3/21/15

War Weary

Early in 2014, Bill Kristol wrote in The Weekly Standard, "Are Americans today war-weary? Sure
The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been frustrating and tiring. Are Americans today unusually war-weary? No. They were wearier after the much larger and even more frustrating conflicts in Korea
and Vietnam." (1)

And that was before the escalation of terrorism by ISIS and others who are plaguing the world with The Washington Post that, despite a decade of weariness, "Americans appear ready to go to war againin fact, they are even more ready than their lawmakers in Washington." (2)
a stepped-up vision of jihad. Aaron Blake recently noted in

Washington is, perhaps, afraid to "own the results" (Blake's words) of declaring another war, even though it is clear the world is inching closer as Islamic terrorists claim more and more innocent victims.

All of this talk about becoming "war weary" hit me in the spiritual gut this week. Maybe you, like me, are struggling with the enemy's attacks. I felt the battle on at least two key fronts: gluttony and prayerlessness.

Frustrated by recent "failures" in skirmishes with my flesh, I sat, depressed, in a rocker on the back patio. I'd allowed busyness to supplant time with the Lord. I'd chosen way too many sweets over healthy food, even though God's Spirit nudged me to do otherwise.

Spiritual inertia set in as I thought, "It's just too hard. The battles are too heavy." I was somewhat unwilling to enter the battle again.
 
And then the Lord brought the Apostle Paul's words to mind:

"Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart" (Galatians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13).

The Lord unpacked this verse for me as I meditated on Paul's words.

First, I needed to remember God's grace, and this powerful truth: When God sees me, He sees His perfect, righteous Son. I am righteous in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

But there was more. On the one hand (the growth side of well-doing), I'm not to grow weary of growing to be more like Jesus. I am to manifest my salvation by sowing to the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; 6:8) and cooperating with God in the process of sanctification (becoming set apart and holy to the Lord in every area of life).

On the other hand (the battle side of well-doing), I'm to stand up and resist the devil (James 4:7b) and not let sin reign in my life (Romans 6:6-18).

According to 2 Timothy 4:7, one of the Christian's goals is to "finish the course" God has laid out for each of us. God wants us to finish well in His strengthconfident in Him.

Yes, we all get tired, but we must not let our weariness lead to laziness or running from the battle. We must not lose heart, but rather, learn to rest in the Lord in the midst of our battles. He promises rest for the weary (Jeremiah 31:25; Matthew 11:28), and we can learn to encourage (instill courage in) each other for the battle too (see Isaiah 50:4).

The truth is, the Lordour Commander—will catch our enemy, Satan, in his own evil strategies; and the rule of our flesh is already defeated in Christ. But we must count that as true and stand in God's strength (John 16:33). The battle is indeed the Lord's, and He will be victorious Colossians 2:15).

We may think we have engaged in the battle for character and holiness, but most in America have not yet begun to stand against the sin within. The writer of Hebrews said, "In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood" (12:4).

We'll likely see many more Christian martyrs in the Middle East in the days to come. Lately, I've asked myself this question: If terrorists came to our shore, would I be willing to stand for Christ, even if it meant my death? I believe I would.

But if I'm honest, why, then, do I not struggle more against Satan and the sins that seek to take me captive and destroy my testimony? It's one thing to die for Christ, another to faithfully live for Him.
When I'm the most war weary in my spiritual battles, that's exactly when I need to renew my resolve. 
That's when I need to focus on Christ, the "author and finisher" of my faith who "endured the cross" for me (Hebrews 12:2). And that's when I need to stop trusting in the arm of flesh (Jeremiah 17:5).

My commitment to the battle must be moment-by-moment, because the pull of the culture and the tug of my flesh are real and persistent; and the devil isn't backing down. I can't afford to become war weary. The cost is too high.

Are YOU war weary? 

If you are, confess it as laziness, fearor whatever your reason is for standing downand join me in the battle. Re-enlist. 

"Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might" (Ephesians 6:10). Rely on His grace. And take up the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17) "that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm."

(1) William Kristol, "War-Weariness As an Excuse," 3-24-14, The Weekly Standard, http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/war-weariness-excuse_784895.html 
(2) Aaron Blake, "Americans Aren't Very 'War-Weary' Anymore. But Washington Still Is," 2-19-15, The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/02/19/the-american-people-arent-very-war-weary-anymore-but-washington-still-is/



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