Summary: This message will reveal the source of conflict in the church and then teach you how to conquer it.
CONQUERING CONFLICT IN THE CHURCH
Growing Up Rather Than Giving Up - Part 10
We’re going to be looking at what James has to say on How to Conquer Conflict In The Church.
Conflict in the church has been a problem since the beginning of the church. Conflict is a problem that the church has had to deal with down through the ages of time. People often wonder, Why is that I can’t get along with those in the church? Why is that that we have such heated arguments? Why is there so much contention, strife and division in the church?
James is going to answer these question for us today. In this passage on how to conquer conflict he gives us both the causes and the cures -- the reason for conflict and the remedy for conflict. The Who, The Why and The How. Who is the cause of conflict? Why are we having conflicts? How do we resolve the conflict? James is going to set us straight on the causes and cures for conflict.
At the very start of this message, think of the person or persons that causes the most conflict in your life. You’re going to get the most out of this message if you think about the person or persons who causes conflict in your life and how to avoid conflict with them.
James tells us that there are three areas of conflict within our lives.
1. Conflict with others.
2. Conflict within ourselves.
Galations 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and theses are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lust, which war against the soul.
3. Conflict with God.
We have conflict with others because we have a conflict going on, on the inside of us. We have a conflict in our personal lives because we have a conflict with God. You will see this as we progress through the message.
I.. CAUSES OF CONFLICT:
James 4:1 "What causes fights and quarrels among you. Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?" James doesn’t beat around the bush. He gets right to the point. James says that the cause of conflict is conflicting desires. When my wants conflict with your wants the sparks are going to fly.
Conflict starts early in life, even before you could talk. Have you noticed that a baby, if his needs are not instantly gratified, he lets you know. You can argue even if you don’t know how to talk.
Marriage has built in conditions for conflict. Think about the things you expected of your spouse before you got married -- how idealistic and unrealistic you were about marriage. What a rude awakening that was, the day you woke up! All marriages go through three stages: Stage one, happy honeymoons; Stage two, the party’s over; Stage three, let’s make a deal. At Stage three you have to learn how to handle conflict, because it’s going to happen. There are going to be conflicting desires. Frustrated feelings cause fights.
What desires? The Bible makes very clear here and other places in Scripture that there are three basic desires we have that cause conflict. These desires are legitimate desires unless they’re out of control. They are God given desires. But when you put them above other people, when they become number one in your life, they will cause conflict. What are they?
1. THE DESIRE TO HAVE THINGS:
We want to have things. Materialism. Possessions. v. 2 "You want what you don’t have ... you long for what others have." God created things to be used and to enjoy. That’s what they’re there for. We use things and love people. The problem is when we start loving things and using people. When we start loving things and using people we’ve got it backwards. When we start loving things and using people -- we start manipulating them, controlling them, moving them around to get what we want because things become more important in our lives.
It’s very easy to fall in love with things these days with all the TV commercials. The desire to have becomes number one in our life and that creates conflict. It is not by accident that Gallup says that 56% of all marriages that end in divorce end because of money problems. Things become a battle ground. We, as Americans, think the constitution says, "Life, liberty and the purchase of happiness." Someone asked Howard Hughes one time, "How much does it take to make a man happy?" He said, "Just a little bit more." The thrill wears off very quickly. We’ve got to learn to deal with the desire to have. If you decide to base your life on comparing it to other people, you will never be happy no matter how much you get. Just the time you catch up with the Jones’ they refinance. There’s always something more.