We often will find ourselves in the place of conflict among individuals, organizations, businesses, groups, etc. as well as in situations where we have been wronged. This is the actuality of living in a fallen world. It could be a quick but intense skirmish as we are driving and we are dangerously cut off, and then cursed at. Or when we are treated rudely by a public service representative. We may have been maligned and lied about and our reputation is at stake, or we are not recognized for the good we are doing in our career or job. We may have a neighbor who antagonizes us continually or a spouse that treats us poorly. As each presents itself what comes natural to us is to seek to be justified so the wrong is made right and this may be the right thing to do, but could we perhaps going through the wrong channels in seeking a resolution? As Christians, we jump too quickly on the wagon that contains the arsenal to do battle so we may defeat those who seek us harm. We will enlist our brother and sisters in the Lord to pray for us and we will get out our scriptures to meditate upon and we set out to conquer the unjust. We will relay the stories to all who would hear of our poor treatment, and gain sympathy and validation of our plight, and no one would fault us for this. Let’s hold on a minute to change gears and see how Jesus speaks to us on matters such as these:
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38-39
He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. Matt 10:39
But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Matt 5:39-41
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matt 5:43-45
Paul admonishes the Corinthians for they were making a habit of suing one another, he said these words that we can also receive:
Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! 1 Cor 6:7-8
While I do understand that there are some pretty hard things we are facing, cruel and unjust things I am in no way discounting or downplaying these real situations and happenings. My desire rather, is that we take a look at them with Kingdom eyes so we may truly gain a victory over them.
We have been given victory through Jesus in His work He did on the cross, but it is not the kind of victory that those whose goal is to be compensated. It is the victory over sin, that it would have no hold upon us any longer.
‘The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10.
‘for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.’ Romans 14:17-18
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also Matt 6:19-21
Our abundant life can only be found in the Kingdom of God and is the growing and strengthening of our spirit in the things of God. What God often uses to grow us- is this world and its evil. It is just like that of an oyster. The grain of sand is an irritant, an annoyance to the oyster, but is used in growing the beautiful pearl. So, likewise our afflictions and troubles that come our way.
You see, we may be victorious and gain our compensation we set out for only to remain empty, and unfruitful in the Spirit of Christ as well as being worse off than we were before. Until we adjust ourselves into the things of the Kingdom of God, we will only continue in this cycle fighting more and bigger battles. For we do not realize that as we are in this train of (wrong) thinking, that it is God who is the overseer of all things. He permits things and even causes things to come our way – because He has a work that He desires to do in us. You need only to read the Bible cover to cover to see that this is how He works! Instead, we look to and at the ‘evil’ in our lives and enlist our brothers and sisters in the Lord to pray against this ‘attack’ that is happening to us. And like good soldiers we get on the prayer band wagon and begin petitioning God to put a stop to this unfair and cruel treatment. Then, we continue on our mission to seek our justification and our rights – and ‘praise the Lord’ when we attain our goal. I believe that we miss a great many opportunities God gives us so we may be pruned to flourish and bear His fruit only to become more unruly and full of ourselves that His voice becomes faint if not silenced. But in truth, our ‘going through the fire’ experiences are those when we take hits that we in no way have deserved and maintain to be unmoved nor that our defense be our first line of action– because we do not look to another but only to God and His word to find our comfort and consoling and where we find our direction in handling it. In this fire, God has us go through, the pain is not from the wrong doing done to us, it is the pain of us denying our flesh to speak for us, we allow it to be burned from us instead as we resolve to follow God. Our trial is not the problem at all for it is the catalyst for us to grow more into the image of Christ. Then we begin to truly gain our victory Christ has provided for us and we become a people who understand and walk in the power of His grace that Paul speaks of;
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:9-10
And also, from my other Blog: The Problems You Face