Since we will be talking a little bit about conflict, I thought it important to look at our natural sinful inclination in response to it.
As stated on Tuesday, to have a spiritual understanding of conflict, we need to first understand that the presence of conflict confirms that we are engaging in spiritual warfare.
Conflict is about me and you, my way verse your way, my wants, thoughts, and desires in comparison and oftentimes in opposition to yours. Given this reality, conflict is not about God at all. The presence of conflict is a sure sign that either you or I have removed God from our present situation and placed ourselves and our desires in what is supposed to be his proper position. Our individual idols rob us of God’s peace.
Don’t believe me? Let’s go back to the Garden of Eden and take a look at the first conflict known to man.
Scripture Reading: Genesis Chapter 3 presents a visual of spiritual warfare –
In this passage, we see Eve was first tempted by the serpent to usurp God’s authority (v. 4-5). The devil’s deception and subtle temptation is always to get us to forget about God, not seek God’s counsel, not consult God’s Word, not seek God’s guidance through prayer and meditation.
Secondly, the devil tempts us based on the lusts that are already present in our hearts. The tree pleased Eve’s eye (v. 6). Eve desired wisdom and the tree offered a false deliverance of that desire. The lusts of our hearts may be significantly different. I may be tempted in an area in which you have little or no temptation at all. You may even be tempted differently on some days than others.
The commonality among temptation is that our hearts are prone to wonder away from God (James 1:13-15). The devil knows this and it is an important tool of spiritual warfare to understand where we are prone to wonder, so that we can stand guard against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:10-18). Awareness helps us to watch and pray so that we do not fall into temptation (Matthew 26:41).
Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus is the primary way to avoid conflict (Matthew 24:42-44). When we neglect this focus, however, conflict is sure to ensue. The neglect of Godly focus will ensure that we sin, and we will blame others and even GOD for our sin.
Back in the Garden, God approaches Adam about his sin.
Adam blames God first for giving him a woman, and then blames Eve for his sin.
“The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it (v. 12).”
When God approached Eve about her sin, she blamed the serpent.
“The serpent deceived me, and I ate (v. 13b).”
Notice that God never responds to their shameless attempts to escape ownership of their own sin against Him. He just hands out the consequences, first beginning with the serpent (v. 14). He lavished his grace on us with the promise shared in verse 15 before confronting his image bearers, the woman and man.
The redeeming point is that the promise of verse 15 has come, and therefore, we as Christians do not have to live enslaved to the curses and punishments of verses 16-19. We are no longer enemies of God. We should neither rebel against God nor fight against each other. We can shine the light of God’s original purpose for his human creation as outlined in Gen 2:26-31.
How is it that we can stand together against Satan? Why is it not a good idea to blame God, others, or even Satan for our own sin?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011