Monday, October 27, 2014

The mess worth making - Part 3

I am still reading my way through Relationships: A mess worth making by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp. It's good, and precipitates numerous anagnorises (I secretly love big words). Here is another little snippet from the chapter on obstacles (the chapter on forgiveness is also very good).
Conflict with others is one of God’s mysterious, counterintuitive ways of rescuing us from ourselves. God uses it to get us where he wants to take us before we die. Because we don’t usually think that trials can be used in such a positive way, this truth catches us by surprise. But it shouldn’t. All kinds of suffering, including conflict with others, can be redemptive because of the grace of God. By redemptive, we mean that God can use conflict (as well as everything else in our lives) to defeat sin in us and make us more like Christ, with a love for him and others that reflects his nature.
God uses other people to mysteriously and counter-intuitively rescue us from self-glory and self-love. Why does he do that? Because he loves us more than we love ourselves! ... Who is God using in your life in this way? Do you see that your wise, sovereign, and gracious Redeemer is acting on your behalf when he placed this person in your life? If so, you are growing in your ability to engage in conflict in godly ways. Remember, you can’t avoid conflict, but it can be a place where amazing growth takes place!
James [in James 4:7-10] calls the person in conflict to engage in spiritual warfare. The devil uses parts of creation to entice your still-sinful heart away from God. He wants you to fall prey to self-glory and self-love. James has already said that you are receiving grace so that you can humble yourself. He now commands you to be humble and to cry out to God for help. Through this process your heart is changed, and you begin to see that your allegiance to something other than God is a serious matter. As you repent, you experience the purification of your heart and your behaviour begins to change as well. As you are laid low by God’s grace, he promises to lift you up! You are being turned right-side up. You are placing your life within the bigger circle of God’s glory and renewing your love for him. Conflict can now be godly, and good things begin to happen between you and other people. As C.S. Lewis says, when you put first things first, second things are increased, not decreased.

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