As we offer memorial, today, for those who have served sacrificially for our country ....I've had thoughts and recollections about war, why we prepare for it, why it exists, what starts them? I was reminded of a couple of events; one historic, one personal ....which connect to "war" or the fear of.
(1) In 1938 radio host and narrator, Orson Welles, found worldwide fame by reportedly causing a scare of a Martian invasion. Though the panic was largely overstated it brought Welles instant noteriety.
(2) I recall a similar scare which effected me personally as a youngster. It was late night comedy television and unfortunate timing that did it for me. I flipped the set on just in time to catch what was to later be determined as a convincing commentator indicate that the then USSR had hit the proverbial button and had launched nuclear weapons aimed for the United States. It was a late night comedy talk show! I began to breathe again.
The causes and effects of war, whether declared or threatened, are numerous. James chapter 4 draws a picture of the very root cause of conflict, the battles ensued, and the ultimate result.
I. War Declared
"1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?"
There is only one single origin which preceeds any cause of "war"; whether on a staged battlefront, gerilla warfare, or warring between individuals..... it is the conflict which stems from man's own desire. We covet what another has or what we feel threatened to lose. And then man's desire becomes his passion. Our flesh cries out for that which even the soul knows will not sustain it. And so the battle begins.
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jer. 17:9) Whatever justification wells up amongst men splls over into conflict. Yet the true conflict is within.
II. The Battlefield
"2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel."
On any battlefield there is bloodshed. Wounds, if not fatal, leave lasting scars; events which, sooner or later, cause each of us to question "why", to question whether or not a hill is worth dying on.
"You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions."
Our motivations are ill-aimed at best. Our motives are never truly pure. Our best laid plans should be sized up next to our God and Creator.
"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)
III. The Result of War
"4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."
We need to be very careful with our allegiances. "For love of God and Country", while a bold and proud statement, must always be predicated firstly by our love for God; with obedience to civil authorities resulting from a humble heart which is submissive to the authority God has granted man over each of us. Any motivation to follow the world's wisdom is in direct opposition to God's wisdom and His provision thereof.
"We have met the enemy and he is us." -Pogo
A motivation to seek God's kingdom and His righteousness will most certainly provide all things unto us (Matthew 6:33). We cannot lean on our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him, and trust that He will make our paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
So when you desire, when you crave, and you will do both ......measure the worth using God's yard-stick and ask yourself.... Is this battle a hill worth dying on? If not, dust the dirt from your sandles as you walk away from it. If yes, prepare for the death, as dying to self is a requirement either way.
"10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you."