Conflict; January 6, 2020

Luke 20:18 “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

What happened to “gentle Jesus, meek and mild?” This isn’t the image we usually have of Christ, but Jesus kept dropping hints of this sort throughout His ministry. Perhaps the most famous of those is, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) We are not to seek conflict, but we are not to be surprised by it or even necessarily avoid it. Paul told us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) However, it doesn’t always depend on us, and trouble will come looking for us. Paul was very blunt with Timothy: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12) He was actually only echoing what Jesus had said in the Upper Room just before His crucifixion: “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:20) That’s why the words here are so important, and should be both comforting and encouraging. When we are in Christ, whatever is true of Him is true of us, so this assures us of ultimate victory. Those who come against us don’t stand a chance! Again, we are not to seek conflict, but we are never to be afraid of it. Whatever might happen to us physically on this earth, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

In my own life I have a strong conflict-avoidance response, and that isn’t always good. For example, I’m not to be politically correct just to avoid conflict, because that can easily block me from speaking the truth in love, if that truth happens to step on some toes. I’m not to go looking for conflict, as I’ve already said, but neither am I to run from it, if others bring it. The important thing is that I abide in Christ. Considering what He suffered, that is no guarantee of an easy road, but it is absolute assurance of victory! If I am in Him and people trip and fall on me to their own destruction, as this verse talks about, that is their issue and not mine. However, in practical terms that isn’t always going to be comfortable for me. I’ve got to keep remembering one of my favorite verses: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Father, thank You for this reminder. At the moment my major conflict is with whatever the bug is that has given me this long-running cold. Thank You that doctor’s offices are open again from today so I can be seen. Thank You for getting me through the day yesterday, just as You got me through the wedding on Saturday. I pray that there would be full agreement with Your healing for me, since You alone are my Healer. (Exodus 15:26) May I be Your agent to the doctor and his staff, drawing them to You through Your presence in me, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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