Jesus is our Strategy

Read:

"And there occurred a sharp disagreement . . ." Acts 15:39


Reflect:

The people in the Bible were real, there stories were unvarnished by fiction. No names were changed to protect the innocent. The quarrel between Paul and Barnabas was no different. In fact, the Bible doesn't gloss over the conflict between these two friends and fellow ministers.


In this story of Godly people having a disagreement, we see ourselves. There will be times of fallout between friends and family. There are healthy steps which lead to freedom. However, we learn from this story that our conflict with others need not hinder the work of the gospel.


Recognize the distortions

It's better to face pain than distort it, confronting the way things really are is a decision of freedom and vibrancy. Choosing to face and feel the force of a situation involves a deliberate act of worship based on God’s trustworthiness.


Refuse denial

Pretending a conflict is not important seems like a high spiritual posture. We tend to come up with different ways to avoid facing the truth of our situations. However, facing up to our brokenness is necessary for spiritual and emotional health. 


Repent of deadness

Numbing out may provide temporary relief, but it can never bring healing or freedom. Suffocating emotions is a feeble substitute for wholeness and will only make us more tired and disconnected from God. Healing requires an act of faith, we turn from our best practices and turn to God. 


Reclaim God’s design

The enemy creates lies to lodge in our heart designed to fracture our image in God, "God doesn't like me." "He's punishing me." "I can't trust anyone, they will only hurt me." "I deserve this." Mending our image in God returns to us the longing and ability to have healthy relationships with others. 


Thankfully, this process does not require brute strength. Jesus is our strategy. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to Jesus, you'll find both yourself and Jesus.


Respond:

Think of someone with whom you've had a conflict and prayerfully work through the four steps.