What To Do When Our World Is At War

Matt Mylin   -  

This month marks the 2nd anniversary of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. In addition to the tragedies surrounding the war between Russia and Ukraine, nations like Israel and Palestine and numerous other countries around the world are experiencing the devastating effects of armed conflicts.

Wars and conflicts between nations have been going on for centuries, making it easy to “get used to it.” Yet, many innocent humans created in the image of God have lost their lives because of these conflicts. If you’re anything like me, it creates tension inside as a follower of Jesus (learn how God tests our humility and character in conflicting situations).

Jesus assured his disciples of a few things that we see today.

“Don’t let anyone mislead you,” Jesus told his disciples. “For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:4-7).

Here are a few thoughts on war and our world:

1) “Don’t panic,” Jesus said.

In my short lifetime, there have been many wars and even more rumors of wars. I have seen horrific footage of nations going to war against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms. It’s natural for these conflicts to create chaos and instability. What does the future hold? When will there be peace on earth?

If you know someone serving in the military, it brings it even closer to home. Yet Jesus tells us not to be afraid. You can be aware of what is going on without letting fear control you.

2) There are two sides to every conflict. 

I’m fairly informed on some of these conflicts while also recognizing a lot of propaganda going out and contextual information withheld. Nations will justify why war is necessary based on their interests.

While it’s tempting to take sides, it’s not always helpful or accurate.

3) Humans have an instinct to fight, defend, and conquer for personal gain.

There is a root cause for this instinct called selfishness. Sin’s nature corrupted what God has made perfect. In Genesis, this plays out as Cain murdered his brother Abel. Cain was angry that God accepted Abel’s offering but not his; he took matters into his own hands and murdered his brother.

4) Don’t trust in positions of power or influence.

The disciples heard Jesus talk about the kingdom of God often. Their understanding was that Jesus would be a king to overthrow the oppression of the Roman government, establishing a new kingdom for Israel to be free. They were focused on positions of power and influence.

Jesus introduced something different.

5) Among you, it will be different.

Jesus called his disciples together and clarified, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.

But among you, it will be different.

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26).

6) Be bold and courageous servant leaders.

Now is not the time for followers of Jesus to shrink back but to be bold and courageous. Speak the truth in love.

Jesus invites his followers to focus on courageously serving others instead of looking to be served. Spend time, effort, and resources participating in building the kingdom of God because it will have an eternal impact.

7) “Don’t be deceived,” Jesus said.

Self-deception is one of the most significant obstacles to overcome because humans are very good at fooling themselves. If Jesus tells us not to be deceived, that must mean it’s easy to be deceived.

8) Be discerning.

Jesus assured us, “Many will be deceived” by those who claim to come in the name of Jesus. This is a sobering reality. Just because someone claims to come in the name of Jesus doesn’t mean they are.

Followers of Jesus must learn to discern by being a student of God’s Word submitted to the Holy Spirit.

9) Pray for peace on earth.

If your prayers about the world were answered today, what would happen?

I’ve been guilty of not praying for the world, but I want to do better. And I want our church to continue growing in how we pray according to what Jesus taught.

Pray for the church of Jesus Christ around the world to shine bright, be bold and courageous, and meet the needs of people who are hurting. 

Pray for the leaders of nations to humble themselves before God and find ways to resolve differences peacefully instead of through wars.

Pray for the sanctity of human life, where every man, woman, and child is valued as made in the image of God.

Pray for our Global Partners to have open doors to bring the good news of Jesus to the ends of the earth (here’s how we can pray for our Global and Local Partners).

Jesus has called his followers to follow him, live in this world without fear, and share this good news with others. 

He is the hope of the world.