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Devotional by Ray Stedman – The cure for conflict – A daily devotion for March 24

Topic:The cure for conflict

Submit to one another in the fear of God.
Ephesians 5:21

Ray Stedman devotion
Ray Stedman

In saying this, the apostle is dealing with the basic remedy for all conflicts in our day. Paul applies this principle to the subject of the relationship between husband and wife, which in turn introduces the whole subject of marriage and divorce, as well as the problems that occur as a result of them. He then talks about the issue of children and parents, which also introduces the whole issue of juvenile delinquency, its causes and what can be done about it. Then he talks about the subject of government or administration and work. In each case, the remedy is always the same: “Submit yourselves to one another in the fear of God.”

If we feel the slightest desire to be part of a solution in relation to the issues that surround us today, we must do so by understanding what God has revealed about the very center of the problem. We must return to the cause of all human disputes. There is no one who has not asked at one time or another the question: “How can I have maximum satisfaction in life? How can I reach the maximum expression of my potential? In what way can I feel fulfilled? ” There is nothing wrong with asking these questions, because God has made us feel these longings within us, but what is very wrong is to do them this way.

When we ask these questions in this way, we are asking as if we were the only person in the world, as if we were responsible for our own development. Sooner or later, in my efforts to develop myself and to obtain satisfaction, I find myself on a collision course with someone else who is trying to achieve the same. I discover that my efforts to satisfy myself are continually being sabotaged by others who are trying to get satisfaction in the same way. I insist on my rights and others insist on theirs, so that we become obstacles to each other.

But Paul changes the whole pattern for Christians, introducing two radical factors that alter the whole situation. To begin with, the Christian should never forget that in each of the relationships in life, another person is present, so it is not simply a problem about what I want against what you want. In each relationship, the apostle reminds us, a third Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, is present.

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With this we come to the second question. When I find myself in disparity of conditions with another person, seeing that Christ is also present is making him immediately aware of what He has taught me. It is only when I forget myself that I dedicate myself to someone else feeling fulfilled, that I will discover that grace and satisfaction abound in my heart. This is one of the fundamental mysteries of life and is something that we see confirmed every day. Those who try desperately to satisfy themselves are those who end up feeling internally empty. Our Lord explained it in the following way: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and everyone who loses his life for my sake will find it “(Matthew 16:25).

It becomes, then, a question of priorities. You can not defend your rights by insisting on them. It will only achieve them when it strives to defend the rights of others. Do you dare to put this principle into practice where you live?

Father, I thank you for a word that reaches to the depths of my being, which is penetrating and leaves everything naked, without anything remaining hidden. I know that this is a sweet operation of the Holy Spirit that heals, forgives, cleans and restores.

Application to life
When we insist on our rights and other people insist on their rights, we become obstacles to each other. What is one of the basic mysteries in life that prevents human conflict from occurring?

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