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,


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