Conflict is a part of life. Its reality. And, this is certainly the case with the Christian life. For those who follow Jesus, conflict is inevitable. Think about it. To say “yes” to Jesus necessarily means to say “no” to something else. Those who have said “yes” to Jesus have entered into his kingdom of light and grace, while those who have refused Jesus’ call to follow him remain in the kingdom of the world — a kingdom that is opposed to the kingdom of God. This is the theme of Matthew 10.
On The Job Experience
In the end of chapter 9, Matthew tells of the need for laborers to bring in the harvest of God’s grace. He begins chapter 10 with the commissioning of these laborers, the twelve apostles. Jesus gave them strict instructions to go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As they go, they will face rejection, hardship, and persecution. They will not be welcomed by all. They will suffer for the sake of the kingdom of God — for the sake of Christ, the one for whom they have gone. This journey will be hard. It will be one characterized by division. What a calling!
But, Jesus promises them grace as he sends them out. He instructs them to not be afraid, to not worry about what they will say in times of trouble and trial. They are to trust God’s provision and presence in their lives. They are to go in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ with his authority and act to accomplish his will. And, they are to be encouraged by the reality of the promised reward for those who remain faithful to the calling. They are to fear God, but not man.
This experience taught the disciples a great deal about dependance upon God’s provision and a life lived in reverent fear of Him. There are times in our lives when our fear of man outweighs our reverence of God. God becomes small and men become large. What men and women think and say about us carries more weight in our lives than what God thinks or says about us. Our reputations in the world are more valuable to us than our reputations before God.
The presence of conflict reveals this tendency in our lives. It shows us where we trust ourselves more than we trust God. It shows us where we are more concerned about what others think of us than what God thinks of us. It shows us where our standing in our community matters more to us than our standing with God. It shows us where we are or are not dependent upon God.
Three Action Items
1. Praise God for the conflicts and challenges of our lives today. Praise him for the brokenness. Praise him for revealing our weaknesses to us.
2. Repent from our sin of making much of men and little of God and turn to Jesus in reliance upon him in the midst of our challenges, hardships, sufferings, and persecutions.
3. Be about the Lord’s business. Go forth proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God in word and deed. Pray with someone today. Encourage someone with the truth of God’s word today.