Guest Blog by Ash Narayan, Author of Loving Through Conflict
Our Chrisitan Relationships are Targets for the Ememy
As we begin to develop and nurture healthy relationships that glorify God, we need to recognize that there are spiritual forces opposed to God and everything that is good. These forces can spark conflicts, create division among Christians, and destroy relationships. While God has already secured the final victory over spiritual darkness, these forces continue to wreak havoc on unsuspecting Christians.
The apostle Peter offers a strong warning to Christians about Satan:
Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Peter’s imagery of a “roaring lion” means that Satan is cunning and cruel. He attacks when least expected and desires to completely destroy his prey. Our close Christian relationships bring glory to God and are attractive targets for Satan.
Fortunately, we are not in this spiritual battle alone.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. . . . Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:10-11, 13.
The opening exhortation in verse ten reminds Christians of their position of strength – in the Lord – and the source of strength – His power. Our relationship with Jesus gives us access to this power. The decisive victory has already been won by God through Christ on the cross, and the task of believers is not to win but to “stand” – that is to preserve and maintain what has been won. Without the armor of God, we are defenseless against a powerful and crafty enemy. However, even when the spiritual forces of the world, flesh, and Satan knock us down, God is faithful, and He and His tools are still available to lift us up. All the resources are available to us for successful resistance. These resources, the armor of God, are divine. A spiritual battle requires spiritual weapons.
Loving Through Conflict
By Ash Narayan
Politics, social justice, the COVID-19 pandemic, church ministry, and marriages are just a small sample of the myriad of issues causing division across the world today. Never before are Christians more divided on these issues and others. In addition, an emerging trend that has created tension and division among Christians is centered on ideology. Christianity’s fundamental beliefs and truths are no longer commonly accepted. Movements such as social justice and moral relativism dominate academia and the teaching and culture of the younger generation. These progressive movements are the cause of substantial conflict among Christians who steadfastly proclaim their love for the same God. While conflicts are inevitable and have existed since the Fall, what is troubling is how Christians are managing conflicts.
Conflicts, if left unresolved, rob us of the joy that healthy relationships bring. While conflict resolution is a laudable goal, many conflicts will be left unresolved. Accordingly, we need to address a different reality. As Christians, we need to learn to live well with each other in and through our conflicts. Jesus modeled essential principles such as compassion, kindness, empathy, humility, gentleness, and patience, all of which help us face conflict.
More importantly, Jesus is the conduit of God’s overflowing love. Love is relationship glue. When Christians love each other well with commitment and perseverance, they can avoid many of the conflicts illustrated. When any relationship experiences conflict, love can preserve, redefine, and strengthen the relationship, even if the underlying issue that caused the conflict is not resolved. God is all about relationships and wants to teach you how to be Loving Through Conflict.
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