THIS WEEK’S FOCUSED SCRIPTURE
By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, 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. 2 Corinthians 10:1-5 (NIV)
THOUGHTS FROM RICH
2 Corinthians 10 begins the chapter with a majority of the believers at Corinth reaffirming Paul’s authority and submitting to his teachings and spiritual leadership. Yet, just like the world we live in, a small minority, led by false spiritual leaders of the day, looked to undermine the gospel as they did Satan’s work. They were resisting Paul’s leadership, slandering his person and character. Are we supposed to put up with that when people in today’s society do that to you and me, or even our children?
Look how Paul addresses what our posture as Christ-followers should be in today’s world, when we hear or see false teaching, slander, malice, or other forms of spiritual or physical destruction taking place. Verses 3-5 say, “For though we live in the world, 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.”
Stop for a moment and look at one of the words the Apostle uses; it is the word “pretension.” It’s stated as “every pretension” that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. The word pretension is defined as, “a claim to dignity, importance, or merit.” With all of today’s social media, movies, television, emails, and other modes of communication, we live in a world, in a society, that is obsessed with us knowing how important someone is, their accolades, achievements, and beauty. All these traits and more, lead to mankind truly believing in his heart that he is as smart or, in some cases, smarter than God Himself.
Paul goes on to remind the early church believers about using every weapon in their arsenal; not weapons in our gun safe or sock drawer, but weapons that are supernatural. Our human weapons cannot destroy the work of Satan, but God’s weapons can. His weapons destroy Satan’s fortress or unrighteousness, shame, false teachings, slander, and many other personal tools he uses to kill, steal, and destroy us.
What are some of the weapons that a Christ-follower possesses? Intense prayer, uncompromising commitment to God’s Word, integrity, truthfulness, worship, righteous living, proclamation of the gospel (going public with our faith and sharing the life-changing news with family and friends), and love. These are just a few of the weapons Paul says we cannot lay aside in these last days. Our spiritual and physical lives will depend upon it. God wants to pour out a Holy revival in these last days, but we cannot fall into the trap of using “worldly weapons” to fight a spiritual battle.
Christian warfare involves bringing all of our thoughts into alignment with Christ’s will. Failure to do so will lead to immorality and spiritual death. Use the following four steps to bring your thought-life under Christ’s lordship:
- Be aware that God knows every thought and that nothing is hidden from Him. (Psalm 94:11; Psalm 139:2, 4, 23-24)
- Be aware that the mind is a battleground. Some thoughts originate with us, others come directly from the enemy. (Ephesians 6:12-13)
- Be resolute in focusing your mind on Christ and heavenly things rather than on earthly things. (Philippians 3:19; Colossians 3:2)
- Always be careful what your eyes see, and what your ears hear. (Proverbs 7:2; Matthew 6:22-23; Matthew 7:4)
Not only living in these last days, but winning in these last days, will take being “bold” spiritually and physically through using the spiritual weapons only God can provide. Be bold, be strong, and be courageous!