Sometimes the things that you want to erase aren’t your own actions, but the difficult times – whether they be life’s hard times, or the actions of others.
I’ve been thinking about conflict this week. I contended in a Facebook conversation that conflict can be positive. I don’t think it ever feels positive, but I think that it can have a positive purpose.
Romans 5:3-4 says: “…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
1 Peter 1:5-7 says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”
We can’t learn faith we are at the end of our rope. Goodness is added next – it means modesty, virtuous action, purity. Interesting that faith comes before good action, not after. To good action we add knowledge (which you don’t get without first realizing your lack thereof), to knowledge we add self control.
This list is so long – I think I understand why he put faith first! I think we have to return to faith every step of the way. Just the act of learning self control is the beginning of learning perseverence. As you can see, this list requires us to rest in faith and learn to master conflict.
Do you see that giant eraser I started this post with? The trick to the eraser is that it only works in God’s hands. When we spend our energy trying to erase our problems, we aren’t using conflict situations as opportunities to grow. If we start in faith, we find that God uses the eraser to shape our picture, add shading, and take out the errors.
In the end, perseverence will finish its work. We will find that God has developed us into the peopel we were each created to be.