Posts Tagged ‘Conflict’

We Have A God

Since I began blogging primarily about faith, there have been a few flaps in the Christian world.  There has been this controversy and that conflict.  I suppose that this has always been, but social media and the ability of any of us to write a blog post seem to have magnified controversies and conflicts to the point that they seem larger than life.

I often wonder why this happens.  Why do we get so stirred up to the point where those who do not stand with us on our side of  the controversy or conflict become villains?

I’ve come to the conclusion there is one primary answer to this question:  Our main concern is not with how the conflict or controversy is really played out, but with how it affects us.

We like to think that with all of these issues we face, with life itself, that God is on our side.  It doesn’t matter what side we take, we take God there with us.  How else can we explain that each side on the issue of slavery were able to claim God was with them?

Ultimately, it comes down to one thought.  We like to think that God is concerned most, of all things, with us.

Imagine that for a moment.  I realize that very few of us actually think in these terms, but I think we do.  Conservative.  Liberal.  Left.  Right.  It doesn’t matter.  We think that we are at the center of God’s universe.  That we are His main concern.

This would make us His god.  If we are His main concern, if He is most concerned with our concerns, then what kind of God is He really?

It ends up that we create a god in our own image, mimicking cultures from thousands of years ago.

Instead, we have a God who is most concerned with Himself.

We have a God who is most concerned with His name and His glory.

He insists that we worship Him.

We have a God who is the standard for what is right and wrong.

We have a God who finds that we cannot meet His standard.

We have a God who meets that standard for us.

We have a God who supersedes our conflict and controversy.

We have a God.

Categories: Christianity, Faith Tags: , ,

Preserving The Gospel

As we continue our journey through Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, we move to chapter two this week.  Paul has spent his time in the first chapter doing three basic things:

  1. Defending his apostolic authority
  2. Defending the gospel he is called to proclaim
  3. Defending the mission he is called to

Chapter two brings Paul to a different focus.  Whereas he was trying to establish his independence from the other apostles in the first chapter, now he attempts to show his unity with them.  Why?  For the sake of preserving the gospel.

After Paul had previously gone to Jerusalem, he spent an interval of fourteen years away on missionary journeys proclaiming the gospel to the Gentiles.  He, Barnabas and Titus went up to Jerusalem.  Why?  Because of a revelation.  While at Antioch, some false brethren came from Jerusalem teaching that one had to be circumcised as well as have faith in Christ to be in the Church.  The brethren decided to send Paul and Barnabas, prompted by the Holy Spirit it seems, to Jerusalem to settle the matter.  That is how important this issue was.  They took Titus along, who was a Gentile, as evidence of the results of the gospel work they were doing.

Paul met with those who were of reputation.  He submitted to them the gospel that he preached.  Notice how he did this.  He did this in private.  Why?  For fear that the work he had been doing was in vain.  Paul wanted unity in the gospel, so he was afraid that his gospel and the other apostle’s were not in unity.

Paul goes on to state that those who were of high reputation contributed nothing to him.  Why is Paul saying this way to the Galatians.  He has already described the apostle’s as being reputation.  There must be significance to this.  We must remember that the false brethren, the Judaizers, came in throwing the apostles from Jerusalem names around.  Paul is simply bringing them down a notch from the loftier status they had been placed.  They did nothing to add to the gospel Paul preached.  Instead, they saw that Paul had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised.  The same God and the same Christ who worked through Peter worked through Paul.

What were the results of this meeting?  They gave Paul and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship.  Unity was preserved.  Most of all, the gospel was preserved.  The apostles and Paul were on the same page.  They only thing they encouraged Paul was to remember the poor –  the very thing he wanted to do.

What can we learn through this set of events?

1.  Truth matters.  Paul believed in what he was doing.  He was willing to fight for it.  He was not willing to lay down or compromise with the false brethren.

2.  Handling conflict.  Paul handled the problems in a way that was biblical and practical.  How much better would our conflicts be if we approached them with someone in private first?

3.  Unity was maintained.  Unity within the church remained and the gospel flourished.

Is It Wrong For A Christian To Dream?

February 13, 2013 9 comments

Is it wrong for a Christian to dream?

Or to put it another way, is it wrong for a Christian to pursue their dream?

The easy answer to this would be to say no and move on.  Of course it isn’t wrong for a Christian to dream.  Where would we be without being able to dream.  The problem we face is that it isn’t really a yes or no question.  Here’s why.

First, we have to determine our ultimate dream.

Jesus told us to see the kingdom first.  If I am pursuing my dream at the expense of seeking His kingdom, then it’s really in vain, right?  It doesn’t matter what I do here on earth.  It doesn’t matter what we accomplish.  The kingdom should come first for all of us.  Our dreams should move us further in our seeking the kingdom of God.

Second, whatever we do, we should do for God’s glory.

Obviously our dreams cannot conflict with this.  If our dream does not bring God glory, then perhaps we need to reevaluate our dream.  Our dream may be going in the opposite direction of what it should be.  Our dream must be measured against this.  Our dreams should bring God glory as much, if not more, than any other area of our life.

So the answer is yes, we should dream as long as our dreams are in alignment with what God wants in this world and brings Him praise and glory.  The answer is no if our dreams are in conflict with the life we profess and the Lord we claim.

Do you have a dream?  Does it conflict with the Lord’s purpose for you?