CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

March 25, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins: Envy #3: When War is the Answer


CAROLYN’C COMPOSITIONS

LENTEN STUDY: 7 DEADLY SINS

ENVY #3: WHEN WAR IS THE ANSWER

MONTE W. HOLLAND

INTRODUCTION

     The following study is a journey through Lent, the forty-day pre-Easter season (which excludes Sundays).  Easter’s date, determined by the time of the first full moon after the Spring equinox, is very late this year.

     Traditionally, many Christians use Lent for self-examination and a renewal of their commitment to their faith.

     This year I  chose to do a devotional study on aspects of the Seven Deadly Sins, sins identified by very early Christians as key behaviors separating man from God and God’s will. The seven sins are not listed together in the Bible—each is, however, spoken about in various Scripture sites.

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THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS:

GREED, ENVY, ANGER, LUST, GLUTTONY, SLOTH and PRIDE.

THE ASPECTS OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS ARE:

#1 Breaking the Mosaic Law

#2 Defying God or rebelling against God

#3 Acts of violence to others

#4 Failing to make proper sacrifices or worship

#5 Not living up to or reflecting God’s glory (not living as one created in God’s image)

ENVY #3:

WHEN WAR IS THE ANSWER

SCRIPTURE: 1 WHAT LEADS to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? 2 You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask. James 4:1-2   [I John 3:15]  (AMP) 

DEVOTION: If war is the answer, most likely you are asking the wrong question.

          For James the answer is prayer: You do not have, because you do not ask. What is the right question:  Gracious God, are you ready to meet my needs as you see fit and give me the gratitude to accept your response? Amen.

     Too often, on the way to a good prayer life, sensual desires, jealousy, covetousness, anger, and envy get in the way. These are the items mentioned in the Amplified Bible reading of these verses from James.  The verse concludes by saying that when we burn with envy and anger, we fight and war.

     I thought I should take a “crash course” on the causes of war on the Internet. What an eye-opener! There seems to be no simple answer from the political scientists. One cause can be expectation of success. Another can be sudden disruption of the status quo. Another can be difference in ideology and resources—the list goes on.

     Our Bible passage seems to be more clear: conflict comes from our sensual desires, jealousy and covetousness, envy and anger. I am not so sure that the political scientists would get a clearer picture by reading the Bible. Think about recent wars in our history. How often has it been about the sensual desire of one leader to prove that he was tougher than his adversary? How often has it been about what they have (say oil) that we want? How often has it been anger about the act of an individual or group in another country? Or how often is it about resentment of the religious majority in another country?

     To sell covetousness, envy, jealousy and anger short as the causes of war is to fail to respect the word of God in the Bible. The Bible cannot be pigeonholed to political philosophy, societal cause, or national consensus. The Bible gives clear guidance through the morass of political, religious, societal and national structures.

     For the Christian faced with envy, jealousy, anger, etc., war is not the answer. Prayer is God’s answer, our line of communication that moves us from sin to the positive alternative. In the case of envy, we are moved to love. Genuine love often negates war as the answer.

Prayer: Loving God, hear our prayer. When the biggest strains on our life and culture confront us, make us aware of our personal weaknesses and help us to be beacons of your love for all to see. Amen.

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To read the previous devotion, click on: Let’s Kill Him

To read the following devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Anger #3: I Would Never Get That Angry, Would I?

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ADDITIONAL READING:

ABRAHAM, SARAH, HAGAR and sons ISHMAEL and ISAAC

JOCHEBED & LUCY: STORIES OF ADOPTION AND MOTHER’S LOVE

AQUILA AND PRISCILLA: A Script on their Marriage

RIGHTING A CIVIL WAR WRONG: A Gravestone for a Civil War Veteran

DARE TO BE A CLOWN: Clown History

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