Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Devotion 2.15.17

Conflict, a word that is both a noun and a verb.  There is a conflict occurring between the family, the employees at work, the parties in power, and even among the nations.  They conflict over beliefs, direction, actions taken, comments, and decisions.  Conflict can be healthy in that it shapes us and makes us stronger in the long run, while maybe being unpleasant at the time.  When we conflict, it can possibly harm us because words are hard to take back, arguments can escalate, and the conflict itself can lead to death.  The Vietnam War, officially titled an "armed conflict," had a total death toll of 58,000+ (US Archives).

Conflict is not in God's design.  Conflict emerges from the ash heap of the fall of man.  Eyes opened, discovered they were naked, hid from God, lied to God, blamed the other, and now they knew good from evil because evil had entered their hearts (Genesis 3).  Conflict now knows all aspects of our lives.  We conflict within ourselves ("For I do not understand my own action. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." Romans 7:15).  We conflict with others (Cain and Abel, David and Uriah, Christ and Peter, Saul before he became Paul).  We conflict with God (best expressed by David in Psalm 22 when he laments, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?").

And yet, in our conflict, we lift our eyes to God.  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3, "According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder, I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it.  Let each one take care how he builds upon it.  For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw - each one's work will become manifest for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done." (10 - 13)

We pray that as conflict arises, God uses it to test us and to shape us rather than allow conflict to destroy us.  We pray that we continue to look to the cross of Jesus as the foundation that we build upon, including when we conflict with one another.

Hope Men's Ministry

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