2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “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”
Is all fighting bad? All fighting is a result of evil in the world, but is it always wrong for us to fight? My parents taught me to try to stay out of fights when I was growing up. I tried to teach my children the same thing. Jesus himself told us to turn the other cheek when someone strikes us, to let the one who wants to take our tunic take our cloak as well.
Not all those who refuse to fight do so because of their lofty moral principles, however. Sometimes people won’t fight because they are cowards and they are afraid of what they might lose. They are unwilling to risk personal sacrifice, not realizing that fighting might be the only chance to preserve any of the good they have.
Those who fight do fight, on the other hand, don’t always do so out of hatred, or a thirst for revenge, or a greedy desire for what belongs to someone else. There are those who fight to protect their families, defend their homes, or prevent the spread of evil. There are the fights, metaphorically speaking, that we fight to survive the challenges life throws our way. For two years my son fought cancer, truly a battle for his life.
Then there are the spiritual battles we fight for the hearts and minds of ourselves and others. These are the battles Paul had in mind in these words to the Christians in Corinth. For these fights God has equipped us with special weapons. We have the power of his word. We have the power of his Spirit working through that word. “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29). We have prayer, which is “powerful and effective” in the mouth of a righteous person (James 5:16).
We are constantly bombarded with sensible-sounding arguments for why God’s moral standards of the past no longer apply today. We are constantly tempted to think that we can get along without Jesus. We are good people who try hard and don’t much need a Savior from sin, we may think.
But God’s word still confronts the same sins it has been calling out for thousands of years. The gospel still insists Jesus is the only way to be saved, and still promises his grace and forgiveness to all who believe in him, no matter what pretentious human pride has to say.
As we look back at the struggles of the year just ending, we know that we will face battles in the year ahead. Some will be battles for our health or safety. Often hardest to see are these never ending spiritual battles for our souls.
For us, the most important fights are the spiritual ones. It’s unlikely we will be invading a foreign country with swords and spears, possibly spilling our blood on a battlefield. Our battleground is more likely to be the office, our homes, or even our churches. Our weapons will be the Word of God and prayer.
The stakes in the fights we face are just as high or higher than any literal military operations. The souls of God’s people hang in the balance. God’s word, especially the gospel, demolishes the arguments that contradict the knowledge of God. It takes our own thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ. We fight, but we don’t fight unarmed, and we don’t fight alone. Our weapons have divine power. Pick them up and use them in the contests of this coming year.