2 Corinthians 10:3
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.”
The word ‘walk’ is a common idiom in the New Testament used to illustrate the way we live. Paul is reminding us that whether we are believers or not, we live in the natural world. Believer and unbeliever alike, breathe the same air, eat the same food, and need the same rest. Having said that, Paul goes on to remind us that, although we live in the natural world, we fight a spiritual battle. He does not use the word WAR, as a hook for his sermon, instead he is describing the everyday life of the Christian. From the moment we rise each and every day, we are in the midst of spiritual battle. One of the factors making this battle so difficult, is that it takes place on two fronts. We all battle against our own flesh. We must fight to resist temptation, overcome sin, and live as godly ambassadors of Christ. At the same time, we are battling to see our friends, family, neighbors co-workers, and acquaintances come to Christ. These battles are not won by natural means, but with spiritual weapons.
2 Corinthians 10:4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds . . .”
Often, when we are stirred to share Christ with others, we immediately think we are not a good communicator, don’t have all the answers, or that we are too shy. While all those things may be true, Paul reminds us that the weapons useful in seeing others won to Christ, are not natural, but spiritual. That means our weaknesses do not weaken the message, or limit God’s ability to use us. Paul refers to three effects our spiritual weapons will have on those who have yet to surrender to Christ. First, he states they are mighty to “pull down strongholds.” A person who has not responded to Christ, is in bondage to sin. That sin is like a chain or a prison cell keeping them from Christ. The sin might be substance abuse, partying, fear of man, wanting to fit in, sexual misconduct, pride, or a series of other sins. Whatever sin it may be, we have been equipped with weapons to break down those strongholds and set the prisoner free.
Second, Paul instructs us, our weapons will “cast down arguments.” Upon hearing the Gospel message, many immediately respond with arguments against surrender to Christ. Some of those arguments are based on what they have been taught about science, religion and philosophy. Others, based on personal experiences, that cast doubt on the promises of God. While still others, are based on a misunderstanding of Christ and Christianity. Whatever the source of the argument that exalts itself above the Word of God, we have weapons that cast down those arguments, so they can honestly consider Christ.
Finally, Paul speaks of our weapons “bringing every thought into the captivity of Christ.” I cannot speak to every case, but I know before coming to Christ, I spent a lot of energy thinking, but none of that energy was spent thinking about eternity. My thoughts were consumed with what I was going to do that day to enjoy life. It was only after hearing the Gospel, that my thoughts were captivated by Christ. Suddenly, I began to consider things that I had never thought of before. Will I go to heaven? Am I living right in God’s eyes? For what purpose was I created, and am I living out that purpose? The Christian has been equipped with weapons that will captivate the thinking of the lost.
Paul does not go on to list those weapons here, but when we travel to Ephesians 6, we learn the weapons he is describing are the Word of God and prayer. If we want to see others set free from sin and open to the Gospel of God, we need to pray for them and share with them. Take time today to pray for those in your life who do not know Christ, or are backslidden. Then step out and invite them to come to church with you.