The Real Issue

Some of my favorite conversations have been “discussions” (i.e., debates) on a current topic. Unfortunately, some of larger frustrations were those very same conversations where I found myself arguing about an issue with someone who’s mind is already convinced! (I suspect they were probably frustrated as well with me and my “made up” mind.)

Perhaps the debated issue is not the issue after all. Is music, preaching style, political affiliation, movie choices, drinking alcohol, and the like really all that’s at stake here? Of course not! In fact, most of these apparent topics would handle themselves if the issue of God’s authority and Lordship were settled. Much of our frustration stems from the fact that we’re trying to change minds, when God wants to change hearts. Bottom line? More of our time should be spent dealing with the real issue at hand – the development of a submissive spirit to God! In a flow-chart breakdown, it might look like this:

1. Issues are only settled when we exhibit increased submissiveness.


2. Increased submissiveness is a result of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.


3. A personal relationship with Christ happens only as a natural by-product of a supernatural conversion.


4. Conversion is the seed-bed for all spiritual change.

Four observations emerge:

1. Deep and lasting spiritual change is impossible apart from the work of regeneration. Everything starts with salvation (2 Peter 1).

2. Arguing without a mutual agreement that God’s Word will be obeyed, no matter what, is often futile. It’s analogous to going to the doctor for treatment of an illness with no intentions of following through with his instructions — useless!

3. Issues can be, however, used to focus our attention to the foundational problem(s) (i.e., conversion, a personal relationship, or an increased submissiveness).

4. Issues are never settled out of order. So shoot for the heart. When their heart’s allegiance is aligned, adjusting their lifestyle to the issue won’t be a problem.

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