What are we devoted to?
Gladness, generosity, praising, favor, and influence. Who would honestly say they don’t want these things in life? As we begin to bring a close to this month’s topic, conflict resolution, in the youth ministry, I was reminded this morning from the Scripture what God desires for His people.
“And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved (Acts 2:46-47).”
What was going on with God’s people that they could be described as a people with glad and generous hearts? They were living a life of thankfulness, full of praise and favor with others. This life was an attractive life because people were apparently listening to them as they communicated it was because of Jesus.
Now I don’t mean it was an easy life. In fact, I believe this is where our topic this month can apply here. Just a few verses before the above we read that these followers of Jesus were devoted to God’s Word, devoted to one another, and devoted to prayer (Acts 2:42-46). Do you think any of these folks ever disagreed or had a conflict with one another? Why else would God have been so helpful to us to give us ways to handle conflict, unless He knew we would be involved in it?
I assume that these followers of Jesus had conflict (other N.T. letters like James or Philippians shows us conflict), but their handling of it biblically, allowed for their devotion to the Word, one another, and prayer to come before themselves.
We will not avoid conflict as long as we live in a fallen world and the temptation for selfishness exists. However, as new creations in Christ, we handle conflict in a new way. We humbly admit that conflict begins in my own heart (James 4:1-2). We humbly admit to others when we have hurt them or if we have been hurt by them (Matthew 5:23-26; 18:15-17). We humbly ask for or extend forgiveness to others (Matthew 6:14-15).
Want a life of gladness, generosity, praising God, favor, and influence? It is a life of intentionality and conflict resolution. This should remind us of the life of Jesus. A life of intentionality (the Cross) and a life of conflict resolution (the Resurrection).
“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life…Romans 5:10.”