DayBreaks for 7/14/14 – The Deadliest War
2 Corinthians 10:4 (ESV) For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
News flash: there is war in the Middle East. There is fighting going on in Afghanistan and Iraq. Israeli’s and Hamas are killing one another – Hamas launching rockets against Israel and Israel retaliating with bombs and tanks. These things are nothing new to us. We’re grown, sadly, rather accustomed to fighting in those places among the protagonists located there. There is war and butchery taking place in numerous places in Africa and elsewhere in the world as Boko Haram and other organizations detonate bombs in their terrorist campaigns. In the Ukraine, people are killing one another. Sadly, tragically, there is a long list.
This is a world at war. Almost on any given day the lead story on the evening news or the Internet feed is about fighting and killing. And we think it is deadly for the simple reason that it is. War, as someone once said, is hell. (Though Biblically speaking, hell is much worse for hell is forever!)
What is the deadliest war ever fought? I don’t honestly know. Some think it was WW2 with as many as 72 million persons killed. Others suggest that the Taiping Rebellion in China in the 1800’s may have yielded as many as 100 million slain. Staggering numbers, to be sure.
But is those really the deadliest war ever fought? In his new book, gods at war, Kyle Idleman wrote: The deadliest war is the one most of us never realize is being fought. His point, in context, is about the idols we have in our spiritual warfare. His 8-year old daughter was reviewing the Ten Commandments one night and took great comfort in the fact that she’d never made an idol. As he pondered her statement later, he thought: What if it’s not about statues? What if the gods of here and now are not cosmic deities with strange names? What if they take identities that are so ordinary that we don’t recognize them as gods at all? What if we do our ‘kneeling’ and ‘bowing’ with our imaginations, our checkbooks, our search engines, our calendars?
What if I told you that every sin you are struggling with, every discouragement you are dealing with, even the lack of purpose you’re living with are because of idolatry?
You see, as Eugene Peterson put Paul’s point in The Message: Ephesians 6:12 This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
In a way Paul was right: we don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against powers in the spiritual realm. But in another way, we are fighting against flesh and blood – our own – for what will have ultimate rule over our life and will. We are fighting against the idols that would lure us away from running whole-heartedly toward God.
Why is this the deadliest battle ever fought? For at least two reasons: first, though not everyone fought in WW2 or the Taiping Rebellion, everyone is engaged in this warfare; and second, the consequences of losing the fight are not just temporal, but eternal.
“The deadliest war is the one most of us never realize is being fought.” That’s why it’s so deadly. We can lose this war and never even know we were in it. “Let Him who has ears to hear, hear!”
PRAYER: Lord, set off alarm bells in our heads to alert us to the war that not only rages around us, but within us, and help us see the severity and deadly nature of this conflict! Then, search our hearts and reveal our own idols to us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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