“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 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.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
In the late 1960’s there was a TV show called Land of the Giants. Seven people from Earth found their spaceship caught in a warp of some kind and ended up on a planet where everything was twelve times larger than on Earth. Each week they battled giant cats, children, and soldiers. It was a little strange but raised an interesting question.
The truth is that we really do live in a land of giants. There are things that are bigger than us which seem to stand between us and being where God wants us to be. In the Old Testament, God sent His people, Israel, to a place called the Promised Land. It was a great place to live, but it also was inhabited by giants that they would have to face and defeat. We too live in a land of giants that we must face if we are to be where God wants us to be.
The Warfare We Face
We must all face the fact that spiritual warfare is a necessity. God never varnishes over the fact that there is going to be warfare for His children. He told Moses there would be blessings and enemies in the Promised Land (Exodus 3:16-17). He promised Joshua the Land but told him he would have to be strong and courageous to face its challenges (Joshua 1:1-7). He promised Gideon he would save Israel but he would have to face the Midianites (Judges 6:15-16). He anointed David to be king as a youth but David still had Goliath and Saul to fight (1 Samuel).
Our Savior was no less forthcoming with His disciples. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:18-20).
In other words, there is great joy and blessing in following Christ, but there will also be battles to fight. They are a necessity, and they are very real!
Consider the nature of the warfare we have to fight. We are to be engaged in offensive warfare. We are not called to hold the fort against the giants of life. Unfortunately, that is the plan many Christians seem to have. They want to circle the wagons at the church building and hold off the devil until Jesus comes back. That is not God’s plan!
When Goliath challenged Israel, Saul hid in his tent and just hope everything would work out. When the Midianites were destroying Israel, Gideon hid in a wine press. They had adopted the philosophy of that great theologian Charlie Brown when he told Lucy, “I have a new philosophy. I’m only going to dread one day at a time.”
But God has called us to pull down strongholds (v.4). The word translated “pull down” means to dethrone. When the Apostle Paul preached the Gospel at Ephesus, many people were saved. In coming to Christ they realized they needed to get rid of their idols of the goddess Diana (see Acts 19:21-27). As people gave up their idols, the local idol makers became alarmed that they were losing business. They said that Paul’s preaching of the gospel had destroyed the magnificence of Diana. In other words, the gospel had pulled down the stronghold of that false god. That is what we are called to. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ we pull down the strongholds of this world system we live in.
We are also called to cast down imaginations (v.5). That means we are to conquer them. We are to attack and conquer imaginations of this world. What are these imaginations? They are the deceptive ways of thinking common to this world system.
Paul spoke of this in Colossians 2:8-10 when he said, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us that a giant is anything that exalts itself above God. We are to cast down every high thing. These are those things that seem too far above us to even hope to win against them. Goliath towered above everyone else in Israel. He was even taller than their king (Saul), the tallest man in the entire kingdom. No matter how big Goliath was, Israel could bring him down if they let God fight their battle for them.
There are many things that tower above us:
- Intellectual Giants – People that seem to have all the knowledge. They are “experts” and we are not. How can we stand against their evidence?
- Philosophical Giants – People who seem to understand life so much better than we do.
- Material Giants – People who have so much more than we do. Who are we to question what they say or believe?
In the end, a giant is anything or anyone that refuses to give God His rightful place. It is what exalts itself against the knowledge of God. This includes people who are operating in the flesh rather than in the Spirit, circumstances that make it appear that God is not in control, and attitudes that puts man before God.
The Weapons of Our Warfare
It is imperative we understand that there are weapons we cannot trust—our own. The weapons of our warfare are not of this earth (v.4). We cannot face the giants of life with weapons of our own making. It is that carnal or fleshly nature that is our problem in the first place (see 1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
God has given us weapons we can trust. These weapons are mighty in God (v.4). Though we live in this world and face the problems of this world, we have a different way to face those problems. This is the emphasis of Galatians 2:20 which reminds us, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”