War in El Salvador! War in Afghanistan? War in Lebanon! War in Poland! Terrorism in Belfast! War in Iran! Battles in Zimbabwe! Is there any doubt that the WORLD is in a STATE of WAR? And the tactics of the present warfare are as different as, well. . . , darkness from light! Listen to James swing his “big stick” [in chapter 4:1]: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battles within you?” (emphasis mine). The church is not only facing up to the world’s warfare, but she is having to face up to the battles within. James goes on to say in the verses that follow, . . . “You want something but don’t get it. you kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. . . .” Peter says TO CHRISTIANS, “Dear friends, be STRANGERS in the WORLD. Abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your soul” (emphasis mine).
Why do Christians wage war? Why must they be constrained about their conduct? Isn’t Jesus Christ called the “Prince of Peace”? Isn’t WARFARE an activity of the “world”? I believe the key to the church’s problem with warfare is explained in Scripture. For example, paul says to the church in Corinth, “From now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer” (emphasis mine). But that’s just the problem. we still do view much of life from the world’s view point. We are so geared to the world’s way of thinking, we almost always look at any situation from a vantage point that is heavily influenced by the world’s standards. A few months ago we entitled one of these letters “As a Man Thinketh”. To complete the thought, “So IS he”. AS A MAN THINKETH IN HIS HEART, SO IS HE!
So if our evaluations are mixed with the world’s standards, we soon find we are at war within [ourselves]. A double-minded man is unstable in ALL his ways. Take relationships, for example, the relationship that God has called us to as husband and wife. That’s a deep heart-relationship between a male and a female. “The two shall become one“, says the Bible (emphasis mine). But the world says, “Don’t give up your individual rights to anyONE!” And it has been saying it so loudly and with so many voices that young Christians in this day and age have mostly a false view of what is means by “two becoming one”. There’s just no way that two can become one until each of the two are willing to give up the oneness they were [in order] to become the oneness they are meant to be under [in] the marriage covenant. So to regard your mate from a “worldly” point of view is to look upon him or her as the new source of you pleasure. That is NOT a healthy attitude which will contribute to a fulfilling marriage.
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 30, April/May 1983.