“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work.” ~Philippians 4:1 (NLT)
In Chuck Swindoll’s book, “Laugh Again”, he tells a story about some porcupines trying to sleep in the cold. They huddle together to keep warm but their quills keep poking at each other and they eventually have to separate because it just keeps getting irritating to be that close. They need each other to keep warm but they keep needling at each other…kinda like us Christian folks do to each other. Aw, it ain’t intentional, it just happens…yeah right!!
When we read Philippians 4:2 we see two names that come up, Euodia and Syntyche and they musta had a bit of a disagreement because by the middle of the 2nd verse Paul is appealing for them to live in “harmony” in the Lord. Now, even though these two women were living in a Roman colony and enjoyed a level of independence that was uncommon in the Roman Empire, it apparently gives them no excuse for creating disharmony among fellow believers in the church at Philippi. But they just kept…needling at each other. So what are you gonna do? Well you should turn to the 4th chapter of James with me and see what he says of the matter. (for the record, James is one of my go to’s even though he has a bad habit of causing me to say “OUCH”)
So let’s start with these two simple questions… “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you?” and “Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” Guess we best start with the first one. How many of you think that Christians shouldn’t disagree? If you raised your hand put it back down because you’re wrong!! Yeah you’re wrong. If there were only shiny, happy people in our Biblical past there wouldn’t be much of a Bible. I mean, how do you think doctrine gets hammered out or how iron sharpens iron, we just toss seed, add a little water and sow flowers? When you have claimed Christ as LORD and Savior it doesn’t mean that you get to be all wishy-washy about things. So what gets us needling? Let’s continue to question 2…
In the NLT the words “evil desires” is used. Other versions used the word “pleasures” but none the matter of the term it’s the intention to have desire without restraint, pleasure with no boundaries, passion to get what one wants REGARDLESS of consequences. As James so kindly puts it, “You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”
(As a sidebar here: sometimes just being offended get things going. Because offence stimulates pride and pride stimulates bad stuff like, strong-arm tactics, stubborn deafness and political maneuvering…sound familiar?)
So what’s the solution? Well ya gotta understand that disagreements are to expected and not all of them are wrong. We need to remember that disagreements can be resolved before stubbornness and selfishness set in and occupy rent-free space. And if you wind up being the one needed to assist in the reconciliation process you have a threefold objective to consider: The goal is not to discipline but to restore, you do this with grace and not force and your common ground in it is Jesus Christ, not logic, church policy, tradition or “because you say so”.
This Freedom Fighter writer has had numerous times in his life where he didn’t think of the damage he did to the testimony he received from Christ’s wondrous work in his life and solved issues with the might of his mouth…pride would get in the way of him wrapping the towel around his waist, humbly set down on one knee and consider the other person but every once in awhile, some guy named Bill W. would remind him of this simple saying….”If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18) Somebody give me an “OUCH”!!!
Today brothers (and sisters) go out and laugh again in the Victory that was won for us through the shed blood of Christ Jesus and STAND FIRM IN THE LORD!!…AMEN?!!
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote: “Self-trust is the last great obstacle to living the crucified life, which is why we mill around the deep river of God like animals around a waterhole, afraid to go in because the water may be too deep. We never quite get it.” —A.W. Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. ~Romans 8:28-30