War is ugly. For most of us, our hope is to avoid war as much as possible. We prefer peace. We desire an end to hatred, and believe that God’s love in Christ conquers all.
But Paul points out that there is one war we cannot avoid. And that is the war that we wage with our spiritual enemies on a daily basis.
We’ve been warned. Satan will not stop attacking. He is a like a roaring lion, always looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
The world will never stop trying to gain new territory in the hearts of mankind. There is a constant struggle with the powers of this dark world. There are spiritual forces of evil at work all around us, seeking to win hearts and minds (Ephesians 6:12).
Our sinful flesh will constantly be undermining and betraying our best intentions. Though in our New Man we want to do the right thing, we must daily wrestle our Old Adam back to the ground in spiritual combat (Romans 7:17-20).
Paul reminds us that we have powerful weapons at our disposal. They are not the weapons of conventional warfare. These weapons have divine power to demolish spiritual strongholds, no matter which enemy builds them.
They have the power to show every argument, every deception, every pretense that claims to be wiser and smarter than God’s word to be nothing more than a damnable lie.
Paul gives us a list of these weapons: Truth as our belt. Righteousness as our breastplate. The gospel of peace as our footgear. Faith as our shield. Salvation as our helmet.
And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:13-17, NIV).
All these weapons are specially constructed for the battleground of the mind, which is where we wage our spiritual war.
All of them are designed so that we do not become captives, but so that we take captives. And especially, they are built so that we can take our own thoughts captive, and make them obedient to Christ.
Waging war with the armor of God. Taking thoughts captive. That’s the daily grind we all face — with powerful weapons in our hand, and our Savior Jesus at our side.
So keep on grinding, Christian soldier!
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 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” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NIV).
Lord, as I grind and fight against my spiritual foes, help me to wage war with this song on my lips, and these words captivating my thoughts: “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal master, leads against the foe. Forward into battle, see his banners go! Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane, but the church of Jesus constant will remain. Gates of hell can never ‘gainst that church prevail; we have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail. Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus, going on before.”
Our Bible reading for Tuesday, September 8, is Isaiah 17:1 – 19:25, 2 Corinthians 10:1-18 and Psalm 106:16-31.
Header image based on "Albion_Arn_Film_Sword_04" by Soren Niedziella, CC By 2.0