“For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
The Christian battle is not a battle of the flesh. The Christian’s weapon is not physical and material. But the battle is no less serious. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).
As Christians, we are to fight. But our fight is the fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12). Our weapons are not human. We don’t use swords, knives, and guns. Instead, we carry “weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left” (2 Cor. 6:7). Our sword is the sword of the Spirit, the word of God (Eph. 6:17).
Our weapons, even though they are not of the flesh are powerful. They’re powerful because they are “through God” (2 Cor. 10:4). We are “strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10).
We face an enemy. But our enemy is unseen. Our enemy is enmeshed, our enemy is the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), and is bound and determined to destroy (1 Pet. 5:8). The enemy will even act like the good guy (Matt. 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:14). The enemy is great at deceiving (Gen. 3:1; Rev. 12:9). The enemy is a lie and is effective at it (Gen. 3:4-5; Jn. 8:44).
Therefore, it is vital that we stay awake and be watchful (1 Pet. 5:9). We must not let the enemy gain any ground. We must “give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph. 4:27). We must even take thoughts captive and make sure they fall in line with the good news of Jesus (2 Cor. 10:5). We take thoughts captive so we won’t become a captive of Satan to do his bidding (2 Tim. 2:26).
We must understand that thoughts can wreak havoc. They can be as explosive and destructive as grenades. So, make sure you don’t listen to damaging lies. Don’t fall into the enemy’s trap.
The way we think about things and evaluate things matters. It matters deeply. It is not just thinking. It is warfare.
How do we protect ourselves from attack? Ephesians 4:26-27 gives us an example: “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity.” The way we forgive, handle our anger, and talk is warfare, spiritual warfare. And so it matters. It matters a lot.
As Christians, we must remember that we have a real enemy (Matt. 13:39). There is a real tempter that is out there (Matt. 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:5) seeking to destroy (1 Pet. 5:8). So, “let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thess. 5:8). And let us live in a forgiving community of love “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11).