Check out 2 Corinthians 10. That’s where we will be parking for a while as we continue our discussion.
“By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you – I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” 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
Paul jumps right in. Some of the Corinthians were making the claim that Paul liked to criticize them as soon as he left them – that he could be bold in his letters in a way that he couldn’t when he was with them. He begs that he may not have to challenge anyone for living in the world. He’s saying that even though we are in this world, we don’t have the same purpose as the world does. You see it’s not about us. It’s about God and His glory, and Paul of course recognized that. He says we do not wage war like the world does. I think it’s crazy how we can lose sight that we are actually in a battle here on this earth – and that’s a dangerous place to be.
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (a stronghold is anything we hold onto that eventually holds onto us.)
And what are these weapons? They can be found in Ephesians 6:13-18.
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” Ephesians 6:13-18, The Message
Paul talks to us about armor because we are in a battle, and it’s not a game of touch football. Notice his earnest language and repetitive use of certain words. This is a war with real weapons and real casualties. Our enemy is out to steal, kill and destroy. The devil would like nothing more than to see us end up on the injured reserve list. The list includes players on the team who at one time had skills on the field but are now unable to play because of an injury. If Satan can’t take us down completely, he will do whatever he can to keep us from the field.
In the midst of my battle with an eating disorder I was chewing on some pretty big lies and keeping myself on the injured reserve list. I convinced myself that I would feel sick if I didn’t empty the contents of my stomach. I believed everyone would approve of me more if I lost the weight. I maintained the fear that no one really wanted to see the real me. I kept the excuses coming.
We maintain excuses for not surrendering areas of our lives to the authority of Christ. Satan can give rationalizations for ANYTHING. Just like I can keep hitting the snooze button in the morning and convince myself that I don’t need a shower… or breakfast… or time in the Word… he can do the same with those sins we are hiding. Cutting, alcohol and drug addiction, sex, eating disorders, depression, self-loathing, lying, cheating… he has a never-ending arsenal.
Humility is going to be necessary to recognize those arguments and rationalizations! We must focus our eyes. THE TRUTH is to set us free and God is the ULTIMATE truth! The more we know God’s word, the quicker we can recognize Satan’s attempts! God’s Word should be in your heart and mind, on your tongue, and posted all over your world. I will give you some of my personal favorites for combating lies: Psalm 19:14, Psalm 22:23-24, Isaiah 55:8-9, Deuteronomy 30:19-20, 1 Thessalonians 2:4, Psalm 139: 23-24, 2 Corinthians 12:9, and of course, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.
Fight like you mean it.