“Submit yourselves, then, to God.” (James 4:7 NIV)
Conflict starts early in life, even before we can talk. Have you noticed that a baby always lets you know if his needs are not instantly gratified? You can argue even if you don’t know how to talk.
In the book of James, the author says that the cause of arguments is conflicting desires. When my wants conflict with your wants, the sparks are going to fly. The three basic desires we have that cause conflict are possessions, pleasure, and pride.
James also gives four specific actions that need to be taken in order to stop the fighting. The first thing to do to diffuse a conflict is to give in to God, whether the conflict is between you and your children, you and your spouse, or you and someone at work,
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God” (NIV). Give God control of your life. Put him in charge. Yield yourself to him. Quit trying to run your own life!
In verse one of the same chapter, James says that conflict happens with other people because you have conflict on the inside. You don’t get along with other people because you have a civil war in your life. The starting point is identifying the real conflict: deciding who’s in charge of your life. If you’re in charge, then anytime someone comes along who doesn’t go the way you want to go, then you get uptight. You get irritable. You get upset. But if God’s in charge of your life, it shouldn’t irritate you as much.
Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” When we have the peace of Christ in our heart, then we’ll be at peace with other people. If we don’t have God’s peace in our hearts, then we try to manipulate others, control them, and move them around to get what we want out of life.
Give in to God. This means learning to say “Thy will be done” instead of “Me first.” When you say, “Lord, whatever you want is what I want,” then the peace process starts.
Talk About It
- In what areas of your life are you still trying to be ‘in charge’ rather than submitted to God?
- How do you think giving God control of your life will help with conflict?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.