Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Reality of War

War is a frightening prospect, even if you've been assured that you'll win. Most of us would avoid going to war unless we were forced to do so. Yet there are ambitious, driven individuals who look forward to war. Not so much because they want to fight to prove their physical prowess, but because there are vast fortunes to be gained by those who are in the know, and are looking. "How can such a wicked thing take place," you say? Well, who do you think funds wars? There are merchants, arms dealers, and business owners who know how to make a killing, financially speaking of course, on the business of war. Never thought about it that way? All you have to do is look at the film Schindler's list -- and not the whole film either, to visualize that for the very select few, war is profitable.

What place does this admission have in the light of this commentary? Just this, for Satan -- war is profitable too. And by profitable, we don't mean the spoils of war, no friends, what is meant is that the profit by which he enriches himself, is your soul, and my soul. This is why the scripture says, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world -- which lies under the condemnation of sin -- and lose his soul" (Mark 8:36)?

Our lesson highlights the twelfth verse in Ephesians chapter six, which reads thus:

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.

And from this text we glean that like it or not, we are at war -- or in the very least we are in the midst of war. Furthermore, the war is not with individual human beings per say, such as that miserable colleague, that thoughtless family member or that driver who just cut you off in traffic and proceeded to drive slowly in front of you. On the contrary, the war is with our thought life, and our verbal or behavioral response to the wickedness that has been displayed. This concept is not only believed by Christians, there is even a popular saying which non Christian businesses use to encourage their employees to consider that the problem is usually attributable to their thinking: "It's not what happens to you that matters, it's your attitude about what happens that matters; for your attitude can determine your altitude."

If you remember, when Adam sinned, he plunged the whole world into sin, and bequeathed to us a sinful nature incapable of living by the law of love. Instead our greatest drive is to preserve the flesh at all costs, which entails living by the law of sin or selfishness. Satan our adversary, knows not only the history of our fall -- as he caused it, but he has also studied us for thousands of years, knows our weaknesses and frailties as human beings, and as individuals. Even Paul confronts this issue personally, and shares his struggles with us in Romans chapter 7, verses

Romans 7:15 For that but what I hate, that do I.
Romans 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Romans 7:17 Now then it is no more I that so do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Romans 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Romans 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Romans 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Romans 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Romans 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of
my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in
my members.
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this
Romans 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I
myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Why such a long passage on Paul's struggles? Because it is the struggle of all who have accepted the validity of the holy law, and who are trying to keep it in their own strength. This includes those of us who in discovering some very unpleasant little habit or way of dealing with a situation that we have, try to stop it by will power. The struggle is not only with Satan, our outward foe, but with ourselves and the law of sin that reigns in us. Satan's war with us, his attacks on us are not merely to make our lives difficult, but to cause us to choose our own way instead of God's. His goal and determined effort is bent to cause us to pull away from Christ even while we think we are yielding to Him.

According to the scripture, the battle is not to the swift, nor to the strong, but to the man (or woman) who puts his /her trust in Christ; for it is "... Not by might (or army, per marginal reference), nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts" (Zech. 4:6). Folks, the war between Christ and Satan has been won! The victory is assured us, let us enter in by faith, and receive not the spoils of war, but the beautiful, peaceful, eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord, Saviour and conquering King!

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