War is a behavior pattern exhibited by many primate species including humans, and also found in many ant species. The primary feature of this behavior pattern is a certain state of organized violent conflict that is engaged in between two or more separate social entities. Such a conflict is always an attempt at altering either the psychological hierarchy or the material hierarchy of domination or equality between two or more groups. In all cases, at least one participant (group) in the conflict perceives the need to either psychologically or materially dominate the other participant. Amongst humans, the perceived need for domination often arises from the belief that an essential ideology or resource is somehow either so incompatible or so scarce as to threaten the fundamental existence of the one group experiencing the need to dominate the other group. Leaders will sometimes enter into a war under the pretext that their actions are primarily defensive, however when viewed objectively, their actions may more closely resemble a form of unprovoked, unwarranted, or disproportionate aggression.
In all wars, the group(s) experiencing the need to dominate other group(s) are unable and unwilling to accept or permit the possibility of a relationship of fundamental equality to exist between the groups who have opted for group violence (war). The aspect of domination that is a precipitating factor in all wars, i.e. one group wishing to dominate another, is also often a precipitating factor in individual one-on-one violence outside of the context of war, i.e. one individual wishing to dominate another.
This definition of war is very enlightening. The parts in bold surprised me. I was reading 1 John 3 and I realized that one of the keys to remaining holy is abiding in Jesus. Abiding means to continue in a daily, personal relationship with Jesus, characterized by trust, prayer, obedience, and joy. I also realized that one of the keys to remaining holy is waging a war against sin. We are in a war, whether we like it or not, a war for our souls. 1 Peter 2:11-12 says "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."
Because of this it's especially helpful to know the definition of war. As stated above it's "an attempt at altering either the psychological hierarchy or the material hierarchy of domination or equality between two or more groups." In other words, it's an attempt to overthrow the dominant power. God is the dominant power. He created the universe, he sustains it, and he rules over it. Satan has come into this creation and has been slowly taking over parts of it. He focuses his energy on individuals. When he does this, when they lose, they no longer recognize God as the dominant power. He loses his rightful place. And because God is a loving God, he doesn't come and over-throw the new hierarchy by force. He comes and knocks gently on the individual's heart and wins them over internally.
The thing that is necessary to recognize, and what made me go "AHA!" is that a war is ocurring because ther is "an essential ideology...[that] is somehow...so incompatible...as to threaten the fundamental existence of the one group experiencing the need to dominate the other group" Satan is at war with us because his viewpoint of the world is at odds with God's, it threatens his existence. He knows he's defeated and he is doing everything in his power to grab as many people before he goes away.
We should recognize that we are in this war. Whether we like it or not. Because we are at war we should be "unwilling to accept or permit the possibility of a relationship of fundamental equality to exist between the groups who have opted for group violence" In other words, there should be no provision made for the flesh. NONE. The fact that any equal relationship is given to anything that Satan offers, is why we fall into sin. There must be a deep gap between us and sin. Our hearts need to be constantly in line with what God is telling us and giving us so we can recognize sin when it's coming. Satan is subtle and won't just come brazenly in, he'll offer sin as exactly what you want. The bait he'll use will be something you've been wanting your whole life, or something you lust after daily. All he asks you to do is bite, and the hook is set.
This is why the bible tells us to be on guard. 1 Corinthians 10:12 "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" Be careful that you don't fall. How do we do this? Abide.
1 John 1-3 gives us the instructions. Mainly chapter 1 says in verse 7"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin." And chapter 2 gives us the provision if we do fall verses 1-2"But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for[a] the sins of the whole world. Finally in chapter 3 he advises us to not practice sin once we're out of it in verse 6"No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him."
You see we are saved out of sin and invited to walk in the light as he is in the light. We are also given the tool of confession, in 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." He can do this because he is the atoning sacrifice. Even after all this we still have to be reminded not to practice sin once we're out of it.
All of this is because there is a war going on for our souls and our enemy will stop at nothing to get us to put him as the dominant power. God has defeated our enemy and gives us Jesus, not only as our initial savior, but as our continual savior. He saves us from our selves every day and wins anew our soul by our continual submission and surrender. The war can be won for Jesus simply by our consent.