Though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh
2 Corinthians 10 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! 2 I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I intend to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
7 You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, have him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so too are we. 8 For if I boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame, 9 for I do not want to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. 10 For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.” 11 Have such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.
12 For we do not presume to rank or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they have no understanding. 13 But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the domain which God assigned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other people’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our domain, enlarged even more by you, 16 so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the domain of another. 17 But the one who boasts is to boast in the Lord. 18 For it is not the one who commends himself that is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
Romans 12:21 says: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Psalm 37:8 says: Cease from anger and abandon wrath; Do not get upset; it leads only to evildoing. There is a place for righteous anger. We need to recognize though that righteous anger is not anger against what offends us, but rather against what offends God. Righteous anger is not about our rights being violated, but rather about what is not right in God sight being tolerated. In today’s text it says: Though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. When we wage our battles in the flesh, when we battle with evil in our own strength, through worldly methods, we do not overcome evil. Instead, we actually feed the very thing we are trying to overcome. We ourselves are overcome by the evil we are trying to battle. We cannot destroy the arguments and arrogance that others raise up against the knowledge of God, even with the truth. They have already decided to believe a lie. We can only overcome evil with good. We should engage and wage our battles in the spiritual realm, rather than the earthly realm. We first need to take all of our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. We yield and submit to Him and the Holy Spirit. In Luke 12:12 Jesus says: “The Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Often there is nothing we can say. In those times, Romans 8:26-27 says: The same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Holy Spirit prayer is our divinely powerful weapon, because the Holy Spirit will always pray according to the will of God. Then we can be assured that good will overcome evil because we will see God’s kingdom come and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Ephesians 6:10-18 says: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit. The first thing we are to do when we engage the world forces of evil, is to put on the belt of truth. Again, it is vital that we recognize that truth is not an offensive weapon. We will not overcome evil with truth because they have believed a lie. Truth is for our protection, to protect us from the lies of the enemy. The breastplate of righteousness is not our righteousness, but rather the righteousness of God and Christ. It is their righteousness that we are standing for and waging the battle for. We put on the gospel of peace and we walk in that peace. Romans 12:18 says: If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Remember it is not the people we are battling against, but rather the evil that has lied and motivated them. Romans 16:20 says: The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. When we walk in peace, God walks with us and fights for us. He will, in truth, He already has crushed Satan. We take up the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. These are also defensive weapons. Our faith protects us from the attacks of the enemy. Romans 8:31 says: If God is for us, who is against us? The helmet of salvation also protects us. Knowing that we are saved in Christ, we need not fear what anyone or anything can do to us. Psalm 23:4 says: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me. Even death, the worst that they can do to us, is nothing to fear. It has no lasting power over us. It is merely a shadow which is dispelled by the light of God. Finally, we take up our only offensive weapon in the battle against evil: the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit. Again, the prayer Jesus taught us to pray is: Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We overcome evil with good when we pray the word and the will of God, when we are part of bringing the realities of the kingdom of heaven to earth.
2 Chronicles 20:15 says: Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. It may seem like we are outnumbered and in truth on earth perhaps we are, but if we will wage our battles in the heavenly realm, those who are with God are more and greater than those in the world. Today’s text says: the one who boasts is to boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself that is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. We battle and boast in the Lord.
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be
Your name. Your kingdom come.
Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.