Army soldiers have guns and grenades.
Navy sailors have smart missiles.
Airforce have fighter jets.
Marines have… Marines. Oorah!
And Christians have prayer.
Today’s message will speak about the weapon of prayer to win the battles of life in the Christian faith.
EXAMINE 2Corinthians 10:3-6 Prayer Is Our Weapon
Previously we spent 7 weeks of messages in 2Corinthians. We return to this letter for 1 more that fits into our series on prayer. You may remember 2Corinthians was a personal letter from Paul to church in city of Corinth – an immoral and idolatrous city that was learning to grow in God’s grace and truth. Reading the letter, we can tell that at times the Corinthians were criticizing Paul’s appearance, speaking capability (1Cor 2:1-5), apostolic authority (1Cor 9), and his personal character (1Cor 4; 2Cor 2:17). Paul shows us how to respond to life’s battles when similar situations happen to us.
2 Corinthians 10:1-5
1 I, Paul, entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ — I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!
2 I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh.
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
We must fight our battles differently.
Scripture commands us to fight our battles in a different manner.
- 2Cor 10:1 with meekness and gentleness of Christ, humble but bold (humbold!?!)
– – – Illus: Ever argue with a child? It escalates quick and even if you win, you lose.
- 2Cor 10:3 wage war (στρατεύομαι) A common theme for Paul
Paul addresses a church with all variety of conflict and heresy, and he does so speaking the truth in love. Christians must learn the balance between being right and being relational. Just because we are right does not authorize us to be rude. When maliciously maligned, it takes great maturity for our impulse response to be meekness.
Paul is not boasting about his humility but being sarcastic about the rumors shared of him that he is weak in person but bold in writing. The key is that Paul is not avoiding problems or people, but he is confronting both with compassion.
Our world loves to do battle according to the flesh.
- Galatians 5:19-21
Impurity and sensuality, enmity (hostile opposition), strife (hatred), jealousy, fits of anger (wrath), rivalries, dissensions (heresy), envy (ill-will), murder, drunkenness, revelry.
- Ephesians 4:25-31 / Colossians 3:8-9
lying, unrighteous anger, giving opportunity to the devil, theft, corrupt talk, deconstructive judgments, bitterness, wrath, anger, slander, malice, unkindness, not tender/gentle, and unforgiving.
- Ultimately and unfortunately, we choose to fight our battles with ego over empathy; selfishness. And when we allow self to be on the throne then
- Addressing conflict does not mean avoiding problems or people.
- Addressing conflict does not mean appeasing people.
- Addressing conflict does not mean annihilating people.
- Unity does not mean uniformity.
- People have problems but they are not problems; so we must learn to attack problems and not people.
- Addressing conflict means confronting with compassion.
- People who solve problems.
- People who restore broken relationships.
- People who unite communities & organizations.
- People who exhibit God’s presence and bring peace.
- Matthew 18
- Private: go one on one (don’t gossip)
- Partner: take others (truth in love)
- Public: involve church (accountability but hope for restoration)
In all, our starting point for people and for prayer is humility not entreaty. When we lay aside pride we will receive far more than we would have asked or imagine.
- We are at war… with ourselves.
– – – Illus Rocky training Apollo Creed’s son and pointing him into the mirror: “You see this guy here staring back at ya? That’s the toughest opponent. Every time you enter the ring that’s who you’re going against. I believe that’s true in boxing, and I do believe that’s true in life.”
Rom 7:18-19 “For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do.”
- We are at war with our mind.
The battle often begins with the way we think, because how we think will impact how we act; our behaviors will follow our beliefs. We need to rewire our brain and retrain our thinking so our lives will change with God’s purpose and productivity. We must inhale truth and exhale trust in the Lord.
- Rom 8:6 “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”
- Rom 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”
- Php 4:8 “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things.”
We must fight our battles with divine power.
Christians are to fight right. The right way of fighting our battles is with God’s wisdom and ways, not our own. God’s divine power is available through prayer and practicing the word.
- John 14:12-14 “I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
- James 5:16 “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
Prayer is a supernatural weapon > you fearing & fretting (which doesn’t solve your problems); or you working at an issue harder & longer (God can do more in a single minute than you can in a month). Leaning into God with prayer > personal labor and strength.
Prayer has a purpose
2Cor 10:4-5 “have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
- Garrison of human greed.
- Walls of human wisdom.
- Castle of human cunning and secular philosophy.
- Barracks of human pride and brazenness against faith and love.
- Fortress of human fierce anger and wrath.
- Palace of human passions and lust.
- Throne of human triviality and apathy toward things of God.
These strongholds are areas of life where the enemy is firmly entrenched, grounded & guarded for years, resisting God’s truth, counterattacking God’s displays of grace, struggling against God’s sovereign orchestration of circumstances for us to surrender our pride and call on Him as Lord & Savior. Strongholds are more than just actions but are established attitudes and exercised accusations from satan. These strongholds take pleasure in building walls without windows, so that God’s light cannot expose the darkness, convict sin, and confront wrongdoing. Strongholds are present in our personal lives, our families, our churches, and often for generations.
– Occult: evil spiritism such as Wicca, Ouija, fortune telling, sinful entertainment, even some yoga/martial arts/worldviews has the potential to lead astray from God. We must be careful, because the enemy enjoys taking even gray areas and turning them into grievous consequences.
But this is just JV compared to satan’s Varsity…
– Myths and lies: Common falsehoods about God, yourself, purpose, pain and suffering, all life.
– Unforgiveness: Bitterness is bondage that takes root in our heart and choke God’s grace and freedom.
– Secret Sin: Sin that is unconfessed or unrepented. But God knows all our secrets.
– Patterns: Some behaviors and lifestyles are modeled and influence family generations that can be unhealthy and even ungodly. What parents do in moderation, children will often do in the main. Yet, any person can break a generational curse by the power of God’s grace through faith in Christ.
Destroy arguments and every lofty idea… against the knowledge of God.
God’s aim is to destroy strongholds against the knowledge of God – not against human preferences or cultural drama – Proverbs 26:17 “Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears [and gets attacked].”
Colossians 1 disarming powers and canceling curses through the cross
Ephesians 6 armor of God to extinguish enemy’s flaming arrows
Matthew 16:18 “gates of hell shall not prevail against [God’s work]”
Take every thought captive
- What practices are distracting or deterring you from God’s purpose in your life?
- Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.”
- Psalm 119:37 “Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways.”
- What myths are imprisoning you, where God wants to set you free?
- Titus 3:9 “avoid foolish controversies and arguments… these are unprofitable and useless.”
- What lies have locked up you from believing God’s truth? Satan is a liar (John 8:44)
- Lauren Daigle “You Say”
I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know
- Lauren Daigle “You Say”
- What relationships are holding you hostage from experiencing God’s true love?
- Eph 4:30-32 “Do not grieve God’s Holy Spirit… All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed.. and be kind and compassionate, forgiving one another just as God forgave you in Christ.”
- What actions or in-actions are dampening God’s fire and drowning God’s Spirit to speak into your life?
- What are you procrastinating that God has called you to urgency?
Jesus looks and loves us saying, “You lack one thing… Go and _____ sell all you have and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me. ” (Mark 10:21)
- What are you procrastinating that God has called you to urgency?
When we pray to God we are declaring war on the devil with a vengeance and victory, not from physical force but supernatural power. God is our Mighty Warrior, and the battle belongs to Him. When we pray God opens the heavens, reaches down and rescues us by disarming satan, demolishing strongholds, and defeating sin. The cross of Jesus Christ gives us victory that we do not fight for but from, because it is already accomplished for us. We live with confidence that the battle is won and the hill of Calvary is filled with the full power of God to walk us through our struggles.
 Rom 13:12; 1Cor 9:7; 2Cor 6:7; Eph 6:11-17; Php 2:25; 1Thess 5:8; 1Tim 1:18; 6:12; 2Tim 2:3-4; 4:7; Phm 1:2.