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  • Shawn Thornton

The War Within

Monday - February 22nd

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 4:1-12

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you

Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you?

James 4:1 NLT



Historians define war as an active conflict that has claimed more than 1,000 lives.


Throughout human history, times of war have dominated times of peace. According to the New York Times, of the past 3,400 years of recorded history, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them. That is just 8% of all of recorded history.

Estimates for the total number killed in wars throughout recorded history range from 150 million to 1 billion people. Such conflicts of the twentieth century cost at least 108 million lives.


Surprisingly, the two countries that have been at war with each other more times than any other are Sweden and Denmark. They have experienced 30 distinct wars with each other since the 15th century.


Humanity knows war much better than it knows peace. The Scriptures often use the concept of war to describe the conflict within us between our flesh and the Spirit of God. The battle that rages inside each follower of Christ can be intense. The Apostle Paul described the spiritual conflict within himself to the Roman church by saying, "I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway" (Romans 7:19).


The war within us reflects the tension of seeking to live out the Kingdom of Heaven and its values while still living in the kingdom of this world. In the first verse of the fourth chapter of his letter to other Christians, James tells us that the conflict within involves desires opposed to each other. The "evil desires" within us manifest themselves in tension and angst with other people.


Take a moment to identify what desires you wrestle with contrary to living out the Kingdom of Heaven in your life. Most of our inappropriate desires are rooted in lust, greed, or pride. Name the specific forms of these that you wrestle with to the Lord. Ask Him to help you choose to live according to His values and priorities rather than choosing your own lust, greed, or pride.


Ask God to give you personal, internal peace as you choose His values and priorities over the desires that would draw you away from the Lord's purposes for your life. Ask God to give you peace with others as you live out His Kingdom purposes today.


The war within is real. If not correctly handled, it can destroy your internal peace and your peace with others!

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