Read His Words Before Ours!
“There’s no peace without conflict.”
The bold statement sank into the deep places of my heart and wiggled its way around inside as I processed the words my pastor had just spoken.
I despise conflict.
As I sat there, still allowing the truth of his statement to sink in, I recalled a similar moment of clarity years earlier as my husband and I had sat on opposite ends of a small couch in a counselor’s office.
“There will always be conflict in your marriage. The goal isn’t to eliminate the conflict, rather it’s to learn how to handle it.”
Again, I despise conflict.
But I’ve learned the truth of both statements.
We live in a conflict driven world. From marriages, to family relationships, warring countries, and lines of hostility between races and gender, evidence of deep conflict is everywhere. All the brokenness points to a root conflict, which began in the Garden of Eden when humanity held onto arrogance instead of resting in the sufficiency of God’s providence. We chose to clothe ourselves in shame instead of dance freely in the abundance of pure, unadulterated love.
And conflict has grown stronger and more evident ever since.
Oh, how we groan for peace, don’t we?
We need a conflict to end all conflict.
And the message of the gospel brings exactly that.
Tied up in the cruel death of a sinless man is the healing balm for every broken heart. But first, before that wholeness can be unleashed in our hearts and lives to bring about redemption, we have to allow His sword to cut out our own pride.
There’s no peace without conflict.
No new life without death of the old.
What wars inside of you?
What fight needs to be laid to rest?
What is that ache that throbs inside your heart desperately needing the sword and salve of the gospel?
For the majority of my life, I believed the gospel to be the single hope we have through the death of Jesus as He paid for sin, and then rose to life to conquer death. Acceptance of this truth was a one time “must” for becoming a Christian.
But I was wrong.
I had the truth of the gospel right, but the frequency of its application wrong.
I need this gospel everyday.
Because I have conflict against sin everyday.
There is no “remade” without this gospel.
My relationships will stay the same.
My hope is doomed.
My faith will not grow.
I won’t share Jesus with others.
I will stop seeing His mercies each day.
I will become stuck without His Gospel. Every. Single. Day.
It doesn’t get easier than John 3:16.
“For God” leaves no room to doubt the very existence of God in the first place. Every high, every low, and all the in-betweens, He’s there. Tomorrow when your little ones spill the cereal, when your best friend hurts you, when conflict arises, when the familiar ache of depression hits, when you feel tempted. “For God.”
“So Loved” declares how deeply God longs for a personal relationship with us. He wasn’t motivated by self-promotion or looking to condemn us, He was fueled by love. When you hear condemning voices, when you feel overwhelming guilt, when you feel unloved, forgotten, or abandoned, remember you are “So Loved.”
“The World” displays God’s all-inclusive love for humanity. That neighbor or coworker that drives you insane? They’re loved by God. You, when you act arrogantly. Your spouse, when they’re rude. Your child, when they’re prideful. None are excluded from this love, and He calls us to love those in our “World” .
“That He Gave” paints a beautiful picture of God’s sacrificial heart that triumphs over selfishness. He’s there when we act selfishly, gives us the power to love others who are being selfish, and reminds us that, no matter our circumstances, He is a God who gives.
“His Only Begotten Son” compassionately sings over us that nothing could stand in the way of redeeming His children. You are valuable, you are treasured, you are priceless, despite all the lies that run through your head telling you otherwise. He gave up His only son for your redemption!
“That Whoever Believes” adamantly insists that salvation isn’t available for only a select few. This truth prods us not only to extend grace to all regardless of what we think of them, but also reminds us that, we too are separated from God without Jesus. It levels the playing field in how we view others in our everyday, from the mama with the screaming kid, to the grumpy lady barking rudely across the street or on the other end of the phone. This gospel is for everyone.
“In Him” unequivocally states that there is only one way to salvation. Our salvation isn’t found in keeping up appearances, striving for the perfect wardrobe, body, or friends…our only hope is rooted deeply In Him!
“Will Not Perish” speaks of God’s righteous justice and that there exists an eternal separation from Him. Hell is real, justice is coming, but hope exists. Though trust in Jesus, our eternity is secure. We can know for sure that we will not perish, if we trust Him completely.
“But Have Eternal Life” mightily grants salvation with no strings attached. There are no conditions to keeping our salvation. We cannot lose the Almighty’s favor, make Him love us less, or earn a rank to make Him love us more. Eternal life is simply ours to own and rest in through faith.
Yes, we have conflict everyday, but the gospel brings us peace by convicting us, cutting out our sin, and applying the balm of Jesus’ victorious life to our hearts!
Let the gospel remake you.
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