New Testament Passage for Tues., Nov. 20, 2012: James 4:1-17
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? James 4:1 (NKJV)
According a United Nations agency (the Uppsala Conflict Data Program), there are today 44 wars going on in our world! 44! They range from our war in Afghanistan to the Islamic insurgency in the Philippines to the drug war that is ripping Mexico apart. Some, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are present day manifestations of animosity that has been with us for centuries.
But these bloody conflicts are not just a picture of our fractured world. They are a picture of the human heart. Outward conflicts are reflections of our inward struggles. The Bible teaches that each one of us is locked in a civil war that seeks to rip apart our lives in favor of warring allegiances. We are in a hidden battle for rights, riches, and respect.
Only Jesus, the Prince of Peace, can settle the internal wars that rage in the human heart. Through His authority, His truth, His forgiveness, and His grace He can bring about an armistice that ushers in the healing of the war-torn heart. And this can speak to NATIONS.
There is a story told of the Christmas Eve in 1914 when British and German soldiers quieted their guns and, across "no man's land", their voices rose together in singing Christmas carols. It is our prayer that the bullets will cease and the Lord will speak into our world.
It begins in hearts - yours and mine - today. I want to lay down my animosities and angers, my jealousies and pride. May the Son of God bring peace not only to our hearts but, in the words of St. Francis, make us "instruments of His peace."