For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
Many among the believers in Corinth relied on fleshly, worldly thinking and methods. As an apostle of God, Paul insisted that he was different, and the weapons of his warfare were not carnal. When Paul fought, his weapons were not material but spiritual, suited for spiritual war.
The carnal weapons Paul refused were not material weapons such as swords and spears. The carnalweapons he renounced were the manipulative and deceitful ways his opponents used. Paul would not defend his apostolic credentials with carnal weapons others used.
In Ephesians 6, Paul listed the spiritual weapons he used: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. To rely on these weapons took faith in God instead of carnal methods. But truly, these weapons are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
Many Christians rely on and admire carnal weapons for the Christian battle.
Instead of the belt of truth, they fight with manipulation.
Instead of the breastplate of righteousness, they fight with the image of success.
Instead of the shoes of the gospel, they fight with smooth words.
Instead of the shield of faith, they fight with the perception of power.
Instead of the helmet of salvation, they fight with lording over authority.
Instead of the sword of the Spirit, they fight with human schemes and programs.
We must remind ourselves that Paul spoke to carnal, worldly thinking among Christians. He wasn’t writing of the world but the Corinthian Christians. They were the ones with the strongholds in their minds and hearts. They made the arguments against God’s mind and methods. They held on to every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We miss it entirely if we think the love of manipulation, the image of success, smooth words, the perception of power, lording over authority, and human schemes and programs are just problems among unbelievers. God deals with this heart and mind in the church.
To battle against this carnal way of thinking and doing, our thoughts must be brought captive and made obedient to Jesus. Jesus relied on spiritual weapons when He fought for our salvation (Philippians 2:6-8). This kind of victory through humble obedience offended the Corinthian Christians because it seemed so “weak.” The carnal, human way is to overpower, dominate, manipulate, and out-maneuver. The spiritual, Jesus-way is to humble yourself, die to yourself, and let God show His resurrection power through you.
Our spiritual weapons are scorned by the world but feared by demonic powers. When believers fight with true spiritual weapons, then no principality or power can stand against them. Fighting with God’s armor, we can’t lose.