LESSONS FROM CONFLICT IN PHILIPPI (Conflict Resolution 4)
Conflict among believers is nothing new. Paul faced it with two close friends and fellow workers in Philippi who weren’t getting along. READ Philippians 4:2-9. Philippians 4:2-3 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. This disagreement was so severe everyone knew about it. We don’t know what happened to turn these two partners into enemies, but they couldn’t resolve the issue so Paul asks a mature believer to step in and bring restoration.
Paul next writes about how Christians should live and act, but probably still has the conflict he mentioned in mind. Therefore, these next verses address the issue as well as all of life. We can find clear principles here about how to get along with others.
1. REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Even in difficult situations, like conflict with others, we are to rejoice in Jesus – not because of the problem but in spite of it. Paul repeats this command twice for emphasis. Despite being in pain, we can rejoice because our joy does not come from out circumstances but because of all Jesus has done for us (Philippians 2:1-11). Joy is a byproduct of faith that God allows difficult situations for a good purpose (Philippians 1:18-21).
2. LET YOUR GENTLENESS BE EVIDENT TO ALL 4:5a “Let your gentleness be evident to all”. Commit to having a very most open and teachable spirit. Look to your own part and what to do to improve, don’t focus on the other (log & speck Matthew 7:3). Don’t gossip to others, criticize, defend yourself or attack the other – let God work in you and him.
3. REMEMBER THE LORD IS NEAR 4:5b “The Lord is near.” You are not alone; God is with you. God will protect and defend you at the right time and in the right way.
4. DON’T BE ANXIOUS ABOUT THE CONFLICT BUT ASK GOD TO RESOLVE IT 4:6
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” I fear conflict and confrontation – they bring me great stress and anxiety. I am learning to turn it over to God and let Him take care of it and me. Don’t go to others to fix the problem, seek God’s advice and help
5. GUARD YOUR HEART AND MIND WITH GOD’S PEACE 4:7 Even when it doesn’t seem to make sense to do so. God promises “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Pray for the fruit of peace in your life, turn from thoughts that bring stress or pain. Turn them over to Jesus.
6. FIND SOMETHING PRAISEWORTHY IN OPPONENT 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Find something good and positive about other person and the problem. Don’t just look for the negative and magnify it
7. FIND GOOD ROLE MODELS AND CONTINUE PRACTICING THESE THINGS 4:9 “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Paul endured much opposition and criticism. He suffered conflict with many believers (Philippians 1:12-20). Knew what it was like, so he is a good example of how to respond during it. You can find other good examples in the Bible or in the lives of those you know. Learn from them. Respond as they would.
When our enemies are enemies of the cross (Philippians 3:18) and are spreading evil (Philippians 3:2), we must stand firm in the Lord against them (Philippians 4:1). When they are fellow believers, we must work together to bring reconciliation to the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:25-27).
Which of the principles above can help you in your current situation?
How can you apply these truths to your life and relationships?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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