Fast 2021: Day 14
Updated: Jan 17
If you want to win the battle of life…you must win the battle of your mind. You cannot stay stuck in a negative mindset and live a positive, powerful, victorious life! It just can’t happen! So many of us wake up in the morning and immediately start thinking negative thoughts…I’m so tired, I can’t get up, I don’t feel good – I don’t want to go to work today! There is power in the mind – your attitude – your approach to every day.
When Paul came to the end of his life, he said, "I have fought the good fight." As he assessed his life and realized that it was a war. He viewed himself as a good soldier of Christ, one who had suffered hardship in the battle and was fighting loyally to please the One who had enlisted him to be a soldier, his Lord. He battled all the way through his life from the beginning of his conversion to the very end, it was a war. He never battled for personal honor. He never battled for personal achievement or glory or fame or comfort. He always fought for the truth, for the gospel, for the Lord.
If he had to defend himself as he does in this letter, it was not to preserve himself. But to preserve his opportunity to speak with power and authority the truth of God and to be heard and believed.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (II Corinthians 10:3-6, NKJ)
Here’s why this scripture is such a game changer… because –
Life is War
We are familiar with war. War takes place between two people, two nations or countries who oppose one another. We live in a culture of war. what I mean is we as people,humanity, live with a bent toward opposition. Opposing means you are against it.There are things we are against, but so often we move beyond opposing issues to opposing people. Take a panoramic snapshot across the landscape of America right now and you will see it. We can put a face to every issue, and we make it more about a person than the problem. Then people become our problem. When people become our problem, we’ve lost our our focus and if we aren’t careful, we will lose our way! That’s why Paul also reminds us that our battle isn’t with flesh and blood. Paul had planted this church, and in less than two years, he was in for the battle of his life
All throughout his ministry there were opposers and they came at him with slander, and false accusation and persecution and threats and jealousy and envy and murder plots. His authority was challenged. His integrity was challenged. His message was constantly challenged by those who hated and resisted the truth of the gospel. And so he battled…He fought hard
At the end of his life, he wrote to Timothy and said: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2Ti 4:7 ESV)
We don’t war according to the flesh. How does the flesh war? Strategies, work hard, gets a leg up, self-promotion, competition, undercuts, slanders, maligns, ultimately murders others, and puts forth an all-out effort to get the win.
It’s an attitude of opposition (tearing down, not building up). That’s the paradigm we’re under. That’s the belief system we live in. But Paul says: We have to be different. We have to fight the War differently a different approach, different strategy. We have to recognize the enemy for who he is. Your enemy is not the person in the next room, next door, in the next office or cubicle, or the person next to you right now. No! That’s not your enemy!
Choose Weapons that are effective for the battle you’re fighting
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (II Corinthians 10:3-6)
Let’s break this down:
1. We walk in the flesh: That means we are human and we are alive in this world. We are Body, soul and Spirit, fully alive on earth.
2. Not Carnal: Carnal means “human” or “of the animal kingdom.”
Paul could have said, “We are not animals!” How do animals live? They live by instinct. Instinct is the way people or animals naturally react or behave, without having to think or learn about it In other words – we don’t live by instinct or by the sudden strong and unreflective urge or desire to act known as impulse.
Here’s how instinct works: Somebody hits you, you have the urge or impulse to hit them back. Instead of turning the other cheek. Somebody slanders you, challenges you or cheats you…the natural urge is to____________________? (fill in the blank).
That’s the way we are naturally wired. But as a believer, you are supernaturally rewired. That’s not the way you are anymore. We are human, but we don’t fight according to our human ways – our battle isn’t against humanity!
Here’s the Challenge:
Examine your instinctive or impulsive behaviors. Where and with whom do they show up the most? Ask God to reveal to you the underlying reason for your “instinct.” Confess, repent, and commit to more intentional, caring behavior and responses, even when you aren’t feeling it!
Remember, you have an enemy! But, he can only win if you let him! Don’t Quit. You’re Gonna Make It. Christ is Worth It!
Continued in tomorrow’s blog…