Right desires, right conflict

Countless songs, articles, speeches, and books have been given about the stupidity of war. War is dumb. War is insane. War is useless. What is it good for? Our society, though it is secular, recognizes that war is often petty, useless, and completely damaging. We are quick and apt to point out the problems of wars between countries.

But what about wars between individuals?

We find ourselves in wars amongst ourselves all the time. That passive aggressive person at work you try to get back at. Road rage and wanting that parking space. Fighting with siblings, spouses, or parents. Fighting for our own selves. Warring for our pride, our wants, and our desires.

These should not be.

James 4:1 says, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”

War and fighting usually come from lust. They come from unholy desires. Instead of giving everything to God, we desire to hold back something for ourselves.

But how then, you might ask, should we correct evil, or fight for right? War is not always wrong when it is fought against tyranny and wrongdoing.

And yes, you are right. Corrective action is needed with people and with nations. Sometimes discussion is necessary, and sometimes violence. All of this should come from a right desire. A desire to protect the helpless. A desire to promote justice. A desire to help someone live a better life.

When your desires are right and you are seeking peace and restitution, your conflict is correct. But when it comes from a desire to promote yourself over another person or in spite of them, your conflict is petty and useless.

War over lust, pride, and egos is worthless.

Conflict with right intentions is what we must seek.

Castles in your mind

I hear Christians speak all the time about how they have a weakness about this or that. They say that they have a weakness towards gambling, or gluttony, or white lies. It’s so easy to mindlessly excuse such faults.

“It’s a weakness of mine”

It sounds innocent, but it isn’t. Children are weak, sick people are weak- Bible believing Christians who have the Lord working in their lives should not be weak! And they should not be content with sinful thoughts or actions in their lives.

Living rightly before God is a war. It’s a war between our carnal desires, and His desires. We can’t afford weaknesses. Soldiers don’t mention a weakness and then continue on as if it is acceptable. Weaknesses are a matter of life or death to them.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 communicates this idea perfectly, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations . . .   and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

I would encourage you read the entire chapter, but for now we will focus on these verses. God tells us that even though we are living an earthly life, we do not fight an earthly war.

We fight a war that is in the spirit and in our minds.

We fight against imaginations. We fight against thoughts. And sometimes they are hard to notice. Perhaps you are thinking of exaggerating a story, eating more dessert than you should, or letting your thoughts stray to immoral things.

When you succumb to those temptations, that’s not weakness, that’s allowing the enemy to cross into your territory. When you allow sinful thoughts to occupy your mind it’s like allowing the enemy army to occupy your land. Eventually they’re setting up camp, getting used to being there, and they start building castles- and they’re harder to drive out.

Just like an enemy army is hard to evict once they’ve been in your country a while, evil thoughts are hard to banish from your mind once they’ve set up camp.

But don’t give up! There’s hope!

God promises that his power is strong, even unto the “pulling down of strongholds.” There may be a castle of sin in your mind, but it doesn’t have to stay. God has the power to remove it!

What sinful thoughts or actions are hard for you to resist?

What castles of sin are in your mind today?

Won’t you ask God for the power to remove them?

Unto Blood?

Imagine a great battle, where people line each sides of a field. They draw swords, and charge. As they meet each other, they begin to fight, but then one army retreats. They leave the field in defeat and say that the battle was too hard. When you inspect the troops however, you find that not a single soldier has a scratch on them. They are alright except for a few bumps and bruises.

What would you think of an army that retreated only because they were uncomfortable in a fight? Would you write of their bravery in songs of poems? Would you tell others of their greatness. I think not.

Most likely, we would scoff at such wimps who would call themselves men. We would not praise such people. Those who selflessly sacrifice for the cause, those people are worthy of praise.

We may think little of an army that retreats without any real cause, but in many ways, our Christian life can probably be viewed the same way. How often do we retreat from our daily spiritual battle because the cross of Christ is uncomfortable to bear? Hebrews 12:4 says, Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. What is an army that retreats before even one of their men looses a drop of blood? Not many wars have been won by such a noncommittal group.

And yet, how can we expect to be triumphant in our spiritual warfare unless we are willing to commit wholly to the cause of our Savior?

The war that faces the Christian is not hard. Christ says, Resist the devil, and He will flee from you. – James 4:7

I challenge you, you are in a battle against sin, take it seriously. Have a warfare mentality when it comes to unrighteousness. Don’t give up on your battle because things get a little difficult or fighting your flesh isn’t fun.

Make a conscious decision to commit to standing for righteousness and holiness. Secure the thought in your mind that there is no other option. And you will find your impulses weaker, and you will find that Satan will be fleeing from you. Never forget, God is with you, and the battle is His. All that remains to you is to make a decision to stand.

Won’t you?

The promised victory

We have a very real enemy. He is a master of deception and subversion. He knows how to hit us where it counts, and how to deceive us into sin. He has been fighting against mankind for millennia. He is more powerful, more experienced, and more cunning than we are. He is dedicated to seeing us fall. He wants us to fail.

1 Peter commands us, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" This warning tells us that we must be serious about the battle with sin. It also commands us to watch. We must be ready to fight off the attacks of our enemy, the devil. But we cannot win the battle by ourselves. If we are to be successful in the Christian life we must be focused on Christ. Only by Him can we gain the victory.

God will be with us in the fight. As He promised Joshua, "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." Whenever we find ourselves struggling, we can call upon Him. He will be a shield unto us. He will fight for us. He will be the one to deliver us from our enemy. It is up to us to remember His promises, and the victory He has won over our already defeated enemy. If we rely on Christ for our strength, He will not allow us to be overcome.

"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." – Isaiah 41:10