We have God's mighty weapons to "knock down the devil's strongholds." These are not my words, but the words of the Apostle Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians and we need to consider this weaponry today.
Today's Devotional Scripture
I use God's mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil's strongholds. These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding Him. With these weapons I can capture rebels and bring them back to God and change them into men whose hearts' desire is obedience to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, New Living Bible)
Not So Secret Weapons
My favorite line in the animated film An American Tail is "welease the secwet weapon!" It is an order given my Gussie Mausheimer, voiced by Madeline Kahn, as the good mice try to defeat the evil cats in battle.
There may be Christians looking for a secret weapon as they battle evil, except our weapons are not kept in a secret vault. They are readily available through God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul lists the defensive and offensive weapons in the last chapter of his letter to the Ephesians. The similarity in the language of 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 and Ephesians 6:11-20 is striking.
For example, compare today's devotional scripture with verses 11 and 12 of Ephesians 6, which say: "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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."
"I'm in the Lord's army"
You may remember the old camp song "I'm in the Lord's army." Though it's a wonderful sing-along song, its words are directed at each "soldier" in the Lord's army. In the same way, we should look at these passages from 2 Corinthians and Ephesians as personal directives.
It starts with the full armor of God. From ancient times to the science fiction world of "Star Trek" in the 24th Century, the emphasis is on "shields". Each of us must be prepared to defend himself or herself and, if needed, defend another person from the spiritual forces working against us.
The "belt of truth" comes before the "breastplate of righteousness", because the belt is a symbolic reference to Jesus the Messiah (see Isaiah 11:5). It is the character and power of Christ that enables us to win the battle. The breastplate of righteousness is a direct reference to God, who spiritually protects our heart.
Verse 15 says you need good footwear. If you slip and fall, you give your opponent a tremendous advantage. It also suggests we are on a peacekeeping mission, because we come with the gospel of peace.
Our "shield of faith" can turn away all sorts of arrows and the "helmet of salvation" protects the brain that is storing all the valuable information God has given us.
Our offensive weapons are the "sword of the Spirit" - The Bible brought alive to us through the power of the Holy Spirit - and prayer. The 5th verse of 2 Corinthians 10 focuses on changing the hearts of people so they can surrender to Jesus and be brought back to God.
For added emphasis, Paul says in Ephesians 6:18, we should "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."
Take time to scan through the scriptures and see how many times one of God's appointed leaders prays before a decisive battle. Often the leader and his small army are dramatically outnumbered, but the enemy doesn't understand the full measure of God's power.
As Easter approaches, the assembled armies of thousands of churches must be preparing their spiritual weapons for a battle against evil. Imagine what would happen if we, like the Apostle Paul, could claim that "with these weapons we not only captured rebels and brought them back to God, but we also changed them into people whose hearts' desire is obedience to Christ" (a paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Heavenly Father, thank you for your living and active Word. I know that it is the truth and it is powerful. Help me to be diligent to read it and use it effectively as a weapon to tear down strongholds. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Amen.
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