This is the last installment of our blog messages on James for now. Sorry that I'm a little late on this one, I had a busy weekend. The last of these points are adapted (as was our series) from Rick Warren's message series on the book of James. Here you go!
You do four things to diffuse any conflict conflict:
1. GIVE IT OVER TO GOD
"Submit yourself then to God." v. 7. Let God be God in your life. Give Him control. Put Him in charge. Yield yourself to Him. This is the starting point. Quit trying to run your own life. In v. 1 it says "...your desires that battle within you..." James says that conflict that happens with other people happens because you have conflict on the inside. You don't get along with other people because you've got a civil war in your life. This is the real issue. If you're in charge, then anytime somebody comes along that doesn't go the way you want to go, then you get uptight. You get irritable. You get upset. You blow up at your friends, family and so on... You want things to go just the way you want them to go and when they don't go that way, it makes you mad. But if God's in charge of your life, it doesn't irritate you as much.
Colossians 3:15 "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart." When we have the peace of Christ in our heart then we'll be at peace with other people. If we don't have this in our life -- God's peace in our hearts -- then we try to manipulate others, try to control them and try to move them around to get what we want out of life.
2. KEEP THE HIGH BEAMS ON SATAN
Be aware, be alert. Realize what he's doing. Realize where the conflict comes from and that he's the source behind it. Don't be stupid. Don't be ignorant. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." The word "resist" is a war term. It means to be prepared. To stand against. Withstand an attack. The devil wants to destroy your marriage. He wants to destroy every other good relationship. Why? Because he loves conflict, arguments. He wants to cause confusion, arguments, stress, hurt feelings, disappointment, anger, chaos. He loves to do it. James says you've got to give if over to God, let Him have control. Then you've got to do some defensive action. You've got to resist the devil and realize what he's doing. If you get up in the morning and you don't run into the devil, head on, it means you're already going in the same direction.
2 Cor. 2:11 "In order that Satan might not outwit us, we are not unaware of his schemes." Paul says, to keep the high beams on so that you can see and remain aware! Recognize his tactics. Know how he operates.
3. GROW CLOSER TO GOD
How does this affect arguments? First, how do you grow closer? By reading the Bible, by going to church, by getting involved in a Bible study -- all of these kinds of things help you grow closer to God. I have made an amazing discovery that the more time I spend alone with God, the better I get along with other people. Count on it! The more time I spend with God, the more I become like Him. I am a nicer person after I have spent time with Jesus.
Isaiah 26:3 "He will keep him in perfect peace all those who trust in Him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord." When you spend time with the Lord, you turn your thoughts to Him, then you get along better with others because He keeps perfect peace in your heart and you're not as irritable.
4. WAVE PEOPLE ON AND FORGIVE
Whenever someone pulls out in front of you, cuts you off or causes an accident on the journey, you have a choice to make. Do you wave your finger at them or do you wave them on? If you want to stop the conflicts in your life, if you want to get along with other people, avoid arguments, learn to ask forgiveness from God and from those you hurt. v. 8 "Wash your hands ... purify your hearts..." Our hands represent our conduct and hearts represent attitudes. He's saying, clean up your act. Wave people on, give them the benefit of the doubt and forgive.