We are living in contentious times. It’s shocking how the simplest matter can turn into an argument!
There is a right way and a wrong way to express ourselves. As followers of Jesus, we have specific instructions when dealing with hostile interactions. The wrong way perpetuates division. The right way is divinely powered.
Yet we live in a day and age where battle lines are drawn over any topic, and people are dying on hills that have no eternal value.
Today’s culture appears to value “the narrative” over truth. The reasoning is if I can communicate my opinion convincingly enough and get enough people to agree with me, this becomes my truth.
Yet, truth by definition is exclusive and non-arbitrary. There is only one truth, and everything else is an opinion.
In 2 Corinthians 10, the Apostle Paul directs his attention to false teachers adding to the Gospel through persuasive speech. Not only that, they are attempting to smear Paul’s name with criticism.
Their indictment against him is that Paul was;
- Fickle. 2 Corinthians 2:17
- Two-faced and weak. 2 Corinthians 10:1
- Not a good speaker. 2 Corinthians 10:10
- Walking (living) in the flesh. 2 Corinthians 10:2
This was an attempt to undermine the authority and teaching of Paul. This situation highlights the importance of the centrality of the Gospel in our thoughts, words, and actions.
With every passing day, every online tweet and post, every action and reaction, we must remember that we are Jesus’ representatives. There is no debate worth winning at the expense of our testimony which lacks eternal value.
Paul takes the accusations of his enemies and turns the intended meaning around.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.”
Paul affirms that he is flesh and bone but operates as one who is born of the Spirit. The patterns of this world would have justified Paul with carnal tactics, but that would have come at the expense of living by the spirit.
He goes on to explain that “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”
When we resort to carnal tactics, we forsake divine power to see real breakthroughs. Responding in harmony with the Word of God has the power to destroy strongholds and does not create them.
When we act out in the flesh and do not respond in the spirit, we fight people instead of demolishing strongholds.
There are countless opportunities for us to get into a war of words with people over various subjects, which in turn robs us of our peace, breaks unity, and stains our testimony. 2 Corinthians 10:5 teaches us that our foundation spiritual weapon is the Word of God.
So how does this apply to us today?
Our thought patterns are to no longer conform to the pattern set forth by the world. Therefore, we must divorce ourselves from anything thinking that is not grounded in God’s Word!
When Jesus was confronted by the devil after fasting 40-days, He responded with, “It is written…”. He turned responded with scripture, and after the third time, that stronghold was demolished, and the devil left Him!
As followers of Jesus, our responses, actions, thinking, and speaking needs to originate with “it is written.” Not based on my political affiliation, not the popular opinion, not my educational degrees or experience, but what does God’s Word say on this subject. When God’s Word is silent on a subject, maybe we should be too?
As the Word of God is the foundation of our divine weapons, its application comes in a variety of forms.
- Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control are weapons that counteract the works of the flesh.
- Prayer dismantles unmovable obstacles.
- Worship cultivates a godly atmosphere.
- Silence cuts through the chaos.
When Jesus stood before the High Priest, Jesus remained silent, Mark 14:61. His silence broke the curse of sin, set mankind free from the bondage of sin, and assured us of our eternity with Him when this life is over!
The real battles we face as Christians are spiritual, and carnal weapons are impotent against them. We lose every battle whenever we resort to carnal tactics.
We must use spiritual discernment and ground thoughts, words, and actions on “it is written” to effectively destroy strongholds that impede the truth from setting people free and disarm hostile social interactions.