by Pastor Tim Burt
I have written on the subject of conflict many times in the past. Conflict tries to barge into and violate our life far too often. For most, conflict is painful to work through unless you have a hard heart and just don’t’ give a rip about people, or unless you’ve become skillful at working through it.
God wants us to love people to the very best of our ability. Conflict tries to undo that. For that reason, God doesn’t want us to love people with only our very limited capacity. He wants us to love people by His standard and with His capacity. You can know that God will always give you the grace to manage conflict according to His standard and capacity. The Holy Spirit will remind you of His provision of grace and then help you navigate conflict in a spirit of love that in ways, almost seem like an out-of-body experience you do it so well. It will want to make you thank God!
Growing in God’s love will produce a strengthening of your character that will honor Him, produce fruit for Him, and that will serve you well all of your life. One of the strengths shaped will be the ability to restrain your thoughts and words from running wild in times of conflict, and instead submit them to the Lord. As you learn to do that, you will receive His peaceful and calming guidance and wisdom – something that IS a supernatural experience. Each and every time you let God’s love (vs. your love) work within you, this power is at work transforming your character. It makes you a better person more closely conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. It will serve you and Him well.
When conflict arises, the tennis match of mental warfare - of arguing, debate, fault-finding and blame begins volleying back and forth in your mind. This is one reason people lose sleep. When they should be sleeping, their mind is in constant replay while bitterness begins to take root. Managing conflict should have stopped this before it started but when it doesn't and things get bad, you still need to get it under control. You do so by submitting all your thinking to the Lord. James 3:17 says, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."
Imagine yourself working in a factory with thoughts coming down the line on a conveyor belt. You let the good ones through put you pick up the bad ones and throw them in the trash bucket by your side. Let today’s Fresh Manna verse become deeply rooted in your heart and memorize it. As you yield your thoughts to the Lord, let these words be the rudder and your guide of discernment for the thoughts you allow and the thoughts you trash from your thinking. Ask the Lord to help you rethink things trying to comply with the wisdom of this verse. James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Are your thoughts pure and rightly motivated by God’s standard? Are they peace-loving? Are they considerate? Are they submissive – taking in the other person’s side of the equation? Are they full of mercy and good fruit? Are they impartial (viewed with an open mind) and sincere? If they aren’t, dump them in the trash bin. If you think, “All my thoughts are trash,” then yield yourself to this verse and ask the Lord to help you rethink things with these words of wisdom and guidance as your rudder to guide all future thoughts – especially in conflict!
If you will let James 3:17 restrain your mind in how you think through everything, then the love of God – His love – will begin to work mightily in your life. It will literally transform you. It will transform your mind in the way God wants it to be transformed. Romans 12:2 “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.” This will produce the strength of restraint – the ability to be in control of your thoughts and words guided by the Holy Spirit at work within you.
You’ll be able to restrain your tongue and not say things you regret. You’ll be able to capture thoughts instantly allowing right thinking and casting down wrong thinking. You’ll become more patient, more reserved, and one that operates in godly love and wisdom. Over time, you will literally be able to step back and observe just how God has transformed you into new person.
So, take some time and write these words down. Put them in your pocket and carry them around until you have committed them to memory. Take them to the Lord in prayer. You don’t have to wait till conflict comes. Start that conveyor belt and begin trashing any thoughts that don’t line up. Ask God to help you see things through His eyes and let His love help you see more clearly. The practice of restraint – biting your tongue and realigning your thoughts is life changing and will reshape who you are! It’s powerful!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2012 All rights reserved