Am I Doing What Leads to Peace?

I stood a short distance away, pretending not to eavesdrop.  The neighborhood kids bickered back and forth about whose turn it was to be ‘it’ in the game they were playing. Every ounce of my controlling nature wanted to intervene and solve the problem for them, but I held back.

I wanted them to enjoy playing together, so I waited for them to resolve their differences or declare a truce.

Yet I also knew if they couldn’t come to an agreement soon, I’d have to step in and say something. Call it mom instinct. There are times when I can let the kids work it out themselves, but there are also times to let my voice be heard, loud and clear.

When these conflicts arise with our kids, we can rely on that parental instinct to give us a nudge in the right direction. But what about when we are in conflict with others? How do we know when to speak up, and when to be silent?

 

Life is full of conflict. Work, family, social media, church.

 

When conflict arises, we look to Jesus’ example for how to deal with it in a Christ-like way. I know this in my heart, but I still struggle with knowing what to do!

Jesus faced conflict all the time. Sometimes He spoke up, and other times He stayed silent.

 

“Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, ‘Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?’ But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, ‘I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’ Jesus replied, ‘You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.’” Matthew 26:62-64 NLT

 

In the passage above, Jesus demonstrates both the power of the spoken Word and the power of silence, all in one conversation. He experienced unfathomable battles and through it all He showed grace, uncorrupted by the sin of the flesh.

 

I don’t know about you, but my sinful flesh can get in the way. Ugh.

 

We can get so passionate about our beliefs can’t we? We want so much to voice our opinions, that silence is a struggle. But if I’m not careful, the volume of my own voice can mute God’s message.

Sometimes the volume of my own voice can mute God's message. (Tweet this.)

 

So what’s the answer? How do I know when to keep silent and when to speak up? Paul gives us hope through these inspired words.

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:19 NIV

As I read this verse, a few questions come to mind...

Am I doing what leads to peace?

Am I relying on the leading of the Holy Spirit?

Am I trusting God’s Word in my heart for guidance?

Do my actions point to Him or to me?

 

The truth is, I can’t give you a fix-all solution for conflict. But I do know this. Using these questions to direct me through a conversation with God about it, I can push my sinful flesh out of the way and trust Him to direct my steps.

And this little sentence helps too.

Lord, help me always do what leads to peace. (Tweet this.)

 

So as we face conflicts this week (and you know we will), let’s remember God’s instruction through Paul. Whether it means speaking our minds or keeping our mouths shut, let’s do what leads to peace.

 

Kristine

Reminding Ourselves of God's Goodness

The following is an excerpt from chapter 8 of Kristine's book, Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God's Plan. To download the free Study Guide, or to find out more about the book, visit the book page here.

 

Though my sweet mother-in-law mentioned in the book has since gone to be with our Savior in heaven, the lessons I learned from Miss Maulene will stay with me forever.

 

“When the child was weaned, Hannah took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. They brought along a three-year-old bull for the sacrifice and a basket of flour and some wine. After sacrificing the bull, they brought the boy to Eli. ‘Sir, do you remember me?’ Hannah asked. ‘I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord.’” (1 Sam. 1:24-26).

My precious mother-in-law writes everything down. For as long as I can remember, I picture her sitting in her chair under the dim light of the side table lamp, penning the events of the day. She writes about who comes to visit, the weather, phone calls received, and anything else that reminds her of God’s goodness in her life.

At ninety years old, she still journals every single day. She also keeps her journals, so she can remember.

From her example I have discovered the benefits of writing things down. Some refer to this as a prayer journal—a place to write down our prayers and record how God responds to those prayers. Before I began journaling, I had a hard time remembering all God had done in my life—the miracles, the changes, the answers.

Writing things down cures this short-term memory loss.

In fact, in 20 Ways to Improve Your Memory, an article by psychology expert Kendra Cherry, writing things down is noted as an important tool for boosting memory.

That annoying comparison monster would love for us to forget God’s blessings and begin looking at others with envy. Hannah gives a great demonstration on how to remember, which brings us to our faith statement for this chapter:

We quiet the unwelcome voice of comparison by reminding ourselves of God's goodness. (Tweet this.)

I adore Hannah’s enthusiasm in this Scripture as she approached Eli! I imagine her eyes wide, wanting to take him back to that memory not so long ago when they both experienced God’s presence in such a real way. It was as if she was saying, “Don’t you remember, Eli? We stood right in this very spot when it happened! You and I both saw and heard what God did. Wasn’t it marvelous?”

She went on telling Eli more about the developments since that magnificent day …

“I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life” (1 Sam. 1:28a).

Have you ever received wonderful news, and you couldn’t wait to share it with someone? The kind of news that made you want to call a special person right away, just so they could rejoice with you?

Hannah received the best news of all in the form of a baby boy, but she had to wait a few years to share this incredible report with Eli. She knew he would be the one to appreciate it the most. After all, God used him to speak the prophecy of Samuel’s birth. Now the time had come. Bursting with anticipation, she told Eli the good news. And as the person who would appreciate it most, Eli praised God with her.

“And they worshiped the Lord there” (1 Sam. 1:28b).

As Hannah gave her only son Samuel back to God, she should have been heartbroken. I know I would have been, for sure. But Hannah pressed through potential feelings of worry, fear, and heartbreak. She let go of the what-ifs and uncertainty about the future. She placed herself in an attitude of rejoicing, thanksgiving, and praise.

Remember our faith statement from chapter four? Hannah was all over it…

(To read more about Hannah and other women in Scripture who won the battle with comparison, visit the book page to check out Over It.)