I came across a verse in the tenth chapter of 2 Corinthians the other day and for some reason this ended up being the passage that God wanted me to preach on today! It seems to happen often after God speaks encouraging words to us or we take steps of faith in obedience to do His will that we face some opposition.
I believe the greatest strategy that the enemy has against every believer is to believe something different about ourselves or our situation than what God speaks about them. This passage brings great light to how we are to walk in the Lord when we face this type of opposition.
I. Opposition against our authority or value
2 Corinthians 10:1-2: Now I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ— though I realize you think I am timid in person and bold only when I write from far away. Well, I am begging you now so that when I come I won’t have to be bold with those who think we act from human motives.
Paul’s authority was being challenged. He had not been present at the church in Corinth and had a church that was experiencing a lot of drama. These false teachers wanted to take over and were challenging Paul in order to do so. They called him timid.
2 Corinthians 10:9-13: I’m not trying to frighten you by my letters. For some say, “Paul’s letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are worthless!” Those people should realize that our actions when we arrive in person will be as forceful as what we say in our letters from far away. Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!
II. How we fight our battles
2 Corinthians 10:3-6: We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.
Ephesians 6:12: For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
We like to blame other people for our problems. When things aren’t go well in our country, we blame the government. When things aren’t going well in our homes, we blame our spouse or our kids. When things aren’t going well at work, we blame our bosses or coworkers.
We can all agree that we have had people in our lives that have caused us some problems. We may also agree that we allowed our emotions get the best of us and we said some things that we should not have. We may also agree that we allowed our emotions get the best of us and we said some things that we should not have.
We fight people in the natural instead of fighting the enemy in the spiritual realm. Don’t fight the wrong battles because it will get you nowhere. Fight the battles that bring advancement to the Kingdom!
If our battle is in the spiritual realm, then we need to use spiritual weapons.
What are worldly weapons?
Authority, wealth, militant might, charisma, beauty, knowledge
What are God’s weapons?
God’s Word, faith, persistent prayer, Identity in Christ, the gifts of the spirit, godly living
The battle is in our minds. Are we believing the devil's lies or are we believing God’s truth?
1. Knock down strongholds of human reasoning and destroy false arguments.
Think of strongholds in a military sense. If you can’t down these strongholds, the battle goes on and you never advance into new territory. This is worldly reasoning (thinking).
2. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God.
What keeps us from moving forward in God’s will? Pride and rebellious attitudes.
3. Take captive every rebellious thought and teach them to obey Christ.
Have you ever had a bad thought in your mind and was upset at yourself for thinking that way? Most of the time that is the enemy putting those thought there. How do we capture these thoughts and teach them to obey Christ? Just speak God’s truth. Say the opposite. What does God say about us? I am loved by God, I am righteous in Him, I can do all things through Christ. If you have a negative thought about your spouse or a co-worker, say what God thinks about them. Speak a blessing over them.
2 Corinthians 10:7-8: Look at the obvious facts. Those who say they belong to Christ must recognize that we belong to Christ as much as they do. I may seem to be boasting too much about the authority given to us by the Lord. But our authority builds you up; it doesn’t tear you down. So I will not be ashamed of using my authority.
Paul is acknowledging that we all belong to Christ equally. No one is better than anyone else. We have different responsibilities that come with different authority. Paul was going to be faithful to do the things that God had asked Him to do. He would use His authority to build people up, not tear them down.
2 Corinthians 10:13-14: We will not boast about things done outside our area of authority. We will boast only about what has happened within the boundaries of the work God has given us, which includes our working with you. We are not reaching beyond these boundaries when we claim authority over you, as if we had never visited you. For we were the first to travel all the way to Corinth with the Good News of Christ.
Paul further clarifies that He is working within the boundaries that God had given Him and they were within the boundary. They started the church and now they are making sure it stays strong in the Lord so that it can grow.
It is vital that we understand the boundaries God has set for us. When we flow in these boundaries, He expands them so that His Kingdom will expand as well. This goes back to what we have been talking about for a while as a church - knowing our identity in Christ. This is what enables us to walk in all that God wants us to walk in individually and as a church.
I am sure some of us have been fighting battles lately. Hopefully you are fighting the right battles and are using the mighty weapons that God has given us. If not, you can start doing that today!