Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" James 4:1

Far be it for me to try to understand all the complexities of war. But I would think there are two basic things you would need to know before you go to war - who the enemy is and what you at fighting for.

James, as he does so often in his intensely practical book, cuts right to the heart of the issue. He states that wars are the result of inner conflicts raging within the heart of man. How can you get along with others if you can't stand yourself? And how do you fight the enemy when it is you?
That is the 800 pound gorilla that has haunted every generation of human beings since Adam's big mistake. There have been hundreds, maybe thousands of wars that have devastated hundreds of millions of people and everyone of those wars were justified by some high sounding justification. But the actual reason is identified by James. People go to war as a result of the war raging within themselves. If you can't or won't identify yourself as the source of the problem, then you have to make someone else the bad guy and try to defeat them.
If it were true that the enemy was someone else, then it would stand to reason once that enemy was destroyed and defeated then there would be peace. Right? How has that worked out?
World War I was fought to end war. A generation later another 60 million died and $1 trillion spent in a world-wide conflict known as WWII. Why did neither major conflgration bring a lasting peace? Don't even mention Korea, Viet Nam, or current wars in the Middle East.
How do I defeat the enemy if it is me? How do I find peace within without destroying myself? The three ways that wars end are through surrender or victory or a treaty. But can I surrender to myself? How do I defeat myself? Can I broker a treaty with myself?
Sounds like a desparate situation! The enemy is you!
Paul expressed it this way:
"So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" Romans 7:22-24
Sounds quite hopeless doesn't it? You hate war but you are one!
When you get ready to declare peace, James is ready to show you how.
Stay with me this week! Keep your white flag handy!