The Truth about Conflict and the Handle to Deal with It

how to

In his book, Deep and Wide, Andy Stanley makes this simple but profound statement. “Truth without handles is static. Truth with next steps grows people’s faith.”

As a young person, I never consciously rejected God or His Word. But I had no handles to help me apply biblical truth in my everyday life. As a result, my spiritual life depended upon my emotional state and the extent of my needs. I prayed, but it was usually when I wanted something or was in trouble. God, please do this for me or God, if you’ll get me out of this mess, I’ll live my life for you.

Invariably, God answered my prayers. However, when I tried to live up to my end of the bargain, I would last about two minutes. I had no idea how to live for God. Truth without handles is not only static; it’s frustrating and defeating.

After eight years and three children into our marriage, I attended a ladies Bible study. There, I finally understood two very important how to’s that completely changed my life. *how I could have a personal relationship with Christ and *how I could appropriate the power to help me become the person I wanted to be.

A year and a half later, Jay became a Christian. Although he had never owned a Bible, he developed a voracious appetite for biblical truth. We began to grow individually, in our marriage and as parents. Of course, we still have conflicts. The truth is life is full of conflicts for all of us; no one is exempt. In fact, the closer we walk with God, the more likely we are to encounter conflicts. The pressing issue is how we deal with them.

Today, I offer you a tip, as well as a tool to implement the tip. Consider the following how to’s or next steps in applying God’s truth in our lives.


I.  Regardless of the source of conflict, our number one how to is to respond rather than react. According to Webster, to respond is to “react positively.” And to react is to “act in opposition.”

Sounds good, but it also seems impossible, doesn’t it? In the heat of the argument or the height of emotion, we don’t feel positive. How then are we able to respond positively? How do we not  react in opposition to God, each other, or our circumstances? In order to deal with conflict, we must first deal  with sin.  According to Jeremiah 18:12, sin is when we continue with our own plans and follow the stubbornness of our hearts instead of God. This leads to our second how to. 

II.  It’s called spiritual breathing. If and when you became a Christian, the Holy Spirit came into your life. Through Him, you have all the power you need to respond positively to conflict. Spiritual breathing is an exercise in faith that enables you to experience God’s love, forgiveness and power on a moment-by-moment basis.

  1. Exhale: Confess your sin—agree with God concerning your sin and thank Him for His forgiveness of it, according to I John 1:9 and Hebrews 10:1-25. Confession involves repentance—change in attitude and action.
  2. Inhale: Surrender the control of your life to Christ, and receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit by faith. Trust that He now directs and empowers you, according to the command of Ephesians 5:18 and the promise of I John 5:14-15.

(taken from the booklet, Have You Made the Wonderful Discovery of the SpiritFilled Life? written by Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) If you’d like to order these booklets and other helpful how to materials, call 800-827-2788 or go on line to

I leave you with this liberating thought. The truth is we don’t have to do penance to pay for our sins. Jesus already took care of that. The truth is we don’t need a psychologist to help us identify our sins. The Holy Spirit does that very well. Nor do we have to be a theologian to solve the problem of sin. God doesn’t care about intellectual solutions. He cares about matters of the heart. Therefore, He has graciously provided a simple way for us to deal with sin.

The truth is God doesn’t expect us to live our lives for Him. Rather, He’s put His Spirit within us to  live His life in and through us. Our part is to acknowledge and confess our sin so that we can be empowered to live the kind of life we’ve always wanted.

Pretty cool, don’t ya think?


8 Responses to “The Truth about Conflict and the Handle to Deal with It”
  1. VERY cool, Liz! And this is true: In fact, the closer we walk with God, the more likely we are to encounter conflicts.
    We wish it was the other way around – the closer we walk, the fewer our conflicts!

    I guess the conflicts should serve as a reminder that our enemy is trying to trip us. All the more reason to press in closer!

  2. Mary Beth says:

    Sometimes the most simple of truths are absolutely the most powerful and unfortunately unknown. Thanks for sharing a truth we all need to be aware of and more importantly exercise. I love you.

  3. CariPau says:

    Elizabeth, this blog entry is very insightful. Thanks for sharing your testimony and the tips.

    • Thanks, Cari for checking in. I appreciate your encouragement and enjoyed reading your blog, as well. What a great focus, knowing the truth that truly does set us free. God bless you!

  4. Kathy Biedenharn says:

    A much needed reminder. Just breath in the Holy Spirit

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