Let’s be painfully candid here. I’ve had my own share of arguments, and you’ve had yours. I’ve had some that were never reconciled. Thankfully, most ended in a renewed friendship. I’ve learned through the years a few strategies that have proven effective in facing difficult disagreements.
1. When in a disagreement, work hard to see the other point of view. That begins with listening. Include in the formula three qualities that don’t come easily: honesty, objectivity, and humility. That’s the full package for handling conflict God’s way. None of that comes naturally. They come to full bloom as products of the Spirit-filled life.
2. When both sides have validity, seek a wise compromise. For those who were reared as I was, even the thought of compromise makes you bristle. If you’ve got backbone, you don’t give in. You stand firm, regardless. I appreciate an individual with backbone—true grit. But one who never bends, one who refuses to negotiate toward resolution? Hardly. I admire more someone who willingly and graciously seeks a suitable solution to disagreement, without in any way compromising biblical principles.
3. When the conflict persists, care enough to work it through rather than walk out. Slamming a phone down in the middle of a conversation or breaking through the screen on the front door as you stomp into the street solves nothing. Nor does a lengthy, manipulative silent treatment benefit either party. Or bolting from a marriage. Or quitting your job in a huff. That’s not how to handle disagreements. Work it through. Stay at it. It’s some of the hardest work you’ll do, but it’s also the most rewarding.
4. When it cannot be resolved, graciously agree to disagree without becoming disagreeable. I think Paul and Barnabas did that. Paul never takes a shot at Barnabas when he later wrote to the churches they had planted. In all of his letters, you’ll not find one slam against his former companion. And there’s no evidence of Barnabas licking his wounds either.
Honestly, not all separations lead to bad endings. Some of the greatest seminaries were birthed from a crucible of conflict. Some significant churches started as a result of an ugly split. It’s never too early to start moving on.
Phillip Melanchthon, that persuasive tempering force in Martin Luther’s life, put it best in these few words: “In essentials unity. In non-essentials liberty. In all things charity.”
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
As a pastor, I have people come up to me all the time and ask me about how to overcome this or that temptation. And one conclusion I’ve come to after speaking with so many people is that every temptation is a solicitation to fulfill a God-given desire in a God-forbidden way. Let me explain…
Take food, for example. There’s nothing wrong with eating food. In fact, hunger is a God-given desire for life and sustenance. But the temptation can be to fulfill that desire through gluttony, which is obviously a sin.
This can also be applied to less tangible desires, like the desire to be loved and accepted. A God-honoring way to fulfill that desire would be to find love and acceptance in Him. But sadly, many people try to find love and acceptance solely in the things of the world and become enamored with searching and searching for something they’ll never find.
Desires are normal. Search God’s Word and discover what glorifies Him. Understand He’s created you with desires. And ask God for His leading in showing you how you can find your ultimate need and satisfaction in Him alone!
FIND SATISFACTION FOR YOUR DESIRES BY SEARCHING GOD’S WORD AND SEEKING TO HONOR HIM FIRST AND FOREMOST.
God doesn’t put you through suffering without a goal.
By Josh Daffern
If you’ve ever struggled with trying to find a purpose behind your pain, then you need to read this. Maybe it’s a sickness that has lingered far too long. Perhaps it’s a long-standing medical ailment that will only get worse over time, accompanying you for the rest of your mortal days. Maybe it’s a relationship that’s causing you pain, other family members unable to get a handle on life and you’re left suffering the collateral damage. Perhaps it’s a job that drains you or a boss whose only aim in life is to make you miserable. Or maybe your pain has to do with your faith. God is silent; God is absent; God isn’t answering your prayers.
Pain on some level will always be ever-present in your life, but you don’t need to walk through life struggling to find a purpose behind your pain. One of the reasons Christians look to Scripture for guidance and wisdom is because truth never changes and human nature never changes, so God’s Word written thousands of years ago still applies to us today. In the first century, James started his letter to the early Christians with a reminder about five ways your pain has a purpose, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4, NIV). From these eternal words, here are six ways your pain has a purpose.
You discover your own strength.
When James talks about the trials of life he describes them as a test, but not so God can see how strong you are. God already knows that. Pain is an opportunity not for God to see how strong you are, but for you to see how strong you are. If you wanted to see how much weight you could bench press at the gym, the only way to find that out would be to continue to put on more and more weight until you discovered your threshold, your limit. In the same way, pain is the only way to truly discover how strong you really are. And in Christ, you are much stronger than you think.
Pain expands your endurance.
When you’re tested through the fires of pain, what’s forged on the other side is perseverance, endurance. If you’ve never ran more than a couple of hundred yards in your life, it doesn’t matter how much you would want to, your body couldn’t physically run a marathon tomorrow. It simply doesn’t have the endurance built up. If you’re training to run a marathon for the first time, you don’t start out by running a marathon. You run a mile. And then you run three. And then you run five, and so on. Over time, your body builds up the endurance necessary to handle the herculean task of running a full marathon. In the same way, pain expands your endurance and gives you the herculean ability to persevere through even the most difficult of circumstances. There is no easy way to build up endurance. You simply have to endure something. There is a purpose behind your pain.
Pain matures you.
When perseverance finishes its work you are mature, and maturity helps you see the world differently. A three year old sees the world very differently than a thirty-three year old. When a three year old doesn’t get their way, they’ll pitch a fit and scream, roll on the floor and kick anything in sight. Being a three year old gives you full license to pitch a fit when you don’t get your way. But when you’re thirty-three you see the world differently. You don’t drop on the floor and pitch a fit when things don’t work out for you. Your perspective has changed because you have matured over the years. One of the side benefits of pain is the incredible maturation process that helps anyone who’s ever had to walk through pain for an extended amount of time.
Pain teaches you what pleasure never could.
When James says that perseverance will lead to completeness, he’s referring to a fuller scope and understanding of life that only pain can teach you. Think about two college students and decide which one you think is more prepared for the real world of life. The first college student didn’t have an easy childhood. They had to work for what they wanted, making plenty of mistakes along the way and learning lessons gained only through trial and error. Along the way they developed a resiliency born from their discovery of the strength within them overcome. The second college student has never had to want for anything in her life. Her parents handed everything to her on a silver platter, shielding her from any trials or any pain. If she ever got in trouble, her mother was in the principal’s office the very next day to help her avoid consequences. Which one of the two seems better prepared for the real world? The first one, obviously. Why? Because pain teaches you what pleasure alone never could.
Pain gives you what pleasure never could.
James finishes describing a life of perseverance as one “not lacking anything.” To get everything you need for life, pain is an absolute necessity. Without pain, you would never truly appreciate what hope is. Without pain, you would too easily forget your need for God. Without pain, you would neglect your need for saving and salvation. Pain heightens your senses and gives you a greater awareness of the more important things in life: love, God, family, hope. If you lived a life completely without pain, there would be a void in your life, a void only filled through the experience that pain gives you.
Pain is the price for a greater reward.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to a church that struggled with finding a purpose behind their pain, he wrote timeless words that still ring true today: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17, NIV). The pain of practices, injuries and the grind of a season is all worth it when a team holds up that championship trophy. God sees our pain and has a crown of life waiting in store for those of us who believe.
Find purpose behind your pain.
Whether you’re going through something big or small, pain is an ever-present constant in your life. But you never have to struggle with finding a purpose behind your pain. Take comfort and solace in the timeless words of James 1:2-4, and discover the purpose behind your pain. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4, NIV).
For more inspiring content, check out Radiant Studios’ series An Incomplete Education about a father and daughter attempting to survive after a viral pandemic plagues the world. Despite their circumstances, they ultimately find hope and joy and will inspire you to do the same, no matter what hardships you may be facing today.
The Most Often Quoted Verse in the Bible “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 If we ever memorize a verse of Scripture, it will most likely be John 3:16. It is the verse most often heard in the simplicity and beauty of a little child’s voice proudly reciting it from memory. It is the one verse showing up on large placards at football games and other major sporting events. Those signs are located where television cameras cannot avoid its message. This is the one verse that has been spoken by many older saints as they breathed their final breath. It is the entire gospel in a nutshell. Angel Martinez, the late evangelist who had memorized the entire New Testament, referred to John 3:16 as salvation’s formula and observed that it contained four very insightful truths. It is the gospel in one verse. It reveals to us salvation’s cause, its cost, its condition, and its consequence. Salvation’s Cause “For God so loved the world” The motivating factor behind God’s redemptive plan for every man and woman is His love for us. He not only loves us, He so loves us! Later, the apostle Paul sought to describe this love by speaking of its “breadth, and length, and depth, and height” (Ephesians 3:18 kjv), “God is love” (1 John 4:16), and this deep emotion is what brings about the possibility of our redemption; knowing Him in the intimate relationship of Father and child. God’s love for you is the motivating cause of salvation. “For God so loved . . .” Salvation’s Cost “that He gave His only begotten Son” Our salvation, the free pardoning of our sin, and the promise of abundant and eternal life in Christ did not come without cost. Freedom is never free; it is always bought with blood. From the early chapters of Genesis, there is a scarlet thread woven throughout the pages of Scripture revealing the blood atonement. It climaxes in the final and complete sacrifice for sin on a Roman cross outside the city gates of Jerusalem. Jesus not only spoke of His love for us, “but God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Our salvation in Christ came at a great cost: God “gave His only begotten Son.” Salvation’s Condition “that whoever believes in Him” Salvation is not spelled “d-o,” but “d-o-n-e.” Many people, however, think their own good works are the pathway to eternal life. Consequently, they do this or do that, or they don’t do this or don’t do that, all in order to earn salvation. But our salvation is done. It is already purchased for us with the blood of Christ on the cross. Our part is to believe, to transfer our trust from ourselves and our own efforts to His finished work on the cross of Calvary. To believe does not mean to simply give intellectual assent to the claims of Christ. It means to transfer our trust to Him alone for our salvation. The most pointed question in the entire Bible is asked of the apostle Paul by a Philippian jailer: “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Paul’s immediate reply follows in the next verse: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” I believe in George Washington, but I don’t believe on him; I don’t trust my life to him. Salvation’s condition is through faith–and faith alone–in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation’s Consequence “should not perish but have everlasting life” What a consequence! What a promise! Those without Christ are perishing, but those in Christ have the eternal promise of “everlasting life.” This comes not from our own human efforts, morals, or good deeds, but the promise is to those who realize that God’s love reaches down to us, was made possible through the payment of Christ, and is received by grace through faith alone; believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. An unknown, yet wise old sage once explained John 3:16 like this: For God . . . the greatest Lover so loved . . . the greatest degree the world . . . the greatest company that He gave . . . the greatest act His only begotten Son . . . the greatest gift that whoever . . . the greatest opportunity believes . . . the greatest simplicity in Him . . . the greatest attraction should not perish . . . the greatest promise but . . . the greatest difference have . . . the greatest certainty everlasting life . . . the greatest possession As you memorize this old and oft-repeated verse this week, meditate on the fact that love is always something you do and remember that “God so loved the world that He gave.” Yes, God knows you, loves you, and has a wonderful plan for your life. Content drawn from The Joshua Code.