Monday, March 01, 2010

The First Step

Prayer is the first step to nurturing a budding faith: "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24). Go to God in faith and confess your unbelief, and thank him for the forgiveness he has given us through Christ. Ask him to guide your study of his Word so that you can understand all that he teaches about peacemaking. Pray that he will replace your unbelief with faith. And then ask him to give you strength to do whatever he commands, even if it requires making major changes in the way your church responds to conflict.

The second way to build faith is to rejoice in God's grace as revealed in the gospel of Christ, which is the driving motivation for peacemaking. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). This incredible news reveals our radical sinfulness: nothing could save us except the death of God's only Son. But it also reveals the depths of God's radical mercy: he gave his Son to die for us! As we reflect on and rejoice in the gospel of Christ, two things happen. Our pride and defensiveness is stripped away, and we can humble ourselves and admit that we struggle with sinful conflicts that we cannot resolve on our own. At the same time, the gospel shows us how important reconciliation is to God, and it inspires us to do everything we can to see that the love and forgiveness of Christ is reflected in the way we make peace in our families and churches. ~Ken Sande
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