Conflict in the church is nothing new; it has existed from the church’s earliest days.
Acts 6:1 – And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
One of the saddest elements with which the church, and especially its leadership, must deal, is conflict. And while it has been dealt with from the earliest days of the church, it does not seem to have diminished. Allow me to come directly to the point. WHEN and IF conflict arises in the church, the problem is human. Certainly, God (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) is NOT the problem. And I’ll really step out on what some would call “thin ice” here, and say the devil is NOT the problem. After all, Jesus said He would build His church upon the rock of revelation knowledge that He was Lord, and that “the gates of hell” would “not prevail against it.” I believe Jesus. Furthermore, I will not so dignify the devil as to voluntarily assign him ANY power against the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially in the light that we have been given the Lord’s Name, authority, ability, Word, and promise that we are more than conquerors in Jesus Christ. So, if there is a problem with conflict in the church, it is surely a human problem.
And under the scrutiny of the light of God’s Word, that human problem of which I write is singular in its origin. Simply stated, it is the failure of man to obey the Lord. From a broader perspective, we can use other words, different expressions to identify that failure, but they all come back to that single premise – failure of man to obey the Lord. Thus far we know the “who” (man) and the “what” (failure to obey the Lord), but what is the “why?” Once again, in truth, the answer is quite simple.
But first, allow a simple inquiry? Keep in mind here, I am not inquiring concerning the world’s attitude towards obedience to God, but the church; the believer; the Christian. Why would ANYONE who is a child of God, if they truly believe in the person, power, and personal relationship with the Lord, and if they truly believe the Bible to be the Word of God, choose to step out of bounds from the Word of God? Think on that for a moment. The moment ANYONE believes that his/her thoughts, ideas, and concepts are better than God’s, pride enters the picture, and a fall is not far behind. An accompanying agent of pride is division, competition for favor that is freely given through faith. It is NOT being smarter, stronger, or superior to one’s brothers in sisters in Christ, but rather faithfulness in obedience that brings the good of the land to the table. If my idea does not fit within the plan of God, and yet I hold to my idea, it is pride; nothing more, nothing less. And with that pride, division, and ultimately failure.
Manna for Today – Acts 6:1-7; Matthew 16:13-20; Galatians 5:6; Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 5:3; John 14:15-17; Proverbs 16:18