2Co 10:3-6 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
Paul’s words here echo the principle that Jesus set forth in the seventeenth chapter of John: we are in the world but not of the world. We are certainly mortal. We age, we suffer affliction and persecution, and eventually these mortal bodies die. Without Christ, we seek only the pleasures of the flesh and our reactions to those who oppose us are carnal.
By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, we do not war after the flesh. We do not rely on our carnal nature to guide our actions. Instead we find the meekness and gentleness of Christ make us able to wield weapons that are might through God. Whereas our carnal weapons only feed the discontent and arguments around us, our mighty, godly weapons are able to demolish these things. The weapons that God provides us are sufficient to destroy the strong holds of carnality.
The strongholds of our carnal nature are filled with our vain imaginations. We raise up ideas and doctrines that are contrary to God. Our thoughts are vain and vile, the carnal mind being enmity against God (Romans 8:7). It is God who supplies us with the weapons necessary to defeat our vain imaginings. He gives us the might to bring our carnal thoughts into captivity.
Notice that Paul does not say we are able to destroy our thoughts. As much as we would like to, we cannot always prevent ourselves from thinking things that we should not. Taking them captive prevents them from gaining control in our lives and causing us to act upon them. An old servant of God from my youth was fond of comparing our carnal thinking to birds flying over our heads. His comment was “I can’t stop a bird from flying over my head, but I don’t have to let it build a nest in my hair.”
The weapons of God allow us the strength to bring our thoughts into captivity. Instead of acting in an ungodly manner, we can bind them to the obedience of Christ. God has changed our hearts from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh. He has also subjected our carnal mind and given us the mind of Christ.
It is with this heart of flesh and the mind of Christ that we serve God. With these wondrous gifts of God’s power, we are able to walk in obedience unto Christ, even though we walk in the flesh. Although our bodies are carnal, we are able to wage spiritual warfare. Through the ministry He has given us, we are able to encourage His children to walk in obedience and stand against disobedience.
May we always acknowledge that, although we walk in the flesh, we are only mighty through God!