These are the ones I look on with favour: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. Isaiah 66:2 (NIV)
Here’s today’s good news. You can have victory over conflicts. Disputes and disagreements can be overcome. Peace can reign supreme. Fights and quarrels can be brought to an end. Three things are necessary:
- Submit yourself to God. The Greek word for “submit” is hupotasso which is primarily a military term which means “to get into your proper rank.” Conflict is overcome when you stop acting like a general and start behaving like a private. God must give the orders – you must obey. This is only possible if you “humble yourself before the Lord” James 4:10. Which means there must be a realization of complete and utter unworthiness. You must stop marching to your own drum. You must unconditionally surrender control – serious about making Christ Lord of your life (cf. James 4:9). For God hates pride (cf. Proverbs 6:16-17). As He says in Isaiah 66:2, “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”
- Resist the devil. The word for “resist” in the Greek is anthistemi from which we get the English word “antihistamine.” It literally means “to stand against,” “to oppose,” and “to neutralise.” In other words, in order to bring disputes and disagreements to an end the devil must be opposed. There can be no middle ground – no cringing. You can’t give the devil a foothold and you can’t remain neutral. You must fight against everything that is sinful and worldly. And most important, you must wrestle against the devil, not in your own strength, but in the strength that comes from the Lord.
- Pursue purity. The final step in overcoming fights and quarrels is to confess your sins and ask for God’s cleansing. Without the purifying of the heart (cf. James 4:8; Psalm 73:13) you won’t see conflict coming to an end. So cleanse your hands (cf. James 4:8; Psalm 24:4), cleanse your lips (cf. Isaiah 6:5), and cleanse your mind (cf. Romans 12:2). For peace will only come about when your thoughts, deeds, words and emotions are pure.
There is no other way. Conflict can only be resolved when you submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and pursue purity. So put your dependence in Him and discover how in so doing you can be victorious over what causes fights and quarrels among you.