Someone to Settle the Conflict
And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. (Acts 15:12 ESV)
There’s no such thing as a life without conflict. Conflict arises in marriages and among families. Conflict can be found on the job and in business meetings. Conflict occurs in traffic jams and holiday shopping. Even the innocence of childhood can be interrupted by conflict, as each child says, “Mine!”
The fact that conflict can also be found in the church is not a sign of hypocrisy, but, rather, evidence of our humanity.
The early church experienced conflict, both from without and within – the latter being more dangerous than the former. Implosions are often more destructive than explosions.
A potential implosion loomed over the early church, threatening to destroy and divide the body of Christ in it’s formative years. The issue at hand was what requirements were to be met in order for Gentiles (non-Jews) to receive salvation.
Some demanded circumcision. Some demanded they follow all of the Law. Some didn’t think Gentiles could EVER be saved.
The conflict was evident and was not going to self-soothe. Someone had to come in and settle the conflict.
That’s when Barnabas and Paul came. These men were well respected, faithful, proven leaders. They listened carefully, discerned the will of God, and spoke with wisdom and authority.
And when they spoke…people listened.
Spiritual fathers and mothers have a God-given voice – one that penetrates the chaos of disunity, brings needed course correction, and settles the conflict, while also respecting and honoring everyone involved.
Spiritual fathers and mothers “speak the truth in love.”
Oh, how desperate we are for those voices of wisdom to be heard today! One of the fallouts of the disintegration of the family is that we’ve become a society of unresolved conflict.
We need fathers and mothers of the faith to occupy their God-given roles, to settle our conflicts, and to speak peace to the storms of life.
In light of this truth, I am reminded of three action-steps we ought to consider:
1. Identify the spiritual fathers and mothers in our lives, and “press in” to their wisdom. Our thirst should compel us to come to these “wells of wisdom,” bucket in hand, ready to draw out what we so desperately desire.
2. Pray for spiritual fathers and mothers to recognize and live in the authority of their roles. We can only receive what they are willing to give.
3. Invest intentionally into the next generation. The Bible says, “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” The fathers turn their hearts FIRST; then the children respond.
Thank You for the spiritual fathers and mothers in my life. Thank You for the wisdom they provide for me.
Raise up more men and women of faith to walk in their calling. And, continue to work in me to make me a well of wisdom and a voice of peace to a generation I so deeply love.