Currently, the world’s nuclear-armed states possess just under 15,000 warheads. Within recent years, other countries have obtained these weapons as well, resulting in nine countries worldwide that have nuclear arms. It’s scary to admit, but there’s a large, at-hand arsenal of methods to destroy ourselves on a global scale. Likewise, in our personal lives, we’re all prone to make mistakes and disappoint each other, creating an ample arsenal to destroy one another. What keeps us from pressing the launch button and destroying our relationships?
“What causes quarrels and fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain so you fight and quarrel.” (James 4:1-2) Our passions – our self-seeking wants and desires – are the powder keg that lives within us. When we let those passions of the flesh win, we’re pressing the launch button over and over, bombing our closest relationships. Yet, we don’t despair because, way back in Ezekiel 36:27, God promised us supernatural assistance. “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” This Spirit, which is marked by “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23) keeps us from falling prey to those petty arguments, spiteful reactions, and jealousies that destroy.
Paul understood this inner war between the flesh and Spirit, explaining, “…walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit…” (Galatians 5:16-17) Can the works of the flesh like, “enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries…” (Galatians 5:20) co-exist with the fruits of the Spirit? Can we fuss at a cashier while being patient? Can we slander a co-worker while demonstrating love? Of course, the answer to these questions is, “No.” All this tells us that the Holy Spirit dismantles the hateful bombs we carry for one another proving “the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)
All around we see bombs going off between loved ones and best friends, leveling in a few moments what takes years to build. If you’re tired of the fussing and the fighting, the division and the discord, call upon God’s Spirit to make his home with you and dismantle this dysfunction. Jesus reminds us, in Luke 11:13, how willing God is to give this Holy Spirit to us, saying, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Only God can save us from the things we do to one another!