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About this series
Discovering God's Calling on Your Life
The word purpose is defined as 'the reason for which something is done.' So what is your life's purpose? The fact is we all long to know why am I here? Join guest teacher Ryan Ingram for this new series “Purpose FULL – Discovering God’s Calling on Your Life.” Ryan unpacks how we can not only discover our God-given purpose, but live it out even when difficulty, hardship, and conflict come. You’re not gonna wanna miss a single message!More from this series
Second, move from thinking about them to praying for them. We are going to examine our heart and then isn’t it true that the people that you have a disagreement with, that they just keep coming back to your mind? And you keep thinking about them and you maybe think about how you’re going to win that argument or what you would say if you had the guts to say it, or all those sort of things?
Move from thinking about them to praying for them. Jesus in Matthew chapter 5 says, listen, “Bless those who persecute you and pray for your enemies.” And then give the generous explanation for their behavior.
What is the most generous explanation for their behavior? See, I am going to write down and examine my heart, I’m going to move from thinking to praying. And instead of jumping to the very worst explanation, I’m going to give them the best explanation. Here’s what I am going to do for them: I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt that I want them to have given me. What is the most generous explanation for their behavior?
See, we have to be careful about the stories we are telling ourselves. And we jump to conclusions, we jump to judgements, we jump to motives immediately. Define the problem on your own, examine your heart, move from thinking to praying, give a generous explanation.
And then finally, if necessary, seek wise counsel. Well, Ryan, why would you say, “If necessary”? Well, because here’s what we do in our culture today. Much of our seeking wise counsel is trying to get people on our side, trying to get people to agree with us, see life from our frame, telling people how bad that person is.
Scripture speaks a ton about seeking wise counsel. And as you’re defining on your own and if you find yourself stuck, you go, Okay, who is someone that loves Jesus, that knows God’s Word, that knows both myself and this other individual who can speak into it and give me perspective?
When I try to bring something that is frustrating to my wife, the frustrating part is instead of her going, like, “Yeah!” Because that’s what we all want when we share something frustrating. “Ah, so-and-so, yeah, yeah.”
She gives me, “Well, maybe there’s another reason.” Or, “Have you thought about…?” I don’t want to think about that! I don’t want to wrestle with that. I don’t want to give them the benefit of the doubt.
And so, define the problem on your own, navigating disagreements well. First, we have to define it on our own. Secondly then, we have to set up a time to talk and do not put it off. Set up a time to talk. Go directly to the person.
In our culture today, we go directly to social media, we go directly to our friend group. Set up a time to talk; don’t put it off. How do we do this? We do this first face-to-face. Face-to-face. Note, not in a text, not in a voice text, not in a Marco Polo, not in a DM, not even in a phone call.
I can’t tell you how many disagreements have gone over text messages that have been completely taken out of context and just watching two people who love Jesus who are going back and forth and then eventually what happens is one just stops. And then they stop talking altogether.
Go face-to-face. In fact, psychologists tell us this, that the mere act of listening to someone humanizes them. Just listening to them. And what we know about communication is that our words only make up seven percent of what is actually communicated. Thirty-eight percent is our tone. Fifty-five percent is your body language.
If you choose to communicate only via text or email, like, nobody does email. Okay. Not email. Whatever, you’re taking out ninety-three percent of the communication and allowing the other person to fill in the tone and the motive and the judgments.
Here’s how we are going to do it. We are going to set up a time to talk, we are not going to do it on text, we are going to do face-to-face. And then we are going to go sooner than later. Sooner than later. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry.” Did you know the Bible says, “Be angry”? See, we hear, “Don’t be angry. Don’t be angry.”
It says, “Be angry, and yet, do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger and do not give the devil a foothold.” See, the issue is is the longer you stew on something, what you’re going to allow is a root of bitterness to grow in your heart. It will produce a heart of judgment where you are moralistic and right and they are wrong. And eventually, it creates division and the devil won. Sooner than later. Take time, take process, be angry and do not sin.
Jesus thinks this is such a big deal, by the way, He says, “Leave your offering, and then go and make it right.” It’s such a big deal you should skip church to make it right with another person. Like, as we are worshipping, and if you’ve been worshipping and you’re realizing there’s something not right between me and another person, the Spirit of God is convicting, I need to walk away from this moment and go make a phone call. “Hey, can we meet? Can we get together? We need to make it right. Like, how can I worship God and not be right with you?” Like, the two great commandments interlinked: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself. The overflow of my love for God is represented in my love for others. Set up a time to talk. Don’t put it off.
Well, what if they are unwilling? That might happen. “As far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” You take the step. You’re not responsible for their response. What if they are unsafe? First, I would say we classify “unsafe” way too quickly these days. So, you may need to get outside counsel as whether or not they are unsafe or not.
And if they are unsafe, then you need to go through a process of forgiving them. There’s a great book called Forgive and Forget. Really, really good book on how to process the wounds that we cannot then go and restore with one another.
Set up a time to talk. Don’t put it off. Number three, address the problem; do not attack the person. I love Paul and Barnabas here. The issue is really clear. The issue is an issue of calling, did you catch that?
Barnabas is called to come alongside those to help them reach their full potential. He did it with Paul. You know, Paul shows up in Jerusalem and nobody wanted to be around him and Barnabas comes alongside and walks with him and for Paul to live out his full purpose and calling in Jesus.
And then John Mark, who is his cousin, obviously he’s got some skin in the game with them. John Mark, he’s like, “I’m called to come alongside. That is my calling.” Paul, what is his calling? His calling is to go reach those who have not heard the name of Jesus, to go into territory that is dangerous and share the gospel.
And it’s an issue of calling. At some point, these wonderful, godly men, their callings collided, and they could not partner anymore. So, instead of going, “You always…Barny! Come on, man. Get a grip. What’s up? JM? Dude, he deserted us last time, and you are always giving these second chances. Come on, don’t you care about those who don’t know Jesus? You’ve got to make the hard choices sometimes.
And Barnabas isn’t going, “Paul, come on, man. You got a second chance. I gave you a second chance. Don’t you care about people?” See, they didn’t attack each other. The addressed the issue.
How do we do that? First, we have to be specific. Focus on one issue, not many. Be specific, not vague. “Everyone, others, you always.” Be specific. Not many issues. We tend to jump to another issue when we feel like we are losing an argument, don’t we?
And so, we are talking, we have one issue. And then, well, that starts to fizzle out. “Well, what about this? What about that?” And so, addressing them problem, we are going to be specific. Our language matters. Speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4 says, “And speaking the truth in love, we will grow into full maturity.” How do we do that?
Well, it’s not dropping my truth. That’s kind of what we think. Speak the truth in love. Like, boom, this is my truth. The truth of the matter is is speaking the truth in love means I’ve got to do a lot more listening than speaking.
“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry.” Covey talks about this in his Seven Habits of Highly Effectively People, to seek to understand before being understood. Disagreeing well means listening well.
It means that truth is I have a limited perspective. And I want to hear and know more. Speaking the truth in love says, “When you did this, I felt hurt. I felt sad when you did this.” And you begin to share things in compassionate ways, but clear.
And finally, seek resolution and extend forgiveness. Paul and Barnabas, they said, “You know what? Our callings aren’t a match anymore. And that’s okay. Here’s our resolution. You go this direction, we are going to multiply impact. I’m going to go this direction. And we are going to do more for the kingdom of God, because we realize that we are going to lean into our calling and extend forgiveness.”
We cannot say, “I can’t forgive them.” I hear that a lot from Christians. “I could never forgive them.” And Jesus calls us to forgive in the same way that He has forgiven us. It doesn’t mean it’s easy. But when we recognize the depth and the grace and the forgiveness of God when we are overwhelmed by that reality and recognize that we are all spiritually bankrupt before a holy God. And Jesus says, “I love you and you are fully forgiven.” It’s like, how could we not then extend that to others around us?
So, how do we navigate conflict or disagreements? Well, we’ve got to define the problem, set a time to talk, address the problem, don’t attack the person. And then finally, if stuck, seek outside help.
Matthew 18 gets really clear on how we are to go about disagreements. If stuck, get outside help. Matthew 18, Jesus talks about, go directly, one-on-one to the person. If you’re stuck, get one or two witnesses – someone who sees the situation, who understands, who can speak into. Still stuck? Go get outside help. Bring it to the leadership of the church. Everyone gets stuck. We all get stuck at some point.
Please don’t stay stuck. Please, please, please don’t let your pride keep you stuck in a relationship where God wants to grow you through that relationship. You know, it was about eight years ago, Jenny and I were just stuck. We were just stuck in our marriage. We just kept hitting the same problems over and over again. And it just felt like we were on this loop, right? And we couldn’t break out of it. And just over and over, it just felt like, man, if nothing changes then I’m not sure we’re going to make it. Not real encouraging, as a pastor.
It was through a process of God breaking me, to come to the moment where I said, “You know what? I’m willing to get counseling and we need counseling.” And we reached out and got some help.
And for those who, this moment, it just might save a relationship, it just might save your relationship with your kids, or your relationship with your spouse, or a relationship with a friendship when you’re going, like, “You know what? Maybe the outside help is I need to get a good, godly counselor that can help me navigate and walk through this, because I can’t do this and I am stuck,” and where we just acknowledge it. Man, it was one of the best decisions of our marriage.
At the beginning, it was hard. At the beginning, it felt like it was a bigger mess, because there was a lot to unpack. A lot that I needed to work through, we needed to work through. And through that process, man, God has done such incredible things in our marriage, in our life. If stuck, seek outside help. Everyone gets stuck at some point. Just don’t stay stuck.
How we go about conflict will make or break a purpose filled life. How we do this as a church, listen to this, will either enhance or diminish the reputation of Jesus.