As a species, we humans are a strange bunch. Someone invents something and someone else thinks of how it can be used to exploit, harm or kill other people. Why do we do things like this? Alfred Nobel thought that by inventing, “…material or a machine which would have such a devastating effect that war from then on, would be impossible”. Less than ten years later (1884), Hiram Maxim invented an automatic gun that could fire 666 rounds in less than a minute. Writing about some of his inventions, The New York Times in 1897, “… suggested their mere existence might convince world leaders to settle conflicts diplomatically”. Nope. We still went on to have World War One.
This is one of the reasons it may be a good idea to watch movies on war from time to time. Unlike the beauty and glory of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, war is an awful business where there is always collateral damage and no one wins.
Realists, however, will remind us that we live in a broken world and there will always be sick bastards out there who want to get at us (just because). Which is why we have government agencies that protect us and keep us safe. And we should be thankful to all those who put their lives on the line. But the way wars will be won now and the future will be significantly different. Last month, the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) announced that a new “Cyber warfare unit” would be launched. Conflict now may be decided by people in darkened back rooms with screens and keyboards. It is fascinating that the criteria for some future ADF recruits will not be bigger guns but bigger brains.
In the same way, followers of Jesus are reminded that they too are at war. The Kingdom of God is here and it is advancing, but it is not against “flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12). Our weapons are prayer, time with God, and meditating on the Scriptures. The reality for Christians is that spiritual disciplines and how we spend time with God is what matters in our fight.