Today’s blog is written by Niki Willis. Read as she shares how to walk as new creation and to surrender our ways to God’s when we deal with conflict.
“Everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you.”
-Ephesians 4:22-24 MSG
So, you read the title—possibly intrigued, but pretty confident that you know what’s coming next. But do you really? In our current series, My Way, Pastor Gabe is teaching on conflict. I want to be upfront and honest and say that my biggest source of conflict, a majority of the time, is me. When my desires become more important than the needs of others, when I am offended because someone said something that struck a nerve deep down revealing something about myself and I become defensive, I find conflict. Do you see where I’m going with this? Can you see how I can be a source of conflict for myself? Ephesians 4:22-24 and I have become inseparable. I must choose to die to myself daily, and, just being real, it may be many times a day.
You see, conflict means a state of opposition. It means to come into collision or disagreement—a controversy or argument. All the definitions mentioned are points of entry for the enemy when conflict is not handled God’s way. Because I live to serve Jesus, to model Him, and to know more of Him, I can’t afford cracks that allow the enemy to get into my heart and mind. So where does it start? Right with me! There will be conflict, but the key is to not allow conflict to have us. Throughout my life, I have tried fighting back. I tend to be a bit rebellious (I think), but that escalates and keeps the anger raging. When I tried to avoid the conflict, resentment began to fester in my mind and it became bigger than it actually was. Those tactics gave the enemy permission to whisper lies that were not there before! I say thank you Jesus! as I write to you now, this very second, I can boldly declare goodbye old me!
So now you have the skinny on the old me. Well, a little of it. But let me tell you what Jesus is doing in me now! I practice, practice, and practice more of something that has changed me from the inside out. Here it is… You ready? Assuming the best in others and assuming the best in all situations. Sounds simple you might say to yourself, but it is not, look for the good! It is hard for the enemy to twist your perspective when you look for the good.
I ask the Holy Spirit to be the voice I hear the loudest. I ask Him to reveal to me when I am in “me” mode, so I can get out of my own line of fire. I ask Him to lead me to Him first, rather than running to someone I know that will jump on the bandwagon with me. I ask Him to place people in my life that can speak life into me, that can speak love and truth to me, that will keep me aligned vertically. I ask Him to help me to forgive because I know He forgave me. I want to view life from God’s perspective. I want His presence in my heart. I want more of Him and less of me. In order for that to happen for us, we have to say goodbye to the old US! I have by no means mastered this, but I do know that my goal in conflict is unity, and unity poses a threat to the enemy. We have to be in God’s Word to continue moving forward. We need to make the choice to surrender, surrender, surrender, and then surrender again—to say goodbye to the old me.
Think about this:
We boldly declare these words to Him in our worship: “If You gladly chose surrender so will I.” But will you? Will you surrender your way, your right, and your wants when conflict arises? Will you own your part? Will you hear with an open heart? Loving people matters more than being right or being heard.
“Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us.”
-1 John 4:19
Pray Ephesians 4:22-24 over yourself, memorize Ephesians 4:22-24 and speak it over your life, time and time again. Say goodbye to the old you and hello to the new creation you are in Him!