Who do you “think” you are?
Over the years I have watched people and listened to them. I have heard them confess things, speak great words of faith, speak the hallelujahs and praises to the Lord UNTIL the storm hits. Until conflicts hit. It’s at these times that you find out who you really are.
I have said before faith must be tested and great faith must be tested greatly. I just got a letter from a friend of mine from Ohio. She was speaking how wonderful it is sleeping out at night under the stars with the kids, catching lighting bugs and enjoying summer weather after the winter and spring.
But you know those times are great times and we should thank God for them but know for sure conflict is coming. When conflict comes little Andi, Riley and Maddox are going to be watching how daddy and mommy are going to be handling the conflicts.
Now Mom and Dad are bringing up the children in the ways of the Lord but that will not exclude them from conflicts in this world. We are like Lot living in Sodom and Gomorrah with conflicts knocking at our doors.
Jesus said in this world we will have tribulation, pressure, anguish, troubles. But Christ said but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.
Now how you go through conflict determines the character of a person. It does not really matter how much you know when conflicts arise but true character rises to the top when you go through a conflict. That is who you REALLY are.
So when you face a conflict and you lose it, get angry, shut down, isolate yourself, become bitter and resentful, unforgiving, hard hearted put walls up etc that is your character, the real you.
That’s not the praise the Lord, Glory to God, Hallelujah Sunday morning, hugging necks, shaking hands person. We’re talking about the REAL you.
That’s one of the reasons conflicts are important in our lives they reveal to us the real us within ourselves. Honestly sometimes we just want to sweep them under the rug and not deal with them BUT God wants us to deal with them.
You see we can have some pretty ugly stuff going on in the inside of us. Thoughts we think, words we say, actions and reactions during times of conflict reveal to us our character.
Character is defined as the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing. It would be a variety of things put together that becomes the total sum of a person.
When milking cows with my grandmother in Alabama the cream in the milk would rise to the top. When we go through a conflict certain things rise to the top that need to be skimmed off of our lives. They are just ungodly things.
The Lord wants us to become more like Jesus:
Rom_8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
God wants to make us like Jesus, it is a progressive work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and will be accomplished IF we yield to the teaching, instruction, guidance, leadership of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
We run into a problem living in this country. It is called Syncretism. We try to form a union of this western culture and Christianity. Our western culture celebrates individualism and self promotion. Christianity calls believers to love and serve others. They oppose one another they are never to be brought into union with each other.
So when we go through conflicts allot has to do with the culture we grew up in. What is our culture? It is a complex system of assumptions, practises, stories and beliefs that guide how the common person thinks and acts as well as what they value.
So you can see how culture kicks in when we go through conflicts. Our minds really do need to be renewed. So when we are going through a conflict are we focused on individualism and self promotion or are we responding in love and servant hood?
When you try to blend together secular values with historic Christian ideals we ignorantly adopt habits, therapies and practises that undermine our call to be a separate and holy people.
Let me bring this to a close, I am probably making this boring for some, but it is very important for our lives. Conflicts bring out the real us, it shines a light on the inside of us, our character.
We see the ugly thoughts, words and actions during this time of conflict. Sometimes it is worry, fear, doubt, unbelief, depression etc or other things. What do we do when we are confronted with who we are and want to have these things removed from our lives?
Well if you try and restore and reconcile personal relationships without addressing the underlying systemic and theological roots of a problem or a conflict it will ALWAYS come up inadequate.
Where do we start when we are tying to resolve conflict in our lives? It starts by admitting we are sick. We have an unhealthy relationship that needs healing.
We have to honestly accept, openly confess and intentionally address the underlying cause of our conflicts. Then we have to allow God to repair and restore our lives and our relationship with Him and others.
Well, Randy, how do you go about doing something like that? Well understand you need God, the Holy Spirit, His Word AND community. The body of Christ is needed in our lives also.
We need Senior pastors, deacons, godly friends to encourage, warn and correct us. We need others to speak truth and love into our lives.
God is calling us into a culture formed by the Cross. Conflict should bring an awareness of how unChrist like we really are. You should want this negativeness out of you and become more like Christ. This causes you to have relationship with God, talks with God, and faith in God to do something for you that you cannot do yourself.
We are so individualistic and self absorbed that we think we can fix or heal ourselves in this sick condition but we cannot, only God can.
Humility brings us to our knees before God. We see the way we think, speak and our actions and see how we need to change. It forces us to bow our knee and say I need your help Lord, I need your grace and the power of the Holy Spirit to change me:
Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Gal_3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
If you want to be conformed to the image of Christ it will take faith in Christ and His Finished Work on that Cross. It will take the Grace of God and the Power of the Holy Spirit to change you. This forces you to have relationship with God in order for this beauty to come forth.
We are just so independent and so self absorbed that it takes allot to get us to our knees where the good life is at, so God allows conflict to get us to come to a place of provision, healing and help in this relationship with Him.
God bless you, have a blessed day and weekend!!!