Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? 1 Corinthians 3:1-4
If I see jealousy, quarreling, strife, contention, or argumentativeness in my life – that is a flag to me that I am still worldly and not Spirit-filled.
When I submit fully to Christ, His Spirit is in control – my sinful flesh is no longer in control. Here are portraits in Scripture that show the difference between a life that is controlled by the flesh vs. by God’s Spirit:
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:13-26
How do I respond when I disagree with someone? Do I attack them verbally? Do I filibuster my point? Do I argue? Do I demand my way? Do I determine that I will win and get what I want at any cost? Do I hurt people with my words when I don’t agree with them? Do I care more about being right than about loving people with the love of Christ?
I would love for us to seek to understand others more than trying to force our point of view.
As women of God, we don’t have to argue or be contentious. We don’t have to fight. We don’t have to complain. We can share our hearts respectfully. We can speak our minds and needs clearly, briefly, calmly, and with the love of God. We can speak truth with unconditional love. We don’t try to control other people or make people do what we want. We know ourselves. We treat ourselves with respect. We respect God. We respect others. We know the truth of God’s Word. We seek God’s will above all else and we trust our sovereign God to work on our behalf – even when people don’t agree with us. God can change hearts in ways we cannot. We can rest in His peace and sovereignty and trust Him to make the way straight for us.
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov. 3:6
How has God prompted you to handle a situation where someone wanted to engage in conflict or you felt tempted to get involved in conflict?
How does God want us to be salt and light in this dark world in times of contention at home, at work, with friends, or at church?
I Corinthians 13:4-8
Handling Conflict in a Way That Honors Christ