Jesus prepared His disciples for everything, including war. They saw Him casting out demons. In fact, He sent them out doing the same. But before He sent them out, He charged them to become “wise as serpents yet innocent and harmless as doves (Matt. 10:16).
This combination of divine wisdom and Christ-like innocence is the source of all spiritual victory. We can defeat the enemy. But we must learn the ways of God, which means we must think with wisdom. And we must be pure of heart, that we may see God and gain discernment.
Remember, Adam and Eve were in paradise when they fell. Solomon wrote 3 books of Scripture; he actually gazed upon the glory of God, yet he fell. And don’t forget, Lucifer himself was once in heaven pouring out praise to God.
We have all seen many who have fallen. Jesus warned that the love of many would grow cold. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Our enemy has been deceiving mankind for thousands of years. So, be bold – in your prayer life. Many well-meaning Christians have approached the field of battle with flippant attitudes and have suffered greatly for it.
3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5Casting 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;
6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 2 Cor. 10:3-6
Satan is out to deceive us…to torment us…to destroy us. He wants to keep us from the truth…because he knows that the truth – the truth of the Word of God – when it is applied to our lives will set us free. And the attack of the enemy is raging, among individual lives all over the world.
But what is Satan’s real strategy…how does he bring about all this turmoil? The attack starts in the mind…this is his primary means of beginning his destruction. And, few Christians realize this important fact.
The Bible speaks of the “weapons of our warfare”…and it’s important to realize that we are at war. And when I say war, I am speaking of all out conflict…life and death…a fight for our very spiritual lives. So we must come to the realization, that like it or not, we need to fight if were to survive.
And this whole war is one that begins in the mind. The area of our thoughts is the main battleground. The warfare starts in the mind…but then if allowed, it will spread to other areas of our lives as well.
Verse 5 speaks of “demolishing arguments and pretenses.” The KJV says “casting down imaginations.” The word we find translated imaginations or arguments, in the Greek, actually means “a reasoning, or decision.”
And this speaks of the way we so often are able to take the plain truth of God’s word and twist it and turn it in such a way that it’s no longer absolute…that our specific situation is so special or unique that we are not bound by the same rules as everyone else. We rationalize…and excuse…and “reason” the truth into exactly what we want to hear.
And this is quite profound when we look back at Genesis 3 and the deception of Eve. That subtle snake whispered a thought…and she reasoned it out in her mind until it became acceptable to break the command of God. But Paul is saying we are to use our spiritual weapons to break down these arguments that go on in our minds…put there by the snake himself.
So once again, the battleground is in the mind. And thoughts are what Satan wants to slip in there. Let’s look at a few examples. In Acts 8 we have the story of Philip going down to Samaria for a great revival. Multitudes were being saved, healed and delivered from the power of Satan. Many were baptized in water and also baptized in the Holy Spirit.
But in this story we also see a man named Simon, the sorcerer. And Simon wrongly offers Peter and John money for the gift of laying hands on people to receive the Holy Spirit. Peter immediately rebuked him and said, “Man, you’re full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
Now think of what he’s saying here. Look at what Peter says was at the heart of this man’s problem…he was full of bitterness – and that bitterness made him a captive to sin. Bitterness blinded him to the truth of God’s ways. And in verse 22 he says to Simon, “Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.”
Do you see…Simon was motivated by a thought! And where did that thought come from? Satan! What Peter was saying was this…”Satan has put a thought in your heart…And you have accepted that thought as your own and acted on it. Now pray for God to forgive you for that THOUGHT!
And notice that he didn’t say thoughts…but thought – singular! Pray that God will forgive you for that ONE THOUGHT that leads you into wrong action. And it’s so often just one little thought…placed in our minds by old Satan himself…that will make us say and do things that are so destructive and hurtful to people and to the body of Christ.
You see, the enemy’s primary approach is to drop a THOUGHT into our minds. He wants us to accept it and then act upon it. And the danger is that once we do…that thought can become a stronghold. And let me tell you…Satan’s lying thoughts can really have a strong hold on people!
Thoughts can hold you like a vise and keep you from the truth. One mighty lie from Satan can hold you in a place of sickness…of suffering…of torment…of bitterness and unforgiveness. And it will last just as long as you permit it…as long as you accept it!
Many of you are held captive by a thought. And that thought brings fear. Some of those thoughts are:
“You’re no good”…”You’ll never make it to heaven”…”Your children will die and go to hell”…”You’re going to have a wreck”…”You have cancer…or a tumor”…”You’ll never get well”…”You’re of no use to God’s kingdom or His work at this church” ….”You’ve messed up so much what’s the use of even trying”
The thoughts go on and on…the devil brings thousands of thoughts to our minds. These thoughts bring fear, and when they take root in our mind we begin to speak them…and what was once an accusing voice now becomes your voice saying – “I’m no good…I’ll never make it to heaven…I have cancer…I’ll never recover…I’m no good to the kingdom of God….I’ll never make it…and so on.
And this is nothing more than a trick – a subtle but deadly trick of the enemy. So don’t fall into his trap. Just as Paul says in verses 4&5…we need to bring every thought into the captivity of Christ. We need to replace that lie with the truth of God’s Word! Paul was speaking this as he was undergoing a difficult trial personally.
Paul’s credibility was called into question and he responds that he may seem weak, but he fights his battles using God’s mighty weapons – not man’s. He says, “I’m doing it Jesus’ way! Because these weapons are the only ones that will tear down the strongholds of the enemy. These are the only weapons that will ensure spiritual victory.”
And this is the only way to overcome the devil…by using the Word of God! Remember, the devil is not only a liar, he is the father of all lies! He can’t tell the truth.
Have you become convinced that your destiny is to suffer defeat…to suffer pain…to suffer from sickness…to suffer from broken relationships? Have you become convinced that your life is messed up and can’t be fixed…or maybe that your family…church…
Well I’m here to tell you that you can change your “destiny.” But let me tell you this…You will never be healed…you will never be set free…you will never be delivered and revived as long as you think that your present state is all God wants for you!
It’s the devil who wants you to suffer…it’s the devil who wants to rob you of your joy…and your peace…and your family…and your relationships…and your church. It’s the devil who comes to steal, kill and destroy!
Faith is an action. And to believe, to have faith in the Word of God is to act on the Word of God! Paul says the weapons available to us are mighty through God not just to get by…but to demolish these strongholds! Do you see how this works?
When the enemy comes in with these thoughts, and tries to torment us or cause us to live and act contrary to the Word of God…we need to begin to fight with the same weapons Jesus used to defeat Satan. And that is to quote the Word of God, with faith and assurance.
If the devil says you’re not saved…replace that thought with the words of John 1:12 – “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on His name.”
If the enemy tells you God will not forgive your sin or heal your particular disease, replace that thought with one of God’s precious healing, delivering thoughts like Psalm 103:2-3 “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.”
If the enemy tells you that you’re rejected and without hope or resources…replace that with Psalm 102:17 which says “He will respond to the prayer of the destitute, He will not despise their plea.”
We need to remind Satan of 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature…the old has gone, the new has come.” So we can boldly stand up and say…”I’m a new creature in Christ! I’m more than a conqueror! Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world!
We can boldly stand up and say, “I rebuke you, you lying demon! In the name of Jesus Christ I cast you and your thoughts out of my mind! Go, in Jesus name!
And he will go…and the fear will go…and you can smile and stand up tall and proud for Jesus – HALLELUJAH!! This is the plan Jesus used when He whipped the devil. Satan placed the thought in His mind, “Turn these stones to bread.” But Jesus rejected that thought and replaced it with one of God’s thoughts by saying, “IT IS WRITTEN!”
And you can whip the devil every time by saying, “It is written!” Then go on to say what is written in the Word of God. Bring every thought into the captivity of Christ! That means we need to make the devil’s thoughts bow to the infallible Word of Almighty God. We need to drive them out with the power of His Word! We need to pull them down with “Thus saith the Lord!”
Jesus has conquered Satan for you…and now He has given you His authority to demonstrate the devil’s defeat. In Luke 10:19 we read these powerful words, “I have given you authority…to overcome all the power of the enemy!” And in Mark 16:17 Jesus says, “In my name YOU shall cast out demons! We have the power…we have the authority…Hallelujah!
The thought life is the battlefield. So guard your thoughts! Watch what you read…watch what you look at…watch what you let into your mind. Be careful who you listen to. Don’t let wrong thoughts linger there. Romans 12:1-2 (READ)
How are we transformed? By renewing our minds! And that means to live in the Word! Walk daily in the Word! Think God’s thoughts daily! RENEW YOUR MIND! Learn to think like God thinks about salvation, forgiveness, mercy, sickness, healing, deliverance, goodness…and all the other wonderful things in the Bible.
David was a man who said he was blessed. WHY? Listen to Psalm 1:1-3 (READ) Notice that it says his DELIGHT is in the law of the Lord! And on His law he MEDITATES…and meditates when? Day and night. It is the one who delights and meditates on the Word of God who can pull down strongholds and cast down imaginations. Now you know that God has given you the power to pull down strongholds…and what are you going to do with it.
This is warfare…and the battle is raging. But we do have weapons. And they are mighty through God! He has given you His Word…the Blood of Jesus…and the name of Jesus. If you dare to do your part…all heaven will come to your aid – and you will be victorious!