Conflict is everywhere in this world. It’s inescapable and not easily solved, but not for the reasons you may think or have been told.

The Cause

The world will tell you conflict arises purely out of differences. Differences of gender. Differences of ethnicity. Differences caused by finances, communication methods, how one takes their coffee. If we could just talk about our differences and see them, we would be all but cured.

But the Bible gives a different explanation for how conflict occurs. Rather than an outward cause, the cause is described as inward, protruding from the heart itself. Check James 4:1-5.

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

The Solution

How do we fight such seemingly inescapable conflict? Indeed, how do we escape ourselves as it were? Thankfully God’s Word gives the solutions to all of the problems upon which it shines. James continues (James 4:6-10):

But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

We will never be able to successfully face conflict in this world as a believer if we cannot be changed first by the face of God. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you. His Word and Spirit will cleanse you. They will purify you. They will keep you from the path of double-mindedness, from the path of superficial conflict resolution. You must be changed.

Cross-References:

Isaiah 29:13