This post has been updated here.
Kingdom Principle: Conflict and Controversy are not obstacles to overcome rather they are opportunities for both personal growth and kingdom expansion.
Genesis 9:8-17 Psalm 25:1-10 1 Peter 3:18-22 Mark 1:9-15
Think for a minute of a conflict or controversy in your life which you have overcome. What did you learn from those experiences? These nuggets of truth and life lessons are some of the most valuable which money can’t buy. If you can’t think of anything you have learned from conflict or controversy– it is likely that you will face a challenge of the same kind in some fashion or another. Going through conflicts and controversies are not seen most as desirable in fact most people do all they can to avoid such experiences. I am not suggesting that you look for things to challenge you and to bring conflict into your life, rather I am presenting the reality that as you and I seek to be usher in of the expansion of the kingdom, we are likely to face situations that challenge us and bring conflict to the surface. (There are many quotes of Jesus on this…. Just read the gospels) How we respond to challenge is more important than if we fail or succeed. In fact, to fail in a challenge is likely to produce more growth and learning, than to simply overcoming and succeeding without struggle.
Martin Luther King Jr. adds this insight, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The Lent Season (which begins this week) is the period of time leading up to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this season it is traditional to “give something up” but a better way to look at is to willingly take on an opportunity which may produce challenge or conflict in your life. This minor interruption is a great way to prepare you for the major interruptions that cannot be anticipated. It is in this preparation of the lent season that we find our way to stand in times of challenge and controversy that yield the greatest kingdom expansion.
In the flood, God clearly recognized that humankind had emerged in a failure state. This does not make God a failure rather he remained enthroned over the flood and established a new covenant that would stand the test of time. The Psalms clearly show that God is not keeping track of our failures and conflicts in our lives rather, He will guide us in the way to set our paths straight. Jesus embraced both the challenge of being in the wilderness for 40 days and the journey of the cross. In all things we are given the opportunity to bear the marks of Christ – a small token of Lent gives for us a opportunity to see challenge and conflict as something we can choose rather than avoid.
Please don’t take from this meditation a call to give something up for lent – the Kingdom will most likely not be affected if you do. However if your gain the perspective that no trial, trouble, conflict or challenge is meaningless and that in Christ you can do all things. Then consider the opportunity to take something on this Lent season in order to affirm your willingness to bear the cross of Christ in your life. Take on a joyful celebration the Kingdom of God within you being stretched to its limits.
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