“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 4:1,2
“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:9,10
For the first time this morning I was able to pray minus the sound of gunfire from the dove hunters out in the desert. It has disrupted my morning peace for two days now. My brother and I were both complaining about it on opening day which was September first. He’d gone out to his driveway with his mug of coffee as he usually does when he is home and was looking forward to listening to his doves cooing from the trees in his yard. Now he is worried about the wild turkeys they have all enjoyed watching come through in the evenings.
We both decided we would put out some wild feed to keep a few close.
The staccato sound of the guns made me think of what is going on half a world away, in Syria. They say around 2 million Syrian people are now refugees and around half of these are women and children. Unrest is the state of the world today.
All my life, I have sat in church hearing of a time when there will be “wars and rumors of wars.” It was just a Bible verse and a time somewhere in the future, but real war was never anything that touched me. It was never something that surprised me or factored into my life in any way at all. It was just a part of what I heard in church or on TV.
But how many people around the world today must live, pray and sleep to the sound of gunfire and shelling? Living and breathing with fear and the possible loss of their own life or the life of their children. Knowing that any moment, they will lose what little shelter they have, grabbing what little they own and heading across the border to somewhere else.
Our world is getting crazier every day. There is no doubt we are in the last days, but who knows how long these last days will stretch out?
There is only one thing that will ever stop war for good and the truth is, not one of us is willing to do what it takes to stop it. Until we each settle the war in our own hearts, war will never end. The war in our hearts will only end when we invite Jesus in.
And I am not talking about lip service but life change. There is a tired, old argument that people use over and over. In fact, I heard it again on the radio just Sunday morning. A talk show host said: “I hate religion because more wars have been caused by religion than anything else.” And while I can understand why they make that claim, it’s still as wrong as wrong can be.
Guns don’t kill people and religion doesn’t cause wars. All wars start as a result of the evil in the confines of the human heart, and just because something is done in God’s name, doesn’t mean God is in favor of it.
When someone is truly transformed by the love of Christ, it will show by how eager they are to strive for peace, not war.
I am talking about a relationship here, not a religion. That’s what makes Christianity different from any other on the face of the earth. And when He comes in and makes a home in our hearts, peace reigns. Note that I didn’t say perfection, I said peace.
War is caused by the selfish desire to get what we want when we want it. Nothing more. And when power and money are added in to the mix it just gets bigger because more is at stake. Sometimes war is unavoidable. When the end result means peace for the world, then I believe it is just.
Universally though, the hope of this world, more than ever, is Jesus. Jesus, only and ever Jesus.
You might wonder why then, does Jesus say this?
Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
In light of all the talk about peace, it doesn’t seem to make any sense, until you understand that while a relationship with Jesus most certainly brings peace to the individual heart and life, it doesn’t necessarily bring peace to the world. That’s because of one simple aspect of human nature.
We still want our way, not His way. When Jesus said that, it was with perfect understanding that He knows what we are made of.
When Jesus was born, King Herod was so threatened by the rumor of a new King, he had all Jewish babies living in Egypt two years and under slaughtered. And right before He was crucified, the religious leaders of the day were so threatened by Jesus popularity with the people, and by their loss of power, security and position, they had to put together a mock trial complete with false testimony in order to sentence Him to death.
And yet, He reaches for us still.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. John 3:16-19
I pray for our world today. I pray it finds Jesus. You might think that it looks pretty bleak and that there is really nothing we can do as an individual. But there is always something we can do. We can all shine the light of truth and love brightly, each in our own corner.
Right where we are. And pray.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16