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Some Conflict Is Inevitable

in-war-1246227-639x423

We have been talking about how God does not call us to avoid conflict at all costs, and that people pleasing is idolatry. It is putting the approval of people above the approval of God. I shared verses about what the Bible has to say about people pleasing. We talked about how it is  ungodly to avoid necessary conflict and how trying to never let anyone be upset with us can be a very unhealthy and destructive way to approach relationships.

But now, I want to take us a bit deeper, my dear sisters:

Jesus tells us – over and over again – we will be persecuted if we live for Him.

We are at peace with God once we yield to Christ as Savior and Lord of all. So we are no longer enemies of God. However, our joining with Christ puts us into conflict with Satan and his forces every moment.

  • Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12)
  • If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. (John 15:18)
  • But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44)
  • Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:12-14)

There were a few decades where things were pretty peaceful for believers in the Western world. We got kind of spoiled – and maybe a bit superficial and lazy spiritually in all of our prosperity and peace. The dynamics in our world are changing quickly. Let’s be willing to lay down our lives to live for God – whether that means we are willing to die as actual martyrs, or we are willing to lose our jobs for Christ, or we are willing to lose our homes, and even our families if necessary – for Christ. He is worthy of any suffering we may need to endure. Let’s pray for and seek to financially help our precious brothers and sisters around the world who are facing intense persecution.

  • The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Acts 5:41
  • For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. Luke 9:24

Certainly, we can be willing to lose the approval of people in order to gain the approval of Jesus. He alone is LORD!

When we stand firm in Christ, we don’t have to be shaken by the hatred of the world and those who don’t know and don’t live for Christ. We can see them with His eyes and love them with His love even as they hate us. (Let’s be sure that the only reason they could hate us is because of Christ in us – not because of any sin we commit. May God empower us to live holy lives, pleasing to Himself, that will put those who oppose us to shame.) 

We are not going to fit into the world if we live fully for Christ. That is a guarantee. In fact, we CAN’T fit into the world! God says that friendship with the world is enmity toward Himself.

This is a raging spiritual war that is going on, my dear sisters (and brothers)! The bullets are flying from the enemy. The fiery darts are raining down on us. This is not a luxury cruise. It is not peacetime – no matter how much we want it to be. It is wartime. Priorities must shift dramatically in wartime (David Platt). We have an enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy us, our families, our marriages, the gospel of Christ, the church, our children, and everyone on the planet. We don’t run away from the battle. We are God’s soldiers. We are to be prepared and equipped to run into the fray in response to His command!

Many people are ensnared by the enemy and have been taken captive to do his will. The things they say and do come directly from him because they are Satan’s slaves when they cherish sin and self. Those who live for the flesh/pleasure/sin are controlled by the enemy to do his bidding. Those who are controlled by God’s Spirit do His will When God draws lost sinners to Himself, He transforms their hearts, minds, and souls so that they begin to follow Him and act like Him instead of like Satan.

  • You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. John 8:44
  • For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:17
  • Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24
  • Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. John 14:23-24

There are only two sides.

Let’s put our armor on each day  and connect closely with our Commander. Let’s not take the attacks of others personally but understand who the real enemy is. Let’s pray for those who mistreat us to be set free by the power of Christ and to experience the salvation and regeneration of God. Their eternal souls and destiny are at stake.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17

Life is not really ultimately about worldly things! I am writing with tears, my dear sisters. Our lives are about so much more than things like:

  • getting what we want in the moment
  • our temporary happiness
  • our feeling loved by our husbands today
  • whether we live in the house we would prefer
  • whether we are married or have children or not
  • what our husband’s feelings are about our marriage today
  • what we eat, what we drink, our appearance, or what we wear

Time is short! Each moment is a gift. I want to see us live without regrets, focusing on heavenly things not earthly things.

This is war. There are thousands and thousands of demons and angels battling over us, our families, our cities, and our countries. There is a sovereign God who is over it all. People’s precious souls hang in the balance. This world is not our home. We are strangers and aliens passing through.

Our home is in heaven! We will experience luxury, comfort, and all the emotional/spiritual intimacy we desire for billions upon billions of years when we are finally Home. Right now our job is to abide in Christ, to be filled with His Spirit, to be available for use in His kingdom, to rescue the captives, to be available to Christ to set people free from sin and the enemy.

It is true that the closer we are to Christ, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace” (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus).

We can have confidence in conflict and in persecution because we have the Holy Spirit filling us, empowering us, and guiding us. We don’t have to fear the enemy or his tactics. Let’s be vigilant and prayerful! Praise God with me that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world! (1 John 4:4)

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4:4-6

We can be bold for Christ as His Spirit empowers us and fills us. We have no good or power in ourselves. We are totally dependent on Christ. We must be absolutely submitted and yielded to His control. Then it is ALL HIM working in us. We must get rid of all self, self-effort, and self-will.

God promises that we will have trials, suffering, and persecution. He also promises to be with us through all of it and to use it all for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory (Romans 8:28-29). God’s perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18).

May God open our eyes to see as He sees! May He empower us to be warriors in His kingdom to bring many to Himself. May we stop shrinking back in fear as if mere men are worthy of our fear and let us have healthy fear and awe for God alone. May He empower us with His love to overcome the evil in the world and to bring great glory to His Name! May He cause us to rise to become a holy generation, set apart to accomplish His purposes in this dark world. May He use us to rescue the perishing and save the dying. May we set aside our own agendas and desires and embrace God’s agenda, His plan, His will, His purpose, and His desires!

 

Verses about persecution

RELATED:

Do Not Expect Outside Support on This Journey

Voice of the Martyrs – information about how to pray for and support our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world

The Snare of People Pleasing

Total Submission to Christ

I’ve REALLY Messed Up – How Do I Make Things Right with God?

My Security and Identity Is in Christ Alone!

www.radical.net – David Platt

 

 

 

22 thoughts on “Some Conflict Is Inevitable

  1. Me too! Mega fiery trial, reading Peter has made me relax and smile, yay the God perspective…thank you thank you thank you xx I can withstand anything if I keep focused on God. My husband has just been verbally abusive to me at a level never reached before, I have a strong support network, my pastor is aware and I plan to leave temporarily with my children tonight. I just don’t want to be around him when I may sin in my hurt and anger. I’ve been wondering what lesson God is trying to teach me through this and I definitely need to change in regards to submission and obedience but also perhaps he is teaching me about self respect and boundaries too. My husband massively crossed mine today.

    1. Liz,

      I’m so sorry to hear about how painful things have been. 🙁 I pray for God’s wisdom and healing for you both.

      There is a very delicate balance – it requires God’s wisdom for us in each situation about exactly what to do. When to leave. When to stay and wait. When to speak up, and when to say nothing and trust God.

      I pray for God’s intervention and for His glory in your marriage.

      Much love to you!

    2. Thank you Liz & Moon for sharing, it helps me so much to know im not alone. I’m praying lots. Things have been going well but there was an incident a few months ago with unkind treatment…and now the past is also being dragged up by an outside agency. All old wounds are exposed again and it’s partly my fault for over sharing. But my husband is not signing up to cooperate, comfort or care. Instead he’s withdrawn, angry and quoting scripture at me. I know im not perfect but just can’t battle with him anymore. I was getting close to leaving but it would split my whole family up as we gave step kids on both sides… Soooo hard, I think for now I have to stand firm and also try to stay calm as I get very anxious, thanks April for your prayers .. Xx

      1. JuR,

        I’m so sorry that things are difficult. 🙁 Do you believe you have anything to apologize for? Or do you believe that maybe this was an issue that needed to be addressed -even if it is painful for him? I pray for God’s wisdom for you and for His healing for you both!

        1. Hi April, I’ve apologised for talking to someone I barely know about him and what happened. I was trying to witness really! He struggled to accept my apology, it blew over, but then we were contacted again by ss and they spoke to my daughter. My husband is obviously upset but I do think he needs to support us and take responsibility. He says the ss are of the world and to take no notice, I said, God tells us to respect people in authority. It’s like he doesn’t care or want to face up to his previous behaviour. He’s blaming me, I wonder sometimes if I’m even doing the right thing staying with him! But he is now saved and I know God loves him.. It’s just so painful and worrying! Xx praying constantly! So yes I do think it’s an issue he still needs to address, I pray God will soften his heart and help him to be honest.

          1. JuR,

            I pray that God might use this situation to bring sin to light that needs to be dealt with – and that it might be handled wisely and that this might bring healing, conviction, godly sorrow, and true repentance. I pray for healing for each of you and for your family. I pray for wisdom for the authorities. I pray for wisdom for you. Such a painful situation for everyone, it sounds like. 🙁

            Sending you the biggest hug!

  2. Great post, and I love your blog.

    I am newly married and I wish that my wife would go to wearing skirts/dresses always. I know you have posts concerning this in the past. Any tips on how to reach her ?

    1. John Justice,

      You can certainly share why you like skirts and dresses and the things that feel feminine and attractive to you. I don’t know if she is open to hearing about that. I decided to change to all skirts when I was studying about godly femininity and modesty. My husband didn’t say a word about it. In fact, at first, he wasn’t sure about me just wearing skirts all the time.

      What helped me the most was to understand how men think and to realize that I didn’t want to put a stumbling block in my brothers’ path. When I read about how men tend to focus on the crotch area when a woman is wearing pants (especially tight pants) – I realized – YIKES! I don’t want to encourage that!

      And, I also realized how much more feminine I felt in skirts and how it seemed to cause my husband to feel more masculine when he was around me. I have been wearing skirts now every day (except for when I run) since March of 2009. I personally love it. I used to always wear jeans or pants. But I have no intention of returning to those things now.

      Not sure if any of this is helpful or not.

  3. This is a war. There is so much victory for satan especially in our own homes sometimes, and especially when things are going well.

    This morning my husband argued with our son because he wouldn’t get up early enough for school. He wasn’t very nice and it got physical as it does with men and teen boys battling testosterone. In our family this is a rare to nil occurrence. I got in the middle so things wouldn’t get worse because i felt bad for my boy who was just tired.

    My husband is a Christian and loves God. I made the mistake of calling him a hypocrite this morning after the incident because even though I felt it it was not nice to say. I noticed today on my bill that my husband has phoned his brother several times a day and sometimes talks to him for half hour or much longer every day. Although his brother is not a bad man, I wonder if he’s influencing my husband to be ‘tough’ I can only go with my gut on this as his brother is not a man of character, he’s very immature, and yet, my husband calls him more than me and has long chats.

    I find this strange. But leave and cleave doesn’t apply here i guess.. My heart hurts for my teen son who saw me intervene and was more concerned for my wellbeing than my husband.

    I’m sorry to over share, my heart still aches at seeing the broken mirror on the floor, my sons hurt, my daughters hurt at watching and my husbands ugliness just because his son didn’t wake up early enough these days.

    1. Moon,

      Yikes! That did not go well at all. 🙁

      Is your son okay? Do you believe you are all safe?

      If you believe you are all safe… I wonder if your husband might respond to a soft, gentle approach like, “Honey, I know that you love our son and want what is best for him. I know you want him to be up for school on time. That is a good thing. I know you want to be a godly dad and a good influence. I know your heart toward our son and your intentions are good. I also know that you are a better man than what happened this morning. I was wrong to call you a hypocrite. I was very concerned about you and our son. I want him to get up for school, too. And I want us all to be safe.” And possibly, “What do you believe we can do to move on and heal as a family?”

      I pray that God will prompt you with exactly what to say and when and how to say it. The book Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas has some powerful, beautiful examples of wives handling their husbands’ anger in productive, godly ways.

      Did your husband apologize?

      Praying for wisdom for you and your husband and children as you seek to heal from this sad incident.

  4. Thank you April, he didn’t apologize but I’m sure he will. I appreciate your prayers. Also, I am concerned of a spouse that calls their sibling several times a day and speaks at length, especially men. It seems a bit immature and I wonder if that in itself is not a good thing even if it doesn’t interfere with his nuclear family or work.

    1. Moon,

      I’m glad you believe he will apologize. You may not have to say anything. He may already be convicted.

      I vote to let him spend his time as he feels is best. He is a grown man. But if you need something or would like him to be more involved in the family -I believe you can ask for that respectfully and with a pleasant approach without dictating to him that he “shouldn’t” be so close to his brother. Does that make sense? 🙂

  5. Thank you April for this perspective changing message. May the Holy Spirit help me live for the glory of God and the things of this life grow strangely dim. It really is strange when things that you have always been interested in don’t hold the same attraction. Praise God for that as its not me, but Him in me and I hadn’t thought about that until now.

    1. Charli,

      You’re most welcome, my dear sister! I think as God allows us to see with His eyes and His eternal perspective, we can see conflict from a spiritual warfare standpoint – the angels, the demons, the eternal consequences – and suddenly, our priorities completely change.

      The goal is no longer to “win” a little fight and get our way about something. The goal is to defeat the enemy in the power of Christ and to set captives free, to proclaim the gospel of Christ, to live out His love/truth/wisdom in holiness and to hear His praise when this life is over. It changes everything when we are abiding in Christ and living in His Spirit’s power. Now, conflict is not something to fear. I mean, we don’t go purposely trying to start conflict – but when it happens, we can trust God to empower us to respond and we can trust His sovereignty to prevail even when things look like they didn’t “go right.” We can rest in Him and trust Him to work all things for our ultimate good and His glory. We can pray for those who mistreat us that God might bring them to Himself and radically change them, too. We can see each conflict as a test that will strengthen our faith and help us learn to trust God more.

      Much love!

  6. It’s so hard for me to know when I am right if there is conflict with my husband. Example, I want my mom to visit and he says its unreasonable for me to need to see her more than a couple of times a year. I don’t know if he’s right that I’m wrong to want to see her more often or if he’s the one being unreasonable.

    1. Anna,

      I don’t think there is a “right” or “wrong” with how many times to see your mom. Different people have different ideas about what is “normal” for visiting, emailing, or calling family. Your mom is really far away – so there is a lot more to visiting with her than just riding across town which would definitely affect how often would be “reasonable.”

      This is something that can be discussed – each of you can share what you believe would be appropriate. You can certainly pray about it, too. You aren’t wrong to want to see your mom. He’s not wrong for wanting to limit how often – especially considering the financial strain it would cause. You are both right. 🙂 Now, it is just a matter of negotiation and grace.

  7. I just need to ask for prayer please from those who will read this comment and feel led. I really need it. I need God to soften my heart and give me courage to speak and do my part to heal our relationship. I also need to to see my Lord as the only One who will ever fulfill me and for some reason, I can’t seem to get this message fully (even though in my heart of hearts, I know it to be truth).

    Please pray for me. Thank you.

    1. Jennifer,

      I will pray for you right now!

      I have a post on this topic, if you are interested… http://wp.me/p6xLFb-2nR

      Sending you a huge hug! Praying for God to illuminate any unbiblical, destructive thinking and to help you tear out any idols if necessary – and to help your faith grow by leaps and bounds and to learn the sufficiency of Christ.

      I pray for God’s wisdom for you to know what He would have you to do. I pray for healing for you, your husband, and your marriage.

      Do you feel like you need to talk a bit more about what is going on?

      Much love!

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