II CORINTHIANS 10:3-5: “For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.” CSB
OBSERVATION: What are the battle lines in life? When we think about our values and ideals, how do we defend them? Are we to view those who oppose the Biblical values we hold dear as our enemies? In this day of great division and strife how does the believer in Jesus Christ position himself for the battles they will face?
How do we proclaim the truth and guard our hearts from hate?
One of the wonderful things that takes place when a person becomes a believer is that they are given a new heart of faith and spiritual eyes to see the reality of life. Before Christ we were all living a dualistic life. We lived in the realm of our body and our soul (mind, will, and emotions). Our spirit was dead to the spiritual realities of life. As such, we were unable to discern between the soul and the spirit. With respect to our differences, we drew battle lines against persons rather than ideas.
This is what is happening in the world today. There is no respect for a difference of ideas. Ideas are embodied with the person. If you hate the idea, you also hate the person. And the irony of this is that each side calls for tolerance. What they mean is – tolerance for their ideas, but marginalization for anyone who disagrees. And this marginalization has turned to violence. Violence in our discourse. Violence in our institutions. And, violence in our actions.
The believer in Jesus Christ must rise above the fray. We are reminded that, even though we are engaged in a battle, it is not won through unspiritual methods. Jesus stood unwaveringly for the truth. Yet, Jesus never hated the one who opposed the truth. He called them to repentance. He ministered to their temporal needs. And he lamented and wept over their hardness of heart and lack of faith. Jesus took his battle against sin and the lies of the enemy all the way to the cross!
The enemy of truth today is not a person. It is the father of lies, the prince of darkness, the enemy of our souls. He not only tries to sell his lies, he also tries to embody the battle in human flesh. If we are not careful we can fall to the same level. I have met so many Christians who are angry about the condition of our world. Yet, their anger has turned toward a human personality, or toward a segment of society. Our anger should be solely focused against the lie and the father of lies. Our warfare for truth is not against flesh and blood.
Jesus fought His battles against the enemy with truth and love. He proclaimed truth and manifested God’s love toward His creation. He broke down the stereotypes that separated the current culture. He dared to eat with sinners, touch lepers, and honor children and women. He opposed the cold orthodoxy of His day that was acting exactly the same as the pagan culture it opposed. And, He refused to raise a hand to defend Himself in His defense of the truth. He would not be silent, but He also would not cease to love and forgive.
Today we live in a Biblically illiterate culture. The basic tenants of morality are subjective. We no longer look to the Scriptures for our guidance. Rather, we look to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumbler. And, as we do, we become more and more polarized, and more and more focused on hating people than hating sin. To stand against sin today is called a hate crime. People cannot understand that you can love a person and still stand against the sin by which they are being held captive. Yet, this is what we are called to do. Love the sinner, and speak the truth in the face of the sin that ultimately will destroy their lives.
Why do we do this? Paul tells us in these verses from II Corinthians.
- “…since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.”
There is only one thing that can set someone free. It is the truth! The truth is the most powerful weapon in the world. It exposes the darkness, and it points the way to the cross. It demolishes strongholds, and it takes captive feigned wisdom that opposes the knowledge of Jesus Christ. The truth does not have to be defended, it only has to be declared. The enemy thought he had defeated truth when Jesus was nailed to the cross. Yet, three days later Jesus rose from the dead. You cannot defeat truth. You cannot kill truth. Truth is alive because Truth is Jesus Christ!
- “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7 CSB
Truth does not proclaim itself from a lofty tower, or from a place of superiority. Truth proclaims itself on a blended knee of service and prayer. Truth turns the other cheek, walks the extra mile, and manifests love in the face of hatred. Truth is willing to die rather than fight. Truth knows that light always overcomes darkness. The battle may be lost from time to time, but the war for truth and righteousness will ultimately be won!
- “Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and he judges and makes war with justice. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on his head. He had a name written that no one knows except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. The armies that were in heaven followed him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. A sharp sword came from his mouth, so that he might strike the nations with it. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. And he has a name written on his robe and on his thigh: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:11-16 CSB
Lord, forgive me for the times when I have tried to defend the truth in an unspiritual way. Forgive me for embodying the lie in a person and seeing my struggle as one against flesh and blood. Help me to follow the example of Jesus, who loved all, and yet did not waiver in proclaiming the truth of the Kingdom of God. And, help me to entrust the victory for the truth into the hands of the one called Faithful and True. Until You return, may I be found sharing Your love and truth, with all who oppose the knowledge of God, so that they may be set free and enter into the blessing and joy of eternal life!
In Jesus Name!