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.