Monday, December 9, 2013

For Peace Sake: Overcoming Conflicts

Image is from 

I learned something today, or I should say, came to a better understanding of. It's something that is really important if we are to become more and more like Jesus Christ, if we are to truly be complete in Him. I learned that it is truly important to make ourselves " peaceably with all men", as we are told to do in Romans 12:18 and Hebrews 12:14. Even when it seems truly impossible, it is important that we rely in the Holy Spirit to help us to do this. And we can do this through actively disciplining our bodies and bringing them into subjection to obey Christ Jesus, just like Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 9:27. We know that what is impossible for us is possible for God, and just like Jesus mentioned in John 15:5, we can do nothing without Him. He's the vine and we are the branches, and whoever abides in Him and He in them, will bring forth much fruit. One of the fruits of God Holy Spirit is self-control, it is something that is needed if one is to be able to live peaceably with all men,  if one is to be an obedient servant of God, and if one is able to be angry and not sin. 

Why is it that sometimes it's so difficult to avoid arguments and fights with others even after we have been told that, "A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition..."? 2 Timothy 2:24-25.
Why is it so hard most of the time to be "Swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath....." like we're instructed to do in James  1:19? We're told that the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God, and in Proverbs 14:29, "He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly" Ouch!  That last bit is many of us if we were being truly honest with ourselves.  The truth is, being honest with ourselves, for many of us, is not somethign we do very well.
If we ask ourselves, "Who in our lives so far has told us the most lies?" Many of us would think of another person. The devil has lied to us a huge heap load, that  firstly must be noted, but we have contributed quite a bit to keeping ourselves deceived. Some might say it's to build up self-esteem and confidence, lying to yourself, but a person could have all the self-esteem and confidence in the world and still be considered a fool. 

The Bible is filled with useful instructions, we hear all of it, but find it hard to execute these instructions when we end up in situations which require us to apply these teachings. James urges us to be, "doers of the word and not merely hearers only, deceiving ourselves." 5:22, James clearly shows in that verse that it is possible to deceive yourself. But why is it that we still somehow cannot avoid strife, confrontations, disputes, arguments?

There are several reasons for this that I came to realize today.

1. Selfishness. More often in an argument we are more concerned with our own feelings, with getting our point across, that we make no room to be swift to hear.

2. Pride. Most of the time we take on arguments like it's some school debate that we must win everytime. Like it's all about getting the next person to acknowledge that they're wrong and you're not. "I'm right, you're wrong, and this won't be over until you understand that!" The thing about that is, when the next person is doing the same thing, how will there ever be a sensible resolution? 

3. A feeling of Entitlement. This for me is my biggest issue. I always feel like the person I am speaking to owes me a certain level of respect, I mean don't we all feel that way, and is that so wrong? That a person isn't suppose to talk to us a certain way, to treat us in a way that is not very nice. In this we feel  right, we all want respect, we all deserve it don't we, and we all try to live by those nifty little platitudes like, " If you want respect you have to give it." or "You have to earn my respect first if you want me to respect you." Because of that when we see someone lack respect for us, odds are we might end up in a confrontation with that person and end up behaving carnally. "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food: for until now you were unable to receive it, and even now you are still not able: for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal behaving like mere men?" 1 Corinthians 3:1-3. 

As disciples of Jesus Christ are we really to have this kind of mind, or are we supposed to have within us the same mind that is within Christ Jesus? It is written in Philippians 2:6, that Jesus, "...being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of man."  If we are to be like Christ we ought to be humble like He was. It is also written that Jesus, "will not quarrel or cry out, no one will hear His voice in the streets.." Matthew 12:19. We are told that, "Let nothing be done from strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself" Philippians:2-3. More often, we are quarreling, and usually over the silliest thing. Our voices are heard in the streets, and we are more concerned with our self esteem not esteeming others better than ourselves. 

When we are more concerned about receiving a certain level of respect from a person because we feel we deserve it, we end up  allowing this feeling of entitlement to dictate how we react in a certain situation. Instead of obeying the word of God, obeying the promptings of His Holy Spirit, we willfully forget that we are to be slow when it comes to speaking and slow to wrath, so we end up dealing with situations impulsively based on how we see fit. And the outcome is usually one that is not pleasing to God. Even Jesus Himself who deserves all the Glory, wasn't concerned with getting individuals  respect, or did he get upset because He felt people didn't respect Him. He never allowed the way persons treated Him to be the measuring stick by which he would in turn treat that person, meaning He didn't emulate the negative way people treated Him, He never repaid evil for evil. We are told in Epehesians 5:1-2, "Therefore be imitators of God like dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma."

I think about how  many people are in prison or the grave because they did something they felt was justified because somebody disrespected them, or was mean to them. We must abandon this way of thinking, this self serving way of thinking. We must put on the mind of Christ Jesus, we must act as thought we have a renewed mind, not a carnal one. Esteeming others better than ourselves, because this is pleasing to God. We must not react harshly to others because we feel that  we deserve to be treated kindly at all times, that we deserve respect and they're not doing it. Instead we must focus more or giving these things than receiving them. Jesus said we will be hated because of Him. How can we who have a mind that we deserve certain things from people ever be able to really walk humbly with God, if we're so built up with pride? If we can't even bear those who don't respect us, how will we be able to bear those who (will) hate us because we follow Christ?

Today I got really upset. There are many things that happen to me, sometimes daily,  that I feel are just not fair, but I will leave with you  a few scriptures that are helpful for when we feel we are unfairly treated and cannot go on, hopefully these can help you to bear with others for peace sake. 

"For this is commendable, if because of conscience towards God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully." 1 Peter 2:19. 

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us therefore lay aside every weigh, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,  who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-3. 

Each of us have a cross, let us bear it remembering that, "For the scripture says, 'Whoever believes on Him will never be put to shame." Romans 10:11. 


Brenda said...

We all go through a process of learning Sateigdra, and we will know if a certain scripture is speaking to us by whether the thing it is speaking about is in our lives at the time. That is what I love about the teachings of the Holy Spirit, He gives us the food that we need at the proper time in order to enable us to grow spiritually, having our minds renewed in Christ. If we went sailing through life continuing to act according to what our carnal mind tells us to do and how to respond to others, we would never be changed into His likeness. I have realized more and more in my thirty years of learning how vastly different my carnal ways and thoughts are from God's ways and thoughts, and how much higher God's ways and thoughts are. If I try to do what the Holy Spirit is teaching me to do, and try to change when I am instructed to change there is a peace that follows that is above all the feelings that I might have if I 'got the better' of the other person involved. In fact there is only a feeling of sorrow and regret if I know what the Lord is telling me when trying to change me in an area and I fail to respond. Before I came to the Lord I used to think I was in a 'broad place' because I could defend myself verbally with others, and did things that appeared to bring me great pleasure, but really it led me into a very restrictive place of having all the selfishness, pride and anger that you have spoken of, robbing me of peace. Being in the Lord takes me through a narrow gate into a broad place of learning forgiveness, self control, kindness and all the things of the Spirit that take away 'self'. I am learning daily and believe that I shall be learning for the rest of my time on this earth, but I would rather be in this 'school' than the one I used to be in anyday.
God bless you Sateigdra for sharing, lovely encouraging post. I came over to your blog yesterday and noticed that lovely comment from Tim. I think we all think in a similar way.

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

Hey Brenda, your comment is encouraging too. I especially agree where you said "and we will know if a certain scripture is speaking to us by whether the thing it is speaking about is in our lives at the time" that is so true.

Yesterday I was really upset Brenda. Me and someone I live with always argue, almost every other day, and I just told God, I'm tired of this. I'm tired of arguing. I was so used to arguing with my housemate that even when he wasn't there, thinking about something he would say or do made me really upset, that when he got home and asked me to do him a favour, i told him no becuase before he came I made myself angry at him by thinking of old arguments.

I came in my room and thought to myself, how can I be tired of arguing when in reality the reason we argue isn't entirely this guys fault, it's mine as well. I always feel I have to get him to understand I deserve respect, and that he can't have things his way in here. I realized, not only doesn't he listen to me ever, I'm really only interested in my comfort level, things going my way, and in that I'm not different from him. This really made me go wow. I really need to pray about this.

There are times that I have prayed and asked God to show me the error in my ways. I don't ever want to be doing something that displeases God but have no clue I'm doing it, i want to know where i went wrong so that I can repent of it and hopefully not repeat the same thing.

I think this was an example of God showing me, why it is we always argue. I refused to do things God way, which is slow to wrath and slow to speak, I always dealt with things my way, which usually makes me feel a deep regret an even makes me cry after I've done it, because I know I was wrong.

I know I still have more growing to do. And I know God is working on me. I just hope to share all that I learn with others so we may all be encouraged on our walk.

Brenda said...

It is always good to share our testimonies and our trials Sateigdra, particularly when we recognize just who it is that wants us to refuse to do things God's way. Our spiritual enemy, Satan, just loves it when he thinks he has won. The lovely thing is that God is far greater, loves us more than anyone could, understands our weaknesses and is long suffering while He teaches us His ways. The scripture 'Take every thought captive, bringing it into obedience to Christ' is often used with me to recognize that the enemy is crouching at the door or has managed to deceive me.

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

Thanks Brenda. I really appreciate your comments, they're very helpful. I find myself always going to that scripture "Take every thought captive, bringing it into obedience to Christ". Because there are times I have very strange thoughts and I remember I got to make my thoughts obey Christ not the enemy. Thanks again Brenda. May God continue to bless and strengthen you sis. :-)

Susan said...

This is an area I struggle in as well (don't we all?) and am very thankful that Jesus forgives 70 x 7 times! And I know I should be just that forgiving as well. My trouble is with those who do not ask for forgiveness when they have done a very grievous wrong...I should have that forgiving spirit regardless of whether they ask me to forgive them or not, my pride just doesn't let me get past this one, but I know the Lord is greater than I, and He is creating a new me, bit by bit, that I cannot take credit for because I did it by my works...He does it by His Spirit in me making me anew. Then it is His Spirit in me working and the fruits of His Spirit coming out of my life, effortlessly, me resting in His goodness. If I am faithful to confess my sins, He is faithful to forgive my sins. :)

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

Susan I think what I have mainly struggle/struggled with is a lot of the things I mentioned here in this post, especially pride I think, refusing to let go of what I think I deserve, even if letting go of certain things I think i have rights to will bring peace. I am honestly still growing in this area.

Also, not repaying evil for evil. If someone has wronged me in any way, or I simply don't like them very much because of repeated wrong and annoying things they have done to me, I find myself justifying why I shouldn't be kind to that person at any time, and I honestly know this is not the way Christ would deal with this type of stuff. So I pray for Him to help me to follow His pattern daily and not be wise in my own eyes, which I have repeatedly been guilty of. I pray for Him to remove all of the stone from my heart, to make my heart tending and willing to do His will.

Like u said, bit by bit God's working on us. "He who has begun a good work in you will continue in it until the day of the Lord Jesus Christ", is a scripture that gives me hope and helps me to be confident in the Lord.

Brenda said...

Hi Sateigdra,
just popping over to say 'Hope you are well'. Amen to "He who has begun a good work in you will continue in it until the day of the Lord Jesus Christ",

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

Thanks for dropping by Brenda, all is well. I hope all is well with you over there. I know it's probably really cold. It's a bit cool down here. And Amen that God is faithful and will not only start what He said He will do but He will also complete it. I rejoice in this.

Susan said...

Hi Sateigdra

About the Liebster award...I'm new at this myself, lol, I think it is just a little game to help us find out a little about each other and to share each others blogs to find new "friends" that we can learn from and help each other through encouragements etc as well as sharing our love of the Lord.

What you do is make a post that answers my 11 questions, have 11 questions of your own that you would like to learn from the bloggers that you pick, then pick 3-11 blogs that you would like to nominate. Do what you can, I don't look for it to be followed other than something that can be shared in the joy of the Lord :)

Susan said...

Oh and the reason for it (I almost forgot) is to help others learn about blogs that don't have a large following, so pick blogs that have 200 or less followers.

Patrinas Pencil said...

'The truth is, being honest with ourselves, for many of us, is not something we do very well.'

True! I think its those blind spots ...that we can't bend our heads around. That's one good reason that relationship is so vital. and scripture says..'do not give up assembling together' ...because of this very thing... and the fact that we are to be an ongoing encouragement to the rest of the body. Where would we be or what would we look like without God's source of truth over us.

Thankfully, He's not finished with us yet! As long as we're still in school...there's hope that we will eventually see the image of His glory looking back at us...when we hold that mirror up to our faces. If we were created in His image...and Christ came to restore in us what Adam gave away... I'm going to keep looking for for the glory of God in me...instead of what the enemy has convinced me to see.

blessings to you SK
patrina <")>><

Sateigdra L Knowles said...

I thank you for your feedback Patrina. You said, "Thankfully, He's not finished with us yet! As long as we're still in school...there's hope that we will eventually see the image of His glory looking back at us...when we hold that mirror up to our faces." That is so encouraging to me, and I needed it because many times I feel really sad, like I'm not...... I don't know, I just feel like I'm not where I'm supposed to be. I can't describe the feeling in words. I feel I have ways to go. Thank you for those encouraging words. :-)