There is nothing in life that can take the place of healthy, authentic relationships. No matter who you are, what you do or what you have, if you lack people to share life with, things just don’t make sense. So why is it that so many of us experience the reverse: destructive cycles of conflict, bitterness and anger that separate best friends, divide families and end marriages?
Jesus’ half-brother, James, reveals a harsh, timeless truth about human nature that holds the key. He says:
What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel… (James 4:1-2)
None of us like to think of our motivations as selfish. The truth about conflict, though, is that it arises in the midst of competing desires. Often we’ve constructed such elaborate rationalizations that we’re unable to distinguish a deeply engrained “me first” attitude that prioritizes our own desires first.
Self-gratification is fed by some powerful lies that have become cultural cornerstones; so much so that we many not even recognize them. It’s the false belief that our value and significance comes from obtaining personal pleasure, power, and possessions. We’ve bought into the lie that money, status, and power make us “somebody.”
If we’re honest, most of us will admit that these lies seep into our thinking and behavior. We can act sophisticated, put verses around why we do what we do, but the reality is: you have conflict in your home, your marriage, your work, your church, and with your friends—and so do I.
We need to confront these issues; we live in a fallen world and we will do things and struggle in areas that cause conflict.
This week we’ll begin the series “Five Lies that Ruin Relationships.” In it, we’ll ask and answer the question: do wrong beliefs produce wrong behaviors? Together we’ll examine the root causes of relational conflict and uncover the lies that many are based on.
What we think about life determines how we live it. There tremendous power in knowing and applying God’s truth when confronted with these lies. Doing so will help you discover the freedom He longs for us to enjoy in our relationships.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip