Ordained and licensed ministers with Christian International Apostolic Network and Generals International.

Grace Under Fire: Navigating Conflict

April 9, 2013 – Allen and Diane Lake

… we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict. (1 Thes. 2:2)

For as long as I’ve been ministering, I’ve never seen the levels of conflict and contrast that I see now. It isn’t just the obvious conflict between the present truth church and the world; it’s also the emerging conflict between the present truth church and the church of the world. (See 2 Pet. 1:12; 1 Cor. 3:1-3.)

The current push to legalize same sex marriage has thrust these conflicts into the spotlight. For those without the anchor of the authority of scripture, it is easy for the worldly message of equality to dominate. But even among those who recognize scripture, there have been many willing to compromise. Yet, we are called to be a righteous church – 1 Peter 2:24 says that through Christ’s death, we have died to our sins that we might “live for righteousness.” We have a demand on our lives for holiness. (1 Pet. 1:15, 16)

The purpose of the increased conflict is to create contrast, which will then usher in change. To contrast something is to compare one group against another. The contrasts between the present truth church as opposed to the world and the worldly church will be used to delineate God’s agent for change – the overcoming saints, or the Bride. (Mal. 3:18; Isa. 60:2, 3)

We see this shift to God-propelled change involving conflict in Luke 22:35-37. The disciples were challenged by Jesus to buy a sword if they did not have one (vs. 36) because certain segments (read: the world and the worldly church) resist moves of God bringing His change. For God’s purposes to move forward in the earth, it requires prepared saints who understand those purposes and what’s involved in bringing them. We must keep this in mind so we don’t lose our way.

Maintaining Clarity

Conflict has the potential to be confusing. Some misunderstand Christ-like love as meaning the absence of any conflict. Therefore, they cannot take a stand to uphold righteousness if it has become politically incorrect (as in the instance of marriage defined as only between one man and one woman, for example).

But love makes demands – love sets boundaries. I love my husband; therefore I willingly maintain certain boundaries which define my love for him. Love in regard to Christ requires obedience to His principles—“If you love Me,” Christ said, “You will keep my commandments.” When Christ says that we are commanded to love, it is not endorsement for compromise. (See John 15:1-17.) We demonstrate His love as we uphold His principles moved by a spirit of compassion.

Unity is another area for potential confusion in regard to conflict. As stated in a previous article, unity is not a coming together of all religions and doctrines, but a deep spiritual unity between true brothers and sisters in Christ. Again, our standard is Christ, without Him, we cannot function as salt and light. The goal is that “we all come to the unity of the faith… that we should… grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” (Eph. 4:12-16) The key is discovering that there’s an element to unity that’s our part, and an element that is God’s. Just carrying His presence is enough. Those who know God will recognize others who truly know Him, as well. (John 6:16-18)

I am an elected leader in a network of pastors and ministers where this misconception of unity is causing great conflict. Many evangelical pastors have decided to join a recent collaborative effort focused on social justice—feeding the poor and homeless, etc. Social justice is certainly biblical, but in this case it involves partnering with all religions and doctrines—including Muslims. Even before I was elected, I felt strongly urged by the Lord to question this interpretation of unity.

There are few of the same mind, and now, in this position I am the only one who is opposed. I see now why the Lord compelled me to speak up. Things have escalated to the point that in recent weeks a nationally known speaker was brought in to officially kick off this effort – who is both pro abortion and pro same sex marriage. Our network has chosen to partner with this. Righteousness has been sacrificed for the sake of justice; true kingdom is both. (Psalm 89:14)

And that’s not all. At the last leadership meeting I was verbally attacked and accused of saying that Mormons are “orthodox Christians.” Not true. I tried to clarify my position. My husband and I have partnered unofficially with Mormons (and Catholics) to remove Planned Parenthood from local schools – apparently this antagonized him. I kept repeating what I actually said and believe, while maintaining it was fine to disagree.

My intent is not to discuss social justice or the theology of Mormonism. Rather, it is to reinforce that the new era is here – and it includes new levels of conflict. I had a conscious moment in the middle of this “conversation” where I actually thanked the Lord for thoroughly preparing me before putting me in this position. I could not have responded calmly, reasonably, and by His Spirit without having been previously prepared.

This is one example of many I could give of recent conflict I have experienced with believers. For those of His present truth church, there will be no escaping conflict. We must be mature sons who have been healed of past wounds, delivered from demonic and ungodly mindsets, and are able to operate by the power of His Spirit – not by the power of unresolved issues.

Walking in Humility

Conflict is escalating between the Lord’s spiritual church and the worldly church because God is moving to expose spirits of religion. (See again the above referenced article.) Religious spirits fuel doctrines of men, and doctrines of men hide religious spirits. Don’t be fooled by the reference to religion. Religious spirits are demonic – nasty and vicious – and not particularly in a good mood when exposed. (John 10:10a) It behooves us to be able to recognize them, so that we are not fooled into aligning with their doctrines. (Matt. 16:12)

Consider reading Matthew 23. In it we learn the modus operandi of religious spirits. They bring heaviness, are prideful, arrogant, self-righteous, prone to false humility, given to justification/explanation and splitting of doctrinal hairs, and have many blind spots. The NKJV references being blind or having blind spots five times in this passage!

We do not need to worry about exposing them. As we carry His presence in this new era, they will expose themselves. One of the most effective ways to combat them is to remain humble (vs. 12). Isaiah 66:2b says: “This is the one I esteem; he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at My word.” (NIV) As we walk in humility, we can walk in authority – even to overcoming religious spirits.

Vessels of Honor

Moves of God require an awareness of what He is doing in the earth in order to participate. (Luke 19:42, 44) In this new era, God is activating His saints that they may display new levels of His power in the earth. Visually, I see this as bowls on a shelf. Those who are prepared – overcomers who have endured the process – are the ones God will reach for when He needs a trusted vessel to advance His purposes. (2 Tim. 2:20)

Many Christians have a misperception of the church’s role in the last days. A false sense of inevitability is prevalent, as if we are to merely “hang on” while we wait to be raptured from doomed earth.

This concept is not scriptural. God has been building His church, that she might be a conquering warrior bride. She must not only make herself ready, but partner to fulfill His plan to establish His kingdom over the kingdoms of the earth. (See Matt. 16:18; Joel 2:2-11; Eph. 5:27; Rev. 11:15.) While God knows the day and the hour, He also looks for those who will participate, that they might speed the day of His coming. (Matt. 24:36; 2 Pet. 3:12)

Few realize the longing with which Christ yearns for His bride. There is almost a sexuality about it, not in the sense of the physical act, of course, but a deep passion—a desire, to be reunited with the one He so loves. (Eph. 5:29)

I once had a dream in which I saw a vision of Christ. He stood at the edge of a great gulf, separated from His bride by a vast expanse He could not cross. He was stretched out, extended towards His bride, yearning, pining – but unable to reach her because until she is ready, He cannot come back. (Rev. 19:7, 8)

In this Third Reformation, we can anticipate three major moves of God. The first (begun in 2007) involves the activation of every saint into the gifts of the Spirit with the prophetic/apostolic. The next move will be the activation of the Army of the Lord – bringing more power. Finally, we will see the kingdom establishment movement, where the kingdom is demonstrated as we’ve never seen it before.

He’s already moving. The Lord is activating His saints, and we must be activating others also. Today, carried by faith, we are about to see the equipping of the saints with new levels of power and authority – to the subduing of nations for the dominion of His kingdom.

Tips for Survival

Who wouldn’t prefer to avoid conflict? But the prophets have prophesied it, and it is here. By recognizing the times we are in and what God is doing in the earth, we can navigate this season successfully.

Below are some tips for surviving conflict:

– Claim the promises of God. Recently the Lord gave me the story of Hezekiah when threatened by the king of Assyria. (2 Kings 19:32-37) I heard, “Even if it takes a death angel to defend you, I will do it.” Any faithful saint standing strong in obedience to our Lord in this time can claim this promise.
– Recognize that in this new era, the Lord will join us in the battle. (Again, see 2 Kings 19:32-37.)
– Focus on the positive and celebrate the victories. Worship and praise are our strong weapons. (2 Chron. 20:22)
– Let the Lord carry the burden. Understand that God has purpose for conflict, and that the battle is not ours, but the Lord’s. (Matt. 11:28-30; 2 Chron. 20:15)
– Bless those who oppose you. Maintain compassion by committing yourself to Him who judges righteously. (Luke 6:27, 28; 1 Pet. 2:23)
– Don’t take it personally. It’s not about you. (Matt. 10:22)
– Know when to let go. “If a wise man contends with a foolish man… there is no peace.” (Prov. 29:9)
– Check your inner circle. Particularly for pastors and leaders, be aware that in this season those of an opposite spirit will cause dissension. Reorganize where needed. (Gal. 5:9)

Pray

1. That the church would recognize godly conflict and not shy away from it. (Matt. 10:34-40)
2. That the saints would carry His presence in the manner of Isaiah 66:2.
3. That the church would not miss or resist moves of God but be able to recognize the seasons we are in. (Luke 19:42, 44)

Act

1. Consider reviewing these major prophetic words for 2013: (1) Bill Hamon, Word of the Lord for 2013, (2) A.C.P.E. Word of the Lord for 2013.
2. Apply the tips for survival listed above when conflict arises.

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