The first part of this post is found by clicking here. Notice the title of this post is “Conflict Management.” The reason is because outside of God’s grace I’m not sure conflict can be resolved. Conflict is something we will always have to deal with. My desire is for us to deal with it in a Christ honoring manner.
Yesterday it was suggested that Cravings Cause Conflict as found in James 4:1-2. The reason we argue, fight, and go to war with others is because we want something (A craving)… can’t obtain it… so we go on the offensive which results in conflict. However, it is possible for quarrels to cease, wars to end, and enemies to reconcile as this picture suggests AND is promised by God.
When it comes to addressing the source of conflict, our cravings, God gives us several important concepts: Humility, Contentment, Reliance, Trust.
Humility. James wrote, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…” God is God and we aren’t. Repeat… God is God, we aren’t! HE is the one who determines what is good, best, right, and proper for us… because He is God. The sooner we understand, believe, accept, and rest in that, the better off we will be! As long as we think we are on the throne of our life (In control of our life) we will be in conflict… WITH GOD!
Aside. May I suggest that all the conflicts in and around us we are engaged in can be traced back to the fact that we are in a conflict with God? And until THAT conflict is settled, all the others will never be settled? Read this again before continuing on…
Contentment. Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content…” This directly addresses our cravings. By definition, we crave things we don’t have yet desire to have. This is called covetousness, which is idolatry. In Matthew 6:25-33 Jesus said God knows what we need and provides it for us. To crave or covet is to think/believe we know more than God. Therefore, what we crave exposes the condition of our heart. Jesus said that the only craving that is Godly is when we crave God (Righteousness). Therefore the way to eliminate (?) the cravings we have is to be content.
Reliance. Paul also wrote, “I can do all things through Christ…” Most of us rely upon ourselves first, then God to fill in the gaps. That’s backwards! God must be our first thought rather than our last resort. When it comes to being content, GOD is the only source that holds water. The path to relying upon God is to know Him intimately.
Trust. In Proverbs it is written, “Trust in The Lord with all your heart…” Reliance and trust go hand in hand. We are incapable of knowing anything on God’s level and it is impossible for us to comprehend fully what we need. That knowledge is reserved for God alone. Therefore we must walk by faith in God, not by what we see… believe… or understand reality to be.
Our inability to be content is first and foremost defined by a conflict in our relationship with God. When we are not content… when we rely upon ourselves… when we don’t trust God, it is then that we have quarrels… fight with one another… and go to war. Thus “working out our salvation” means to be content… to rely completely upon God… and trust Him for everything in life. God give us the strength…