For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.
— 2 Corinthians 10:4
In this powerful verse, Paul speaks to us about the subject of spiritual warfare. In fact, this is one of the foundational verses on this subject, so it is vital to understand what Paul is talking about. Today I want to especially draw your attention to three words in this power-packed scripture. Pay special attention to the words weapons, warfare, and carnal.
First, Paul tells us that we have “weapons.” These spiritual armaments have been provided by God and are at our disposal. They are both offensive and defensive weapons and can be found in Ephesians 6:13-18, where Paul lists them one by one and explains what each piece represents.
Second, Paul uses the word “warfare.” The word “warfare” is taken from the word stratos. By choosing to use this word, the Holy Spirit alerts us to some very important facts about spiritual warfare.
The word stratos is where we derive the word strategy. This informs us that spiritual warfare does not occur accidentally but is something that is strategically planned. Just as any army plans its line of attack before a battle begins, the devil plans a line of attack, decides which methods he will use, and chooses the approach he wants to take as he cautiously charts a well-thought-out assault.
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But the word stratos doesn’t just describe the devil’s strategies. It also tells us that if we will listen to the Holy Spirit, He will give us a strategy that is superior to any schemes of the devil. The devil is not the only one with a strategy. The Holy Spirit always holds the key to every victory, and He wants to provide us with a divinely-inspired strategy that will render null and void the works of the devil every time!
The Old Testament is filled with examples of divinely-inspired strategies. Consider the case of Joshua and the children of Israel as they stood before the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6:1-27). What strategy did the Lord give them? They were to walk around the walls of Jericho once a day for six days and seven times on the seventh day. Then after the seventh time around the wall on the last day, they were to blow trumpets made of rams’ horns. None of this sounded “reasonable” to the natural mind, but the effects of that God-given strategy are still renowned today!
Or consider the time Jehoshaphat sent out a praise team before the army to sing and to worship the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:20-25). What army would send singers and musicians to the frontlines of battle in front of its armed soldiers? Yet as they sang praises to God and played their instruments, the Lord supernaturally set ambushments and the enemies were smitten.
That day the children of Israel walked away from the battle without losing a single fighter. Not only that, but they were also weighed down with gold, silver, jewels, and other riches in abundance! There was so much plunder that it took them three days to gather it! How did they win this famous battle? They received a strategy from the Lord and then followed it accurately. The results of that strategy are legendary.
In both of these cases, the line of attack made no sense to the natural mind, but it released so much power that it completely crushed the foe. So don’t be surprised if the Holy Spirit gives you a strategy that doesn’t make sense when you first hear it! Remember, He operates on a higher level than you, and He knows what you don’t know. Therefore, He may tell you to do something that seems odd to you at first. But you can be sure that Spirit-inspired strategies always work!
Imagine an army that is fully equipped with weapons of warfare but has no strategy about how to use those weapons against the enemy. Even with all those weapons and artillery at their disposal, an army in this condition would utterly fail.
Likewise, although it’s crucial that you put on the whole armor of God, that’s just the first step. You must then have a strategy on how to use those weapons and how to attack! Until you receive a strategy from the Lord on how to use your spiritual weapons, they will be of little help in driving back the forces of hell that have come against you.
This leads to the word “carnal.” In Greek, this word is sarkos, which describes anything that is of the flesh, fleshly made, or fleshly conjured up or anything that is natural or of an unspiritual nature. Paul uses this word when he writes, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal….”
In effect, Paul is saying, “Don’t look to your flesh for the weapons or strategies I’m describing to you because they do not arise out of natural talent, mental exercises, or human efforts. These are spiritual weapons and spiritual strategies, and they come from the spiritual realm.”
When you put all these Greek words together, Second Corinthians 10:4 carries this idea:
“Our God-given weapons are to be used in connection with a divine strategy. But don’t look to the flesh to find that strategy, for the battle plan you need is not going to arise out of your own natural talent, mental exercises, or human effort.”
If you want to receive the strategy needed to assure your victory, you must turn your attention to the realm of the Spirit, for it is from this realm that you will hear from God. You must spend time praying in the Spirit and reading the Word. By yourself, you will never conceive a plan that will deliver you.
Just as spiritual weapons come from God, so do spiritual strategies. So use your head as much as you can, and think through every step. But as you seek God, stay open for Him to graciously give you a supernatural strategy for destroying the work of the devil. And don’t be surprised if God tells you to do something that seems a little odd. Since the beginning of time, God has been giving effective strategies that seem strange to the mind of man!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I know that today I’m going to need a supernatural strategy to do what I need to do. My own natural mind is working all the time to come up with solutions. I’m doing the best I can do, but now I need extra help. I need a divine strategy — a divine idea so powerful and effective that no force will be able to resist it! I know that these kinds of strategies are imparted by the Holy Spirit, so right now I open my heart wide to Him. Holy Spirit, I ask You to drop a supernatural idea into my spirit and soul. Please help me to properly discern it, understand it, and then follow through with obedience.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I declare by faith that the Holy Spirit gives me the strategies and ideas I need. I am willing and ready to do whatever He tells me to do. The Spirit of God was sent into this world to be my Helper and my Guide, and I know I can fully rely on Him. I must have His direction, or I won’t know what to do. So today He will speak to my heart; I will perceive what He tells me to do; and then I will obediently carry out His good plan for me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Has the Holy Spirit ever told you to do something that seemed odd to your natural mind but resulted in His power being mightily demonstrated in a situation?
2. Have you found that your natural talent, mental reasonings, and human effort are helpless to win the battles you are facing today?
3. God is ready to give you the battle plan you need to have victory in your life. Are you willing to spend the time in prayer that is required for you to receive that plan?