This song is probably the one I like most that last few months. It’s so true from the title to the words you might not exactly get at first listen. It’s humbling and inspiring, filled with justice and grace. It’s the truth in all of us.
I’ve been reading the Psalms recently this month. Each time they mention enemy, my heart and brain signal that my enemy is myself. I am the war inside of me.
Take for example Psalm 3:1: O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me (ESV). The Psalms sing of enemies; real ones like Assyria, Bablyon and more – countries they were at war with. While wars wage around this globe currently, much more devastating wars are taking place in hearts, minds, bodies and souls across this world – and those are the scariest wars. Idealogies we subscribe to, people we follow, foods we eat – all decisions we make (really that summarizes it all) come out of a war being wages inside of us. Take a look at these lyrics:
Put your hands up open wide
Put your hands up side by side
Age don’t matter, like race don’t matter,
Like place don’t matter like what’s inside
It doesn’t matter what you look like, what you can do, what your age is, if you have limbs or not, if you’re disabled or “perfect,” nor what your race is: there is a war inside. As I mentioned, the war is spiritual; but spiritual isn’t just religious. Our souls, we as spiritual beings, encompass all that we are. Granted Jesus says to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, but I find no better word than “soul” to really give the holistic view of who we are. Maybe I’m off in this – maybe it’s our “being,” but whatever it is – we aren’t just spiritual beings – we are heart, mind, body and soul. The spiritual war is all of these. I’m convinced our diet is spiritual. Our consumption of film, music, books and other media forms like websites, television channels and shows and more are wars that wage inside of us. Our bodies and minds are fed by so much. And we do have control of this.
Let the kick drum kick one time
Breathe out let your mind unwind
Eyes on the ceiling, looking for the feeling,
Wide open let your own eyes shine
Those moments when we’re lost in our thoughts, when insomnia has the better of us, our mind’s battle rages. I’m blessed because it’s less often than it used to be when I am kept awake by my thoughts, but boy do they go in the daytime. I mention we nned to have control of these. And I believe we do. But we need to recognize that it is a war.
Yah! It’s where the fight begins
Yah! Underneath the skin
Beneath these hopes and where we’ve been
Every fight comes from the fight within
Battles rage. Always. Even in those times when we’re resting and having down time. We need not feel guilty for them (unless they are too much in excess). Guilt is always a fact, you either are guilty or not; but feelings of guilt can be evil. As a Christ-follower, I am guilty of sin (Romans 3:23) and I deserve death (Romans 6:23), but I’m not then to live in condemnation (Romans 8:1) provided I continually seek to glorify the guiltless one who took my guilt and paid its punishment (John 18:38), satisfying God’s wrath (Hebrews 2:17).
I am the war inside
I am the battle line
I am the rising tide
I am the war I fight
Eyes open, open wide
I can feel it like a crack in my spine
I can feel it like the back of my mind
I am the war inside
I few weeks back I wrote about tides. I saw the grief process as this ebbing and flowing of tides. The ebbing and flowing is necessary, but we can easily have a high tide crashing in too hard or a low tide that carries you out to sea. This just seems to echo that we can be the waves crashing; that we are the tides – “we” equating with the war inside.
We are the wars we fight. We are the battle line and both sides of it. Our eyes are open wide when the fight goes on. Sometimes they leak with drips, other times a waterfall with tears. Other times they are filled with rage. Then there’s those moments the glaze fills with weariness. Or confusion. Or epiphany.
We can feel the war as if we cracked our spine – it’s painful and crippling at times. And like that thought that is in the back of your mind, constantly persuading thoughts in the fore frame of the skill (though not being the object at hand or before their eyes), it plagues you like the slow processing bubonic.
I get the feeling like we’re living in sci-fi
I get the feeling that our weapons are low –fi
Ain’t no killer like pride, no killer like I
No killer like what’s inside
Not being a huge fan of sci-fi but beginning to appreciate it more, I understand that this war is like a sic-fi story that is both complicated and at times seems to not make sense. And our weapons internally are low-fidelity. They’re the black & white tv compared to the enemy’s HD, an eight-track sound matched with a digital download, a civil war shotgun duel with a semi-automatic weapon, a chihuahua and pit bull living together. Us against the Enemy – so often through ourselves – is futile.
Yah! It’s in the air we breathe
Yah! It’s in the blood we bleed
Beneath these dreams and what we see
We are the kids of the in-between
We find this war everywhere. Drive down the street and see if you don’t find something that can spark the mental war that might rage in you. I have a shirt from high school that says on the back, “We bleed orange.” Our high school colors were orange and brown (gross, I know, but oddly enough I still love ’em). We bleed vengeance, competition and bleed certain colors – whether that be in taste with music, sports teams, political sides, moral issues, worship styles, movies, actors/actresses, car types, food, you name it! We are passionate about something and that passion quite frequently causes a war inside us. It’s not about Truth or what’s right, it’s about the war.
We are the kids who are in-between. So often we don’t know it and believe we are on the “right side” of whatever spectrum I just wrote about, but the reality is that we are in-between. In between Truth and Lie. Past & future. Birth & death. Temporary life and eternal life. Heaven and Hell. Kingdom of God already & not yet. And I’m sure that only touches the tip of the in-between iceberg.
I am the war inside . . .
Yah! Every thought or deed
Yah! Every tree or seed
Big things come from a little dream
Every world is made by make-believe
It continues with the in-betweens: thoughts & deeds, trees & seeds, big things & dreams. It closes by saying every world is made by make-believe. Hyperbole, people! Hyperbole! We aren’t living in some train-ridden Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood puppet world, but in a internal battle field that we so often make up. The eternal battle is real. The way we see it so often unreal. We often see “spiritual battle” as something that is in fact a test. It has very little to do with Satan but a lot to do with God. When people fill with sin and they choose the way of flesh instead of Spirit, the spiritual world is engaged. When things “just happen” and it’s no one’s fault, I think it’s probably more often a test. Being a sports fan, I think this is so relevant. The “Name your sport League” is a world in and of itself. Having gotten so worked up by games for so long, it’s really more of a test than some spiritual battle that Satan is throwing at me. Now the cheerleaders, the beer, the commercials, the attitudes of people . . . truly spiritual. This being said, we need to know our limits. I’ve learned that I need to steer clear of intense competition in sports at this point in my life. I know I can get too worked up despite knowing “it’s just a game.” It’s make believe.
I love the illustration that 2 three year-olds were talking in the command center of a nuclear power plant explaining to one another how the whole thing worked. One saw his dad push a certain button and it did something. The other heard from a friend (on fb?) that a certain combination of buttons did something else. They figured that they pretty much could run the plant. They were confident, willing to take any risks and not all concerned about messing anything up.
While that illustration IS make-believe, it’s pretty parallel to how we view things in life: be it creation & environmental concerns; government and moral issues; family systems and raising kids; needs and wants in our materialistic haven, or whatever else you might be able to think of.
There’s a war inside each of us between Truth and Lie. Between flesh and Spirit. Between defeat and Hope. The Truth of Jesus and Spirit of God – both God Himself – is the only hope. And the best hope.