Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On Conflict: Christ is Always Enough.

If you are a Christian, you already have everything you need to rightly navigate every horizontal conflict you encounter. Regardless if it's a fight with your spouse, a child, a friend, a church member, a co-worker, or anyone else...Christ is always enough! Do you believe that?

The Holy Spirit will help you navigate conflict in a healthy and God-honoring way, if you are willing to listen (to the word of God), submit (to the word of God), and walk in obedience (to the word of God). But, herein lies the problem; our flesh aims to satisfy itself while the Holy Spirit aims to glorify God.

Ultimately, we choose self-centered (sinful) ways of dealing with conflict for one reason: we don't trust God. It's true, isn't it? Either we don't trust in his absolute sovereignty over all things, including evil...or we don't trust that his ways are good. When we're in the midst of conflict, it becomes increasingly clear that there is a war going on for our minds. The Holy Spirit desires for us to set our minds on things above (Col. 3:2) and to remember that our "chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever." However, in spite of the Holy Spirit's efforts...the enemy works tirelessly to tempt us to set our minds on ourselves. When Christians focus their minds on self rather than Christ, the pathway to destructive and sinful behavior has already begun.

Here are some thoughts to ponder:

  • When someone wrongs us, the devil tempts us to seek revenge and justice. The Holy Spirit tells us to trusting in God's perfect vengeance and justice (Rom. 12:19).
  • When someone hurts us, the devil tempts us to hurt them back. The Holy Spirit tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
  • When we are angry, the devil tempts us to doubt God's goodness or his ways. The Holy Spirit tells us to trust that God's will will ultimately work out for our good and his glory.

"There is only one basic reason why we disobey the commands of Jesus: it’s because we don't have confidence that obeying will bring more blessing than disobeying. We do not hope fully in God’s promise." | John Piper

When we choose to turn, from Jesus, towards self-centered aims...we are ultimately placing more value on ourselves then we do on Christ. We are living for own own glory instead of the glory of God. In turn, we elevate our own emotions, feelings, and desires above the desires of God. This is not only a sin against God, but it is also a destructive and futile way to navigate conflict of any kind. We end up causing more hurt to ourselves (and others) as our selfish decisions lead us down a path of self-destruction.

Christians, if we truly desire to walk through horizontal conflicts with others, for the glory of God, we must first be willing to fully submit our burdens (i.e. emotions, hurts, demands) to Christ, and trust that God will work all things together for good, for those who love him and are called according to his purposes (Rom. 8:28).

The choice is always ours to make and ultimately we will be held accountable. We can either listen to the enemy, who appeals to our flesh and desires our destruction...or we can listen to the Holy Spirit, who appeals to our spirit and desires our blessing and for God to be glorified in and through our conflict.

For His Glory,


Friday, May 2, 2014

Character and Natural Ability

Many people say, "if they are gifted leaders, let them be used," but Paul tells the church in (1 Timothy 3 & Titus 1), "let us first examine their character and then use their leadership gifts to bless the church." 

Why does it matter? Because, a person's character paves the way for their natural abilities to be rightly used by God, for his glory. The measurement of character as the qualification for leadership is essential, especially in the church. The chief end of the church is to glorify God and rightly display Christ's image for the world to see. The pragmatic approach to leadership cares more about a person's ability than their character, but Paul instructs the church to care first about character and then about ability. Many gifted leaders have fallen from grace, due to moral failure, because the church failed to examine their character before setting them free to use their natural leadership abilities.

Instead of saying, "I want to be used by God in his church" try saying "I want to be the kind of person God can use in his church." 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Does Theology Matter?

Let's be honest. Many people, Christian or non, cringe at the thought of theology. It's a word that many people probably don't understand but based on what they understand about it or rather the people they know who are passionate about theology, they simply have no desire to spend any time with something they view as rigid and dry.

But is this assessment of theology truly fair? Can a Christian truly fulfill the greatest commandment, to love God, if they don't rightly understand who He is? Maybe this question will help, can a husband truly love his wife, if he doesn't first spend time getting to know her?

Richard Baxter, author of the book, The Reformed Pastor, said the following in regards to theology:

"Nothing can be rightly known, if God be not known; nor is any study well managed, nor to any great purpose, if God is not studied. We know little of the creature, till we know it as it stands related to the Creator: single letters, and syllables uncomposed, are no better than nonsense. He who overlooks Him who is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,” and sees not Him in all who is the All of all, doth see nothing at all." | Richard Baxter - The Reformed Pastor 
If his assertion is true, then Christian's longstanding reluctance to dig deeper into the study of God may be causing more harm to the church then they are aware. If we don't rightly know God then how can we rightly love him, serve him, and live obedient lives as his ambassadors? The scriptures tell us that God is making his appeal to the world through Christians (2 Corinthians 5:20). But in our efforts to know God, will the world really get the message? Like a good tour guide, we must know who God is in order to give an accurate description of his beauty and glory. Are we being faithful in our efforts to truly know God?

This blog will be a turnoff to many, but for those who are interested in knowing God more deeply and fully I pray it will be an encouragement to you. Join me in digging deeper. Don't succumb to temptation to be spiritually lazy. God has given us his Word as our primary method to know him more passionately and accurately. I am living proof that you don't have to be highly intelligent in order to study God. Those who know me best know that I am far from a stellar student. I'm not an intellectual, but I am a Christian. I don't love to read, but I do love Jesus Christ...and therefore I want to know him as best as I can.

Let's dig deep together to study the treasures found in God's word!

For His Glory,