Christians Gathered and Sharing Theirs Lives Together

A daily devotion for April 22nd

The Cure for Conflict

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21

Here is the divine solution to the problem of conflict between individuals, those areas of friction where life is rubbed raw, and the ugly sores of violence and conflict erupt. The solution consists of the recognition of two powerful and transforming factors which, if carried out in any situation of conflict, will resolve that conflict.

Those two factors are these: First, life is so constructed that we cannot find fulfillment without another person being involved. We are not made to satisfy ourselves. Though each of us has within us a drive to fulfill ourselves and to find satisfaction, we make a very grave and serious error if we think that we can ever do this apart from reacting and relating to another person. It is this matter of human relationships that the apostle is taking up in Ephesians 5, the relationships of husbands and wives, of parents and children, and of employers and employees. We vitally need these relationships. Life is made this way. One of the fundamental mysteries of life is that we cannot achieve our own satisfaction if we try to do so, but we can only achieve it if we seek to attain not our own benefits but the benefits of another. This is why Paul says, Submit to one another.

The second factor, which makes the first one possible, is that you can only subject yourself when you see a third party present in every situation — the Lord Jesus Christ. It is therefore not a case of you against me or me against you, but it is a case of Christ being present. In the case of a Christian, the great issue is the matter of my relationship to him, and my obedience to his word and to his will. This touches the matter of motivation. I never can submit to another if it is a case of you versus me or me versus you, for then my pride comes to the fore and I get stubborn and rationalize my position and justify myself, and the conflict is perpetuated. But when we see that it is a matter of loving obedience to the One who first loved us and gave himself for us, and who now lives within us as our Lord, this then becomes the primary relationship, and it is easier to give up our fancied rights in order that we may be obedient to that which is first — our relationship to Christ.

Paul will go on and apply this to husbands and wives. There is no area of life in which conflict is more widespread than this. Even in Christian homes, the degree of squabbling, bickering, coldness, bitterness, and even violence that is encountered by any marriage counselor is unbelievable. There is nothing more important than that we hear these illuminating words of the apostle as he applies this tremendous formula for peace. Subjection is not merely to be on the part of one alone, but is to be done by both. The husband is to subject himself to the wife as much as the wife is to the husband. The method will differ for each, but the principle is the same for each.

Father, let these words be illuminated in my heart by the Spirit. Grant to me the willingness to be obedient to the Lord Jesus who is with me in every circumstance and relationship. Amen.

Life Application

How might the conflict I am now experiencing in a significant relationship be transformed through my decision to submit out of reverence for Christ?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Husbands and Wives

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