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  • Writer's pictureJ.D. King

Don't Lose Sight of Where the Real Battle is in Your Life—It Could Cost You Everything

Many are feeling the effects of life's battles. Hardships, as well as the ugliness of sin, have left people weary. Inherent in each of us is a desire to shift gears and move ahead. Questions, however, arise: "How can I win my battles? How should I adjust my sails to navigate the stormy seas ahead?"

The Apostle Paul had some captivating things to say about this in his second letter to the Corinthians. At that time, this group of believers stood on the edge of a changing era. It was crucial that they learned how to overcome the enemy and advance, but they were held up—much like you and I. Sadly, the Corinthians were only looking at the surface. They couldn’t see the deeper problems.

To address this, Paul writes: "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does" (2 Corinthians 10:3).

The challenge, both then and now, is in resisting the pull of worldly values, patterns, and motivations. Our cultural landscape is tainted with selfishness, pride, and outrage, fostering an environment where dishonor and violence are prevalent. Paul wants the followers of Jesus to know that they are called to engage in a different kind of battle—one that transcends the natural order.

The apostle underscores that "the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world" (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Our arsenal doesn't consist of snark, cutting remarks, or insults; we do not resort to political maneuvering or power plays. Instead, our weapons are spiritual in nature—rooted in worship, prayer, and scripture. Turning our affections toward the Lord, we aim to transform the atmospheres around us.

However, Paul’s concern is not just about weapons; he also wants us to direct our battle toward the right targets. It's not merely about having powerful spiritual weapons but aiming them in the right direction for maximum impact.

As believers, we are called to confront the powers of darkness, particularly in the places where Satan exerts significant influence. The cesspool of politics, entertainment, and social media is unmistakable, but Paul actually wants our focus elsewhere. He prompts us to examine our own spiritual communities and, more significantly, our own hearts. The most vital battles occur in the church—and within our own souls.

Paul reinforces the idea that believers possess "divine power to demolish strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:4).

"Strongholds" are obstacles that people construct to safeguard their own thoughts and ambitions. In medieval Europe, a stronghold was constructed at the center of the castle. It was designed to be impenetrable. Within these "internal fortresses," believers keep a part of who they are hidden. These insidious secrets and ambitions are never good. So, after acknowledging the presence of the impediments, believers are tasked with dismantling these wicked constructs.

The apostle continues, making it clear that we use our spiritual weapons to “demolish arguments” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

People are always arguing—over the merits of a movie or pop culture phenomenon. Across social media, impassioned people get into disputes about Bible translations, holiday celebrations, and whether the earth is round. Instead of all this, Paul’s concern was over the "foolish arguments" in the minds of believers. Those who claim the name of Jesus are called to rise above the fray.

In this passage, believers are also urged to confront "every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God" (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Sometimes it seems like America is overrun with pretentious people. Everywhere you look, you see someone (or something) that is given exaggerated importance. A flashy movie trailer will claim that a film is the greatest motion picture in the history of Hollywood. Ignoramuses, who don’t know anything about a particular subject, will claim expertise. Paul, however, wants us to look within—seeing something of our own arrogance and posturing.

Pretension is a problem out there, but it is a bigger problem in Christian communities (and within our own hearts). This is where we need to be directing our fight.

Paul pleads with us to leverage all our devotion and spiritual might to make a difference in our everyday world. Sure, something needs to be done about Hollywood, Wall Street, and Washington D.C., but that’s not where the battle begins for us. We need to start with our own lives. Amid our fervent intercession, we are called to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Rebellious acts, along with raucous protest movements, are pervasive in our culture. Disobedience is celebrated throughout American music and art. We live in an era when the police are defunded, and prosecutors won't indict criminals. Down is up, and up is down. But the problem isn't primarily with those out there. No, it is us in here. We need to address the lawlessness within our own hearts.

Paul told the Corinthians he was “ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete” (2 Corinthians 10:6). The real problem is when believers blatantly disobey the leadings of the Lord. He graciously speaks to us, but we ignore his pleas. This is such an awful way to respond to the one that we claim to love.

As we take an honest look at things, it is easy to see the problems. While Hollywood is pumping out filth, Silicon Valley and Washington D.C. are reaching deeper and deeper into our pocketbook. The overreach is unmistakable. Nevertheless, this is not where our spiritual weapons should be aimed—at least not yet.

Centuries ago, Paul had concerns for a people who were standing on the edge of a new era. I think he would say the same thing to you and me today. Seeing that they were distracted and self-absorbed, he declared:

"You are looking only on the surface of things” (2 Corinthians 10:7).

All of us need to learn how to wield spiritual weapons and make further advances. But it won’t do us any good if our aim is in the wrong direction. We must never forget that the true battleground is within.

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