Crumbling Strongholds

I'm not sure why I have always had a fascination for books about war—fiction and non-fiction. Could it be that my latent aggression needs some way to express itself? I'd like to think it is more due to some uncanny ability born in me that recognizes that life is a battle. I'd like to think that, honest, though the first statement might be truer.

When I read this morning's verses I was reminded again that the believer's war is not with sticks or stones, rifles, tanks, submarines, or fighter jets. The believer's war is an internal spiritual battle with physical expressions.

Paul writes: "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.

There are several fascinating ideas brought out in these verses. Who doesn't love the thought that the weapons of our spiritual warfare can "demolish strongholds," that the power of the Word of God wielded by his Spirit is that double-edged sword that pieces through to the heart and soul of the unregenerate and changes that life forever. That's awesome!

I love too, the wonderful combination of inner and outer battle described in those last lines. The believer stands for truth, without shame or apology. He is prepared to speak a word for God, and is knowledgeable enough about the Word, and about God, to be able to do it well.

However, lest this same believer be given over to pride (or any other sin), Paul reminds his readers that a believer also takes control of his own thoughts and makes sure they are in line with what would glorify God and model Christ.

The battle continually rages. As long as there remains one person who doesn't know Christ, we need to be be faithful defenders of the truth. As long as we are in this body, we will fight to bring down those dying remnants of the old nature that we need to deal with daily.

Whatever stronghold, be it external or internal, that we battle against is met, not with our puny peashooters, but with the power of God. One small phrase comes to mind from the words of the old hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, where Luther writes: "The prince of darkness grim, We tremble not for him, His rage we can endure, For lo, his doom is sure: One little word shall fell him."

Our victory is assured.


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