HOW TO REDUCE CONFLICT IN YOUR LIFE How To Enjoy The Rest Of Your Life Lesson 3. any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

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1 HOW TO REDUCE CONFLICT IN YOUR LIFE How To Enjoy The Rest Of Your Life Lesson 3 Philippians 2:1-8 1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. INTRODUCTION One of the major causes of unhappiness in our world is strained relationships. Conflict is a kill-joy. How do you handle the conflict in your life? Unity is a key ingredient for success and fulfillment in life. o To have a successful business the employees must work together. o To have a successful football team the players must work together. o To have successful government the congress and the President must cooperate. o To have a successful family the members must work together. o To have a successful church we must work together. Very little is accomplished in life by yourself. o Success is never a one-man show. Very little is accomplished without cooperation. o When there is unity there is tremendous power and potential.

2 The problem is people don't always get along. How do you reduce conflict and increase cooperation? In Philippians 2 Paul talks about how to have unity and he deals with these things. 1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies (Tenderness and Compassion), 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. He gives four expressions of unity here. o V. 2 "Be like minded " o "Have the same love" o "Be one in the spirit" o "Be one in purpose" Paul outlines five practical steps: I. DEFUSE COMPETITION Too often we compete with people on our own team. Instead of complementing each other they are competing with each other. They are fighting each other. They have conflicting desires. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; "Do nothing out of selfish ambition." Defuse means to reduce the tension, strain and anger. "Never act from motives of rivalry." Good News o As a kid you were involved in sibling rivalries. o You competed with your brothers and sisters and now you're much older and much more sophisticated. o But some of you are still competing with your brothers and sisters, trying to prove that you're better. o You're an adult and you're still trying to compete! o You're on the same team, the same family! James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come

3 they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? "What causes fights and quarrels? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but you don't get it." He's saying that the first cause of conflict is competing desires. o Our society teaches us instant gratification. o When my needs conflict with your needs, we have trouble. o We live in a very competitive world. o If you want to have unity you've got to diffuse competition. Most truly great people don t tend to make the headlines, the tabloids or the evening news. They are people who are diffusing conflict and competition. When we look at Jesus disciples we see James and John, two brothers, in constant competition. o Who is going to be first in your kingdom? o Who is going to set at your right hand? But Jesus was always diffusing their competition. o Christ s kingdom is not a manipulative calculation designed to assure power and prestige! Jesus challenged His disciples and Jesus challenges us: o Jesus said, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Jesus takes the accepted order of things in this world and turns it on its ear! The church has a very important mission. o We have been called into existence in order to witness to the world and to each other the good news of God s love that is shown to us in Jesus Christ. o We are to bring others into this fellowship where God s love is to be shared, so that we can all grow into being true followers of Jesus Christ. o And there are so many people, who are within the reach of The Potter s House Church, who are starving for the love of God that we have been given to share!

4 o Are we sharing God s love or are we allowing worldly pride, or worldly competition get in the way? o If we are allowing anything to stop us from spreading the love of Christ in our community, in our world then we have not really come very far Sometimes we even get in competition with other churches. o That is not our calling! o We are to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the body of Christ in this world of misery, sin, death and hell!!! o And there is no room for competition in the body!!! Remember what Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians Chapter 12? o Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it if one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. II. DELETE CONCEIT Get rid of the pride issue. o Don't do things just to show off your ego, just to gain praise or glory from others. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; o "Do nothing out of vain conceit" Never act from motives of personal vanity. o "Don't do anything from a cheap desire to boast." An egotist is an "I" specialist. o His I's are too close together. o All he can see is himself. The Bible says "Pride goes before destruction. o The person who gets too big for his britches will eventually be exposed in the end. Proverbs 13:10 "Pride only breeds quarrels." I read about a church that split into two groups. One group sued the other over who would get to keep the church building. After hearing

5 both sides, this is what the judge said: "It is hard to understand how professed Christians could become so bitter as to bring a matter involving dollars and cents into court. This controversy doesn t need to be resolved in a court of law. This controversy needs to be resolved on your knees in prayer before Almighty God. Then and only then will you have demonstrated your right to be called Christians." As believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, we should be beyond the pettiness of quarreling and fighting. We should be able to peaceably resolve our differences. We should be able to find common ground on our knees before God. Notice in Genesis 30, Rachel gets upset with Jacob because she is unable to get pregnant like her sister. And so she says to him, "Give me children, or I ll die!" o And Jacob gets mad at her and says, "What s the matter with you? Am I in the place of God? Am I the one whose been keeping you from having kids? When we don t get what we want, we get flustered and frustrated. And invariably, we act like Rachel and we take it out on other people. When basically it comes down to the fact that I didn t get MY way. The first cause of conflict is competing desires. The second cause of conflict is personal pride -- when I've got an ego and refuse to admit it when I'm wrong. o That just breeds quarrels. o If you could eliminate ego you would solve most of the people problems in today's world. Pride promotes self-sufficiency rather than God-sufficiency. Pride is a ticking time-bomb. III. DECREASE CRITICISM 3 but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. o "In humility consider others better than yourselves." When he says "better" he doesn't mean "superior." He means "worthy of respect."

6 o He says you're not to put people down, you treat them better than yourself. This is a radical concept. o Treat others better than yourself? o Humility, consider them better? That's the exact opposite than our culture in America. o We are full of people who think they are better than everybody else. o We have elevated selfishness to an art form, a character quality. o He says decrease criticism because when you're critical you're thinking that you're better than the other people. Humility -- not thinking less of yourself, but rather not thinking of yourself at all. o Your focus isn't on you. o It's not that you think less, it's just that you don't think about yourself. Your focus is on other people. You're other centered rather than self centered. The person that thinks he's humble, isn't. o The humble person doesn't even know it because he's focusing on everybody else. James 4:11-12 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? o Anytime I judge somebody else, I'm playing God. o Who are you to judge your neighbor? You don't know their motives, their background. o Anytime I'm critical of somebody else in a judgmental attitude, I'm playing God. The problem is that it's fun to criticize. o We like to criticize and pick out faults of other people because it makes us feel superior. We think we build ourselves up by putting other people

7 down. The Bible says the exact opposite. o If you want to get rid of conflict in your life, decrease criticism. Stop judging other people. The third cause of conflict is when I fail to value other people, when I treat them with less respect than they deserve. IV. DEMONSTRATE CONSIDERATION 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. o "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Don't just be interested in your own affairs. Notice the word, "look." The Greek word is "scopos" from which we get the word "scope" -- like the scope on a rifle. o Telescope in on it. Pay attention to the needs of other people. But we don't do it and that's why we have problems in our marriage, with our kids, with people whom we work with. o We don't pay attention to their needs. Look and listen is how you pay consideration. Could you name the five greatest interests of your wife? o Your husband? o Your kids? Because you know them and have paid attention and you know what's interesting to them. o Demonstrate consideration. I Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. o The way you treat your spouse affects your prayer life. o Be considerate of each other so that nothing will hinder your

8 prayers. Nothing I'm saying is new; we just don't do it. The fourth cause of conflict is when I'm insensitive to other's needs. When I only see my needs, my feelings, how tired I feel, how pressured I feel, what I'd like to do on my day off. V. DEVELOP CHRIST-LIKENESS 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: o "Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ." Jesus was a master at relationships. o He is our model and great example. o If you want to know how to get along with people, even those who are hard to get along with, look at Jesus. Get the same attitude that He had. What was his attitude? 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: o "Who being in the very nature of God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped." o In other words in the Flesh Jesus did not try to do everything at one time to prove that He was God manifest in the flesh. He didn't demand His rights. o The person who yields his rights to God, gets God as defender of his rights. Who do you want defending you, yourself or God? o Who can do a better job of it? o He didn't defend His rights but He willingly gave them up. 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: o "But made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness." He had a serving attitude. How do you know if you have a serving attitude?

9 How do you respond when people treat you like a servant? 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. o He was willing to sacrifice for the benefit of others. o It's impossible to live a lifestyle of total unselfishness on your own. o It is human nature to be selfish, to think only of me. o We all have that nature to do what we want to do. I cannot live totally unselfishly with my wife or my kids or the people I work with, etc. I can't do it by myself. o "Let this attitude be in you that was in Christ." The fifth cause of conflict is living without Christ. Unity is a gift of the spirit. Ephesians 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. o "Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives, by the peace that binds you together." The Spirit puts unity in our lives and families. In order for you to get along with other people you must grow more and more like Jesus Christ. o It's not imitation but habitation. o Every day when I consciously choose to put somebody else's rights before my own, to serve another, to build people up instead of tearing them down, to sacrifice for the benefit of others I am becoming more like Jesus Christ. And that is the secret of lasting joy. A lot of people try to look like movie stars. Many people try to imitate others that they admire. o Let s be honest, we may never look like some famous movie star, but we may find ourselves wanting to look like them, or be like them, or have what they have. o The lifestyles of the rich and famous are very appealing to many people.

10 Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and THEY TOOK NOTE THAT THESE MEN HAD BEEN WITH JESUS. o The character of Christ had rubbed off and changed Peter and John. o The life of Christ had rubbed off. o Peter and John were changed men. And just as Christ s life rubbed off on the disciples, so our lives rub off on others. Why do you think junior often acts just like his daddy? o Or daughter Suzy acts like mommy? God wants us to have a humble opinion of ourselves, which will help us to have a Christ-like attitude toward others. Being Christ-like is the greatest goal or ambition that any of us could have. We all should strive for a Christ-like attitude, a Christ-like affection and a Christ-like prayer life. These are goals worth caring, worth striving for, worth dying for. As long as you are asking "What's going to make me happy?" you're never going to be happy. You've got to get a purpose bigger than yourself to live for. The problem with a self-made man is that he usually worships his maker. o And that's a small god. REVIEW: Diffuse competition. o Is there competition going on in your marriage? o Are you competing over free time? o Or money? o Or television? o Or goals? o The root of most marriage problems is plain old selfishness -- me first.

11 Delete Pride. o Do you want your way all the time? o And everybody revolves around you? o Do you like to admit it when you're wrong? o Sometimes Parents, is it possible that you kid might be right? o Pride causes quarrels. Decrease Criticism. o Do you give more strokes or pokes? o Conflict comes when we fail to value people. Demonstrate Consideration. o Are you considerate with those closest to you? o Do you tend to take them for granted? o Just assume that they'll always be there? o You assume that you have a right to certain things. o Do you take into consideration the emotional needs of your mate? o Or do you just pretend they don't exist? o Do you take into consideration the sexual needs of your mate? o Or do you just pretend they don't exist? o Consideration is the key to harmony and unity. o The good news is that it is possible to live a happy, satisfying life with other relationships. It is possible. o It is possible to live in harmony with those you choose to live in harmony with. o It is possible to have a meaningful relationship with that person you married. o And it is possible to enjoy the people around you. o How? The solution is letting Jesus Christ live through you. Develop Christ-Likeness. o When Jesus Christ is in me and Jesus Christ is in you, Christ is not going to fight with Christ. o Wherever there is disunity there is sin Somebody isn't living

12 like Jesus.

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