{mosimage}Some time ago I was corresponding with a few women from the U.S. We were on an e-mail listserve together, the kind where all our messages were seen by the whole group. Two of the women were military wives. One, a woman in Oklahoma, sent a message to the other in New York. It was just one line, but it shocked me. She asked ? "Is your husband at war?" Suddenly the reality of the Iraq war hit me, especially when the woman from New York sent back one word, "Yes."

In his book, Waking the Dead, John Eldredge makes an equally shocking statement. "We are at war," he says, but most of us don't know it and don't act like it. We have been lulled into believing there is no enemy and we never anticipate his attacks. We've forgotten how to fight him and even when he wins a victory we are unaware.

Think about it. When did you say something you knew you shouldn't have? When did you tell a lie to avoid embarrassment? How about that day you got angry with everyone for no particular reason? When was the last time your mind took a cynical turn? How often do your thoughts follow a decidedly negative track?

Yes, we are at war and we must stand guard continually. The apostle Paul knew all about this kind of warfare. In 2 Corinthians he says ? "... we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2Cor.10: 3-5)

In the film, A Beautiful Mind, the main character learns to live with schizophrenia. There is a scene at the end of the film where he is approached by a stranger. He turns to one of his students and asks if there really is a man talking to him. When the student says yes, he continues the conversation. That man knows he is at war, will always be at war, and must continually check his perceptions of the world.

So must we. Check our attitudes, check our thoughts, check our behaviour. Have we forgotten we're under attack? Has the enemy slipped in and ambushed us, stolen our peace and disappeared again? Are we at war? We only need one word to answer. Yes.

How do we fight in such a war? The Apostle Paul gives us the answer ? "... whatever is true, whatever is noble. whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable ? if anything is excellent or praiseworthy ? think about such things." (Phil.4:8) And, to repeat ... "take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ." That and that alone, will result in a beautiful mind, at peace yet prepared to do battle.

Marcia Laycock is a pastor's wife and freelance writer living in Alberta Canada.  Her devotional book, The Spur of the Moment has been endorsed by Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and others.  To order, and to view more of Marcia's writing, see her web site - www.vinemarc.com
Copyright Marcia Lee Laycock, 2000, 2001,2002,2003,2004