Divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses
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.
Today’s text says: For 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, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. 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, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints.
While we are to engage in spiritual warfare, most of what we see in these two passages is really for our defense, for our personal battle with the enemy. The fortresses or strongholds of the enemy that we destroy are not physical places. They are places that we have allowed the enemy to control in our own minds, by our wrong thoughts. When we doubt the word of God or believe a lie, we give strength to the enemy. That’s why the first item in the armor of God is the belt of truth. If we wrapped and supported by the truth of God, the lies of the devil cannot affect us. James 4:7-8 says: Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. If we stay close to God and His truth, the devil will flee.
When the text says: 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, it is not other people’s thoughts that we can take captive to obedience in Christ. It is our own. It is not that we out debate those who do not believe to destroy their arguments. We destroy the effects of their arguments and arrogance on our own thinking. Romans 12:21 says: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Philippians 4:8 tells us how we do that beginning in our own minds: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. One of the reasons that there is so much darkness and evil in our society and culture is because we are continually focused on the evil and darkness. Remember, our struggle is against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. The media is one of the world forces of darkness that is complicit with the devil in feeding the power of darkness and establishing its fortresses in the minds of people.
We are to 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, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints. We need to pray for all saints, both those who already believe and those who still need to come to know the truth.
May Jesus prayer for all the saints be our prayer today: “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, so that the Son may glorify You, just as You gave Him authority over all mankind, so that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth by accomplishing the work which You have given Me to do. And now You, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world existed…I am not asking on behalf of these alone, but also for those who believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I also have given to them, so that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and You loved them, just as You loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” Amen.