Sunday, July 29, 2018

God's Solution to Our Quarreling

Chuckle: "The only people who listen to both sides of a family quarrel are the next door neighbors."
Quote: “When we quarrel, how we wish we had been blameless!” --Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:2-3 NIV).
Paul wrote our passage to Christians in the church. But the attitude Paul is stressing is one that will serve us well not only in our church fellowships but in our homes, workplaces, classrooms, etc. Some of us will be receptive to this message and some will turn a deaf ear, or won't believe it. It's so simple -- the solution to quarreling and fighting is one little word: "Humility."
Look at James 4:6 again. ". . . God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." If we humble ourselves, He gives us His grace. His grace gives us the power to change -- the ability to deal with the problem of wanting to be right -- the strength to bring our lives into line with Him. Here are some steps each of us can take to eliminate quarrels and disputes in our lives.
1. Submit yourself to God. "Submit yourselves then to God" (James 4:7 NIV). Before I can humble myself before others (fellow-church member, wife, child, co-worker, etc.), I must I humble myself before God. Colossians 3:15 says: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." Without God's grace, we can never change. "Submit" means to take a rank under someone else -- to take a lesser position -- to give God first place in your life. Isn't it interesting that when we are not right with God, we aren't right with our wives, husbands, children, friends. Submitting is not something we really want to do. But, it's the key. Books, seminars, counseling won't do it without submission.
2. Resist the Devil. Notice the order: "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7 NIV). Once we have submitted ourselves to God, He will provide us the strength to resist the evil forces seeking to control us. Who is it that whispers in your ear about demanding your rights. Ephesians 4:27 NIV, ". . . do not give the devil a foothold." Don't give him something he can use against you in your marriage or in your church fellowship.
3. Draw near to God. "Come near to God and he will come near to you" (James 4:8 NIV). Jesus said, "Remain in me, and I will remain in you" (John 15:4 NIV). There's a promise - God will draw near to you. To remain in Him and draw near to Him requires time spent with Him in submission and humility. Drawing near requires time in prayer, Bible study, and in the wise counsel of Godly people.
4. Deal with the sins in your life. "Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded people" (James 4:8 NIV). To wash our hands means to change the way we act. To purify our hearts means to change the way we feel -- our attitudes. Of course, we must allow the Holy Spirit to make these changes. We must get our attitudes and actions right if we are to be right with those around us.
In summary, if you want good relationships, humble yourself before God and that person with whom you're having conflict. It doesn't matter whose fault it was that the rift has occurred -- we must submit our wills. As Christians, humbling ourselves should not be dependent on someone humbling himself/herself to us. If you want a good relationship, isn't it worth it? "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up" (James 4:10 NIV). Will you say, "Lord forgive me" and restore to me wholesome relationships devoid of quarrels.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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