II CORINTHIANS 10:3-6: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: We are in a battle! There is a war raging in our culture and the church. We can isolate ourselves and pretend it is not happening or we can enter the battle. Either way, we will be impacted by the war at hand. If we are going to survive, if we are going to turn the tide,
WE HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO FIGHT!
Whenever we hear the word “fight” we think of physical interaction. Images of rioting and protests come to mind. When rioting took place in the streets of Seattle for weeks on end, this is not the type of fighting that Paul is referring to. We see extreme examples on both the right and the left. All of these Paul would condemn.
The believer is in a battle. It is a battle for truth. It is a battle for the Kingdom of God. And, this battle cannot be waged on a physical or psychological level with either force or coercion. It cannot even be won through political parties and their platforms. This battle is spiritual in nature and can only be won with spiritual weapons. This is why Paul emphatically says,
- “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…”
The strongholds we are standing against are those things that oppose and exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. This is a battle for truth and there are only two weapons that we have been given to wage this war. These weapons are,
THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT AND PRAYER IN THE SPIRIT!
- “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”. Ephesians 6:17-18 NKJV
Every other piece of armor that we have been given is defensive armor. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the preparation of the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation – these are all defensive. The two that remain are our offensive weapons – prayer and the Word of God! If we are going to survive and make an impact in the war we face we must learn to use these two weapons wisely!
How can we meet hearts hardened with hatred and strife? How can we loose the bonds of those whom the enemy has enslaved? How can we keep our lives pure in the process?
GOD’S WORD AND PRAYER!
The greatest example of this in practice is Jesus’ warfare with Satan in the wilderness. Jesus had been fasting and praying for 40 days. The enemy took the opportunity to oppose Jesus when he was physically weak. The enemy’s tactics were predictable. He tempted Jesus with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Jesus did not get into a shouting match with Satan. Jesus fought the enemy from the place of prayer and with the sword of the Spirit as He said,
“IT IS WRITTEN…”
Three times the enemy twisted the Scriptures trying to get Jesus to fall. And, three times Jesus, from the place of prayer, used the Scriptures with integrity to overcome the enemy! Paul probably had this in mind when he wrote,
- “…Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”
Without prayer, we will move with presumption and begin to lean upon our own understanding, timing, and power. Without the Word, we will not be able to meet the enemy’s lies with the truth of God. Prayer is to be in the Spirit. This means it is to be led by the Holy Spirit and it is to lead us into the very presence of God. In prayer, we surrender as we listen for God’s direction. In prayer, we receive the revelation of God as we abide in His Word. In prayer, we enlist the host of heaven in our spiritual warfare. And, in prayer, we learn to use the sword of the Spirit in love!
WE NEED TO LEARN HOW TO FIGHT!
This war can only be won by soldiers who are speaking the truth in love. We cannot join the host of angry voices waving our fists in the air. We cannot succumb to worldly methods to win spiritual battles. We cannot force or coerce others – but we can meet them with love and truth. As we move in the power of the Holy Spirit, born out of a life of prayer, and rooted in the truth of God’s Word, we can begin to win the battle…
ONE HEART AT A TIME!
Lord, teach me how to fight! Teach me how to pray! Teach me how to love! Teach me how to lay my life down so that when I speak people will not hear another angry voice but they will hear the truth of Your Word…
IN THE POWER OF YOUR LOVE!
In Jesus’ Name!