Have you ever experienced a colleague who challenges you at every turn? He or she always questions your ideas and suggestions, attempts to upstage you in front of the boss and gossips with co-workers behind your back. I had such a colleague.
In my prayer time, I asked the Lord what I should do and was led to Ephesians 6:12: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the dark powers of this world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” It occurred to me that my problem with this colleague was not necessarily him per se, but with the spiritual forces of pride and division that were working between us. I started to pray and ask God to bless this person and our relationship. Over the next few months, the discord, dissension, petty sniping and competitive nature of our relationship faded and we began to work together in a more cooperative and professional manner.
In 2 Chronicles 20, we read that Jehoshaphat, King of Judah was facing a vast army from Moab and Amon that was coming against him and all of Judah. Jehoshaphat declared a fast and inquired of the Lord. The Lord said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Ch. 20:15) Jehoshaphat instructed his men to sing and praise the Lord. Suddenly the men of Moab, Amon and Mount Seir turned on each other and began to destroy one another. When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooked where they were to do battle, they saw only dead bodies. There was no army left to battle.
When we face conflicts with people that involve pride, division and deceit, whether coming from the other person or us, or a combination thereof, the likelihood is that spiritual forces are at work stirring the pot of conflict. As a result we should seek a spiritual solution of praying against pride, division and deceit. For the battle is God’s, and he is equipped to handle it if we seek his help.
St. Paul goes on to say that we should fight these conflicts with the “full armor of God,” including truth, righteousness, faith, the word of God and the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 6:13-17) In other words, we should not try to fight pride, deceit and division in others with our own pride, deceit and division, but rather with prayer, truth, righteousness, faith, God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit, which is Christ in us.