We’re all familiar with conflict in the church. So what causes it? James tells us that when we have a desire to put our own agenda and needs at the centre of our life we come into conflict with other people who are doing the same thing. In other words, selfishness is the root of much of the conflict we see in churches. To fix the problem, we need to learn to put Jesus first.
God requires Christians to place him and his agenda at the centre of their lives. If we make him, an infinite God, the object of our affections, they can always have enough. We can learn to be other-oriented because we know we have an unlimited supply of God. On the other hand, when we place something other than God at the centre, things change. Everything that is not God is finite. When we set our affections on something finite, we live a life of scarcity. We never know if there will be enough, so we can’t afford to be generous with others. The result is that we turn in on ourselves. When People turned in on themselves meet, the result is conflict, because they’re fighting over the same stuff.
To fix the problem we need to put Jesus first. While we’re tempted to seek fulfillment in other things, we must learn that this is a lie. If we come to God to meet the place of dissatisfaction, only then can we find peace. Then we can become unselfish people.
Questions for Reflection
- Have I ever seen adults getting into conflict because they want the same thing?
- What things does the world tell us we should set our affections on? Do I find myself desiring these things?
- Are there things, other than God, might I be tempted to put at the centre of my life?
- What does ‘drawing near to God’ look like for you? Are there disciplines you find helpful for doing this?
Other Sermons in this series