InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Saturday & Sunday, October 09 & 10, 2010
Read | 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Paul Describes Himself
1Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ–I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! 2I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh.
3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. 7You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we.
8For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame, 9for I do not wish to seem as if I would terrify you by my letters. 10For they say, “His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.” 11Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such persons we are also in deed when present. 12For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. 13But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you. 14For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ; 15not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, 16so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another. 17But HE WHO BOASTS IS TO BOAST IN THE LORD. 18For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.
Many Christians don’t realize that they are in a battle. We have an Enemy who opposes us in every way—his purpose is to prevent us from becoming who God wants us to be and achieving what He’d have us do. The Devil frustrates our plans, confuses our minds, and brings feelings of anxiety and despair. But he doesn’t stop there; he also stirs up disunity in our relationships and churches.
There are several things that Christians should understand about this combat:
The battle is real, even if we can’t see it. The difficulty, pain, and discouragement Satan causes are genuine. His temptations are not imaginary; they overwhelm and lure us away from the Lord.
The battle is spiritual. Our struggle is not with one another but with invisible forces of wickedness. Although the conflict is waged in the spiritual realm, it impacts every part of us—our mind, will, emotions, desires, and even our bodies.
The battle is tough. The Adversary fights dirty, and the encounter is “up close and personal.” Our confrontation with the forces of evil is like spiritual hand-to-hand combat and flesh-to-flesh wrestling. He has a host of demonic beings who work unceasingly, even when we sleep. As long as we are on earth, the war will continue.
Although the Enemy is strong, there isn’t reason to fear—he’s no match for Christ, who lives within us. We’ve been entrusted with Jesus’ divine power over the Evil One. However, we can access the Son’s authority only by submitting to His lordship and walking in obedience to His Spirit.