If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double- minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1: 5-8
Most of us are not looking for a fight and many do their best to avoid conflict at any cost. But, sometimes friction is unavoidable especially when our lives of faith in Christ are challenged.
So, where do we turn when conflict is inevitable? It’s interesting to note that James encourages the reader to seek out God’s wisdom when faced with trials. He notes that God will give wisdom to us if we will just seek it and the greatest source of Wisdom for us today is found in the words of Scripture – the challenge is found in following God’s advice.
From an early age, we learn to retaliate when opposed but Jesus’ clear instruction when faced with a person who opposes us, He instructs us to “turn the other cheek” or “go the extra mile” and to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5: 38-45).
Jesus never suggested a compromise on faith. Instead, He taught that we should rely on God who will take care of the situation in His time. For that reason Jesus was able to tell us to “rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you”(Matthew 5: 12).
Still, there were times when Jesus challenged openly those who opposed Him and the Gospel. He turned over tables in the temple. He challenged the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.
The challenge is in responding in God’s wisdom, not our own. So, here’s the real test. How do we respond to the “challenging” person at work? in the neighborhood? at home? Will respond with a Christ-like attitude? Will we stand in His strength? Will we resist the temptation to do things our way?
Could it be that the double-minded man James refers to above is the kind of man who knows how God would have him respond, but chooses his own “better” approach?