Conflict - Jesus Army Life

photo by YanivG of flickr.comConflict is interesting stuff. I'm not talking about the all out war, shouting in your face kind of conflict. I'm talking about the slightly tense, vibey atmosphere, not seeing eye to eye kind of conflict. How does love deal with that? It's not easy to return love when you are the focus of the antagonism.

I guess you keep a clear head, choose to love and do your best to work out the problem.

I don't mind conflict. Creative tension can be, well, creative. I don't always cope with it well but it doesn't particularly scare me. The trouble is that you don't always see it coming do you? If you know it's coming you can meet it head on but when it catches you unawares it can be an entirely different matter.

("Did he just say that to me? No, surely he didn't mean it that way. Perhaps he did? What's he getting at? Have I upset him? I'm still calm, why isn't he?") By the time I've been through this thought process I'm often well and truly on the defensive and so much on the back foot that I feel like I've just done a few rounds with a professional boxer. It usually takes a bit of courage to throw myself back into the ring.

Now I freely admit I've got my blind spots but you get the point...

I'm not referring to any situation in particular. We all fall out with people now and again - I guess I just find it interesting that often the only way to resolve an issue is by getting riled up first. Isn't there a more easy going relaxed way to do this stuff? Can't colleagues/friends trust each other?... Why not?

Some people seem to spend their life dealing with situations by getting angry about them, others can't seem to even trust someone until they've fallen out with them first. I admire people who adequately express their anger, there are justifiable situations where it's necessary to do so, I'm just not sure how much unnecessary upset is really about the spirit of peace.

I mean has anyone really meditated on what Jesus meant by being peacemakers? The glib answers don't help - I can imagine many scenarios where establishing peace actually does require a bit of vehemence first (what else is justice about if not caring enough to get annoyed about it?) but often there just seems to be so much selfishness involved...

photo by YanivG of flickr.com


Becoming 'like God' - Jesus Army Life

Learning to change takes time. It takes determination and a willingness to continue despite many failures. It is not an overnight thing, it will not happen in a day, but it is possible. With accountability, with goals and discipline, with self denial where it counts, with a mind to fight, with perception and repeated analysis of your own attitude it is possible to take hold of the victory you need.

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old Photo by zachstern of flickr.comself, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

...Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find but what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

"Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
Ephesians 4-5

Paul insists that we must change. His command comes with the authority of Christ. Once we have given ourselves to what is wrong we are in danger of losing all sensitivity to the issue. No longer is there any barrier, or any defence to that wrong, all that is left is the passion or lust that drove us in that direction in the first place, and if we don't turn back we are lost. "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." (Proverbs 25:28)

So we must stop whatever it is that corrupts us. Stopping can take time, but it must be definite, there must be a continual willingness to die to our old ways. But we will never be made new until we are obedient. That is the work of God in us. Pray to get your sensitivity back, God will renew you. But stopping comes first, that's where the hard work comes, the exposing to the light, the learning to understand what God sees as right; it takes a lot of work, but you have no choice you cannot stay stuck in sin. And then, ah yes, we can enter into a newness of life, we can begin to be "like God".

though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the spirit like God
(1 Peter 4:6)

Photo by zachstern of flickr.com