Monday, September 20, 2010

"Anxiety or Peace" - My Article in the Southside Messenger

Spirit & Truth # 195
“Conflict Resolution – Anxiety or Peace”
By Rev. Greg Smith

In Vital Speeches of the Day, David Moore writes:  “Two men who lived in a small village got into a terrible dispute that they could not resolve. So they decided to talk to the town sage. The first man went to the sage's home and told his version of what happened. When he finished, the sage said, ‘You're absolutely right.’ The next night, the second man called on the sage and told his side of the story. The sage responded, ‘You're absolutely right.’ Afterward, the sage's wife scolded her husband. ‘Those men told you two different stories and you told them they were absolutely right. That's impossible -- they can't both be absolutely right.’ The sage turned to his wife and said, ‘You're absolutely right.’" 
Sometimes you don’t have to go looking for conflict—conflict finds you!  Sometimes two different parties are making perfectly good points, and you have to choose between this one who’s right, and that one who’s also right.  This can cause frustration and anxiety.  But God’s Word gives a solution:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV).”  Being anxious for nothing seems like a tall order, until you realize that anxiety is really a lack of faith.  Anxiety says, “God can’t handle it,” but faith says, “God can!”  
            Instead of letting anxiety consume you, turn to God in prayer.  Paul reminds us to pray with thanksgiving.  As you pray, thank God for the many ways He has been faithful to you in the past.  By remembering victories of the past, you gain faith for the future.  Also, you can thank God in advance for the solution that He is going to bring to your problem—even when you haven’t seen that solution yet.  Faith is “the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1),” so through faith you can expect that which you haven’t yet witnessed—and be thankful for it.
            The result of exchanging your anxiety for faith, and turning to God in expectant prayer, is peace.  In John 14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  God’s blessing for you is, as Paul put it, a peace which “surpasses all understanding.”  It is a supernatural peace that others just can’t grasp.  When they see the tumult all around you, they’ll wonder how you can have such peace.  But your peace is not of this world.  It’s a gift from above.  I pray that when the conflict comes to you, you’ll live in God’s unimaginable peace!


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