Glorify God: How big is your God?

Glorify God. The Bible makes it abundantly clear we are to love God with all our heart, mind and soul (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). When facing a conflict though this is often the very last thing on our minds. Why? What might be preventing this from being front and centre, why should it be and how do we get there?

Why is it so hard to address conflict?

No-one likes to be in conflict, especially if we feel we have been wronged. It is so much easier to slide to peace faking or peace breaking. What makes the process so uncomfortable? Why do we seek to avoid addressing the conflict? Maybe a key question is why do we find it so difficult to admit we play a part in the conflict? How do we ensure we have a right understanding of ourselves and a desire to place God at the centre?

How big is your God?

Isaiah, at the start of his ministry, records his vision of God (Isaiah 6). God’s awesome holiness is pictured with images such as the temple being filled with only his train; the seraphim announcing his holiness; and the foundations of the temple shaking as he spoke.

This vision of God underscores Isaiah’s understanding of who is God and determines his response to God. Isaiah responds with “woe is me” which in the original is actually more along the lines of “I am finished, I cannot stand”. This acknowledgement of our sinful state is the only response to the Holy God.

What then happens for Isaiah is astounding. He is made clean, as white as snow, through a burning coal which holds rich significance in pointing us ultimately to the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. His action giving us atonement for our sin.

Once sin is acknowledged and atonement made, we are ready – ready to step forward to fulfill the purposes that God has for our lives.

At the core, this vision presents us with the reality of who we actually are – sinful creatures who are not worthy to look upon a Holy God and yet graciously and mercifully we have been made clean and called into a relationship and life of obedience.

Of course, the clearest vision we have of God is his son, Jesus. Jesus tells us that those who have seen him have seen the father (John 14). We see God’s glory in his Son. God’s glory is revealed to us today in Jesus through the gospel

How does gospel transform approach conflict?

If we live by the gospel, it not only teaches us how to live, but empowers us.

It teaches us to let go of our pride and self justification.

It teaches is to be honest and to speak truthfully.

It teaches us to seek peace.

It teaches is to put aside self and to serve the interests of others.

It teaches us to be willing to suffer emotionally and mentally in the effort to resolve the conflict.

It teaches us to accept the outcome, even when that outcome is not what we would have desired but is best for all involved.  

And they will see Jesus

This is how we show God’s glory – through the gospel showing us what we should be doing in both our words and actions.

Ultimately, we are glorifying God in what we do to resolve the conflict. We follow the example set by Jesus. We put ourselves aside and are willing to suffer in the process and trust God is his providence (Philippians 2:1-11).

More can be learned about this foundational step of Glorifying God in PeaceWise courses: https://peacewise.org.au/peacewiseyou/events/

This article was written by Ann Cunningham. Ann works as Care Pastor in an Anglican Church in Sydney. She is married to Corey and they have three daughters in late teens and early twenties. The principles of Biblical peacemaking have been transforming her work in pointing people to Jesus to both strengthen their love of Jesus and restore relationships.

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