“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3–6).
This passage shows that Christian warfare takes place in the spirit world, not the physical world. The weapons are not carnal, that is, physical or earthly, because the battleground is in the mind. There are non-material thoughts and imaginations that are strongholds that need to be pulled down.
It is quite astonishing to realize that the human mind is actually a war zone. This may be why there is an immediate assurance in the parenthetical statement that our weapons are “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” If the battle was our own, we might as well wave a white flag and surrender.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10–12).
This passage in Ephesians 6 is a prelude to a discussion of the believer’s armor for spiritual warfare and there are some parallels to the passage in 2 Corinthians 10. First, we see “mighty through God” and “the power of his might.” The battle is the Lord’s and must be fought in His power and strength.
Second, we see “every high thing” and “high places.” We can think of high as referring to above or over the entire being. The mind is the primary control center for the rest of the life. We have the ability to think, reason, imagine, and choose. There is also the illusion of being able to be above God and His will. Lucifer’s desire was to ascend and be above God. But he was cut down and brought down and put in his proper place under his Creator. In the same way, we are to cast down imaginations and thoughts that exalt themselves over God. We are not to “think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think; but to think soberly….”
Third, while weapons are not specifically named in 2 Corinthians 10, Ephesians 6:17 tells us that it is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The Lord Jesus Christ verified this when He fought against Satan’s temptations by using the scriptures. I believe that “weapons” is plural because each verse or passage can be a weapon to match each thought that is a stronghold in our mind.
At this point, we may ask ourselves what kind of influence that the principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness have over our human minds. It is probably more than we like to acknowledge. Consider these passages (emphasis added):
“And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel” (1 Chronicles 21:1).
“And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts” (Mark 4:15).
“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:3).
These passages seem to indicate direct influence on the mind by spiritual powers. And there is also the influence that comes from the general antichrist spirit of “this present evil world”:
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1, 2, emphasis added).
This should serve as a foundation for future studies. But there are two important things to note here: First, if you are a born again child of God, you don’t have to fear Satan and his angels. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world and our weapons are “mighty through God.” Second, Satan has been defeated on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and is basically on borrowed time until his future, final demise. Our present responsibilities are to resist him and to be sober and vigilant in our walk on earth.
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