CONFIDENCE IN CONFLICT
I don’t want us to fear conflict in normal relationships – if you are in danger in your relationship, please reach out for help as soon as you safely can (www.thehotline.org or call the police or a trusted Christian counselor or pastor). I used to be terrified of any conflict myself – but after the healing God has done in my own marriage and relationships and after way over 50,000 comments on my blogs in the past 4 years, I have seen what a powerful tool conflict can be in the hands of God to accomplish amazing things!
Conflict is often a platform God gives us to bring great glory to Himself! Our godly, Spirit-filled response during conflict can draw people to Christ in powerful ways like nothing else can.
The key to our ability to have confidence is that God’s Spirit must be in charge – not our flesh. If our sinful flesh is in control, we will make a big mess and hurt other people (and ourselves) in destructive ways. If God’s Spirit is in charge, He will take the conflict and use it to help us share His truth in love. It may even result in people being convicted of sin and may lead to healing, spiritual growth, and greater maturity. I have also seen conflict result in people coming to Christ!
THE BENEFITS THAT CAN RESULT FROM CONFLICT
- Conflict sharpens and prunes us.
- It helps us draw closer to others when approached in a healthy way.
- It helps us understand others better when we seek to understand their different viewpoints and perspectives.
- It can reveal sin in our lives and in the lives of others.
- It is a necessary part of intimacy between imperfect people and it can lead to great good.
- It helps us see how dependent we are on Christ and helps us grow in spiritual maturity when approached properly.
Note – conflict does not have to mean yelling, violence, rage, contention, division, hatred, and bitterness. Conflict simply means a disagreement or misunderstanding. We can have conflict without sinning. We can have conflict without drama when God’s Spirit is involved.
LET’S GO MUCH DEEPER – TO THE NECESSITY OF CONFLICT IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE:
Jesus tells us – over and over again – we will be persecuted if we live for Him.
If we belong to Christ, we WILL be engaged in conflict every day.
- Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12)
- If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. (John 15:18)
- But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44)
- Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:12-14)
There were a few decades where things were pretty peaceful for believers in the Western world. That is changing. Let’s be willing to lay down our lives to live for God – whether that means we are willing to die as actual martyrs, or we are willing to lose our jobs, our homes, and even our families if necessary – for Christ.
Certainly, we will need to be willing to lose the approval of people in order to gain the approval of Jesus.
When we stand firm in Christ, we don’t have to be shaken by the hatred of the world and those who don’t know and don’t live for Christ. We can see them with His eyes and love them with His love even as they hate us. We are not going to fit into the world if we live fully for Christ. That is a guarantee. In fact, we CAN’T fit into the world! God says that friendship with the world is enmity toward Himself (James 4:4).
Many people are ensnared by the enemy and have been taken captive to do his will. The things they say and do come directly from him because they are Satan’s slaves and don’t have the power of God’s Spirit controlling them. Those who live for the flesh are controlled by the enemy to do his bidding. Those who are controlled by God’s Spirit are His servants to do His bidding.
There are only two sides.
I think if we understood that we are in the middle of a fierce spiritual battle, we wouldn’t stand around bewildered when we are attacked by others. We would understand the source. We would take care to put our armor on each day. We would not take the attacks personally but understand who the real enemy is. We would pray for those attacking us to be set free by the power of Christ and to experience the salvation and regeneration of God. Their eternal souls and destiny is at stake.
- Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:10-13
Life is not ultimately about worldly things! I am writing with tears, my dear sisters. Our lives are about so much more than things like:
- getting what we want in the moment
- our temporary happiness
- our feeling loved by a man today
- whether we live in the house we want or not
- whether we get to have a date night
- whether we get to redo the kitchen or not
- whether we get married or not
- whether we have children or not
These things are important in this temporary world – but these things are fleeting!
We are at war.
There are tens of thousands of demons and angels battling over us, our families, our cities, and our countries. There is a sovereign God who is over it all. This world is not our home. It is the domain of Satan at the moment. We are strangers and aliens passing through. Our home is in heaven! We will experience luxury, comfort, and all the emotional/spiritual intimacy we desire for billions and billions of years when we are finally home. Right now our job is to abide in Christ, to be filled with His Spirit, to be available for use in His kingdom, to rescue the captives, to allow God to use us to help set people free from sin and the enemy.
It is true that the closer we are to Christ, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace” (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus).
- You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4:4-6
We can be bold for Christ as His Spirit empowers us and fills us. We have no good or power in ourselves. We are totally dependent on Christ. We must be absolutely submitted and yielded to His control. Then it is ALL HIM working in us. We must get rid of all self, self-effort, and self-will.
God promises that we will have trials, suffering, and persecution. He also promises to be with us through all of it and to use it all for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory (Romans 8:28-29). God’s perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).
May God open our eyes to see as He sees! May He empower us to be warriors in His kingdom to bring many to Himself. May we stop shrinking back in fear as if mere men are worthy of our fear and let us have healthy fear for God. May He empower us with His love to overcome the evil in the world and to bring great glory to His Name! May He cause us to rise to become a holy generation, set apart to accomplish His purposes in this dark world. May He use us to rescue the perishing and save the dying. May we set aside our own agendas and desires and embrace God’s agenda, His plan, His will, His purpose, and His desires!