By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you — I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.
– 2 Corinthians 10:1-6
“Determinedly Demolish Some Things. Deliverance from sin is not the same as deliverance from human nature. There are things in human nature, such as prejudices, that the saint can only destroy through sheer neglect. But there are other things that have to be destroyed through violence, that is, through God’s divine strength imparted by His Spirit. There are some things over which we are not to fight, but only to “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord…” (see Exodus 14:13). But every theory or thought that raises itself up as a fortified barrier “against the knowledge of God” is to be determinedly demolished by drawing on God’s power, not through human effort or by compromise (see 2 Corinthians 10:4).”
– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
The war that the Apostle Paul wages here is a war of words. In this chapter of 2nd Corinthians, Paul is defending his ministry to the people of Corinth. If anything, the sin that must be demolished in the Corinthians is the sin of comparison, breaking the tenth commandment, if you will.
The argument made by the Corinthians here is valid, to a point. Is Paul bold in his writing and wimpy in his speech. Some of us bloggers may be bold in our writing, but timid in person, face to face. Some of us may be far from timid, maybe gregarious, but do we boldly preach to the people who are around us as we might when we type on the computer, all alone, in our basement, where no one can see?
Was Paul an introvert? Introverts who interact with other people send out non-verbal signals that are confusing to someone who reads body language. They may or may not look like an introvert, but they are odd in some way. I am one of those. The introvert usually does not know that these signals are being passed along. So, when the words don’t sound that convincing or the body language lacks the boldness of the words, people can question the introvert’s commitment to the topic. Was Paul giving conflicting or confusing body language when he spoke?
Paul had no problem with commitment. He had no problem communicating with the masses. This ‘war’ with the Corinthians may have been a few with very loud wheels that were squeaking instead of a general trend. If Paul was an introvert, it did not show its face to everyone and did not affect his ministry – judging from the large number of churches that were started. Then again, the Holy Spirit was working within Paul and Paul’s audience so that “those who had ears could hear.”
But what of Paul’s assertion that Chambers discussed? We must demolish Satan’s strongholds in our lives. In most cases, we cannot do it alone. We especially need God, but it may be important to make a bold statement in the demolition process. If we have a problem with drinking, for example, smashing the last bottle of liquor in the house may be an effective demonstration of that demolition. Doing so in front of family members could provide an open confession of sin with a request for forgiveness. Note: I did not get this idea from any organization or counselor. They may frown on it. I am just using it as an example that the demolition of a major problem in your life includes open confession, asking for forgiveness, asking for help, and possibly repairing what the sin destroyed.
If those sins prevent our moving forward, we need to be bold. We need to be bold in our confession. We need to be bold in our asking forgiveness. We need to be bold in our first step in our repentance – in moving in the opposite direction away from the sin. And then the next step, and the next.
We need to demolish those things that are hindering our Christian growth with violence. Not an act of violence against others, but a spiritual act of violence against the sin in our own lives using God’s strength.
Without God’s strength, we will not succeed.
There will still be temptations. For those temptations, we need to study the Bible. As Jesus did in the wilderness, we need to know God’s Word to answer the Devil’s temptations.
But what of Chambers’ comment about prejudice? We demolish the big sin problems of our life, but we ignore prejudice? When Chambers mentions treating things like prejudice with sheer neglect, he meant that if we neglect the stereotypes that exist throughout society until we have measurable data through our own observations, we will learn that some of the stereotypes are simply wrong and the others are not universal.
When I was a young platoon leader, I had a melting pot of my own in my platoon of about 38 men. There were blacks, whites, and others. I had city boys and country folk. Our tool room keeper was a young recruit from way back in the woods in the Ozarks – can’t get more country than that, a long way from the nearest big town, if you consider a town of a hundred people a big town. I had people from the South and people from the North. I had people from New England and people from Hawaii. I even had a Canadian from the Vancouver area. But all I saw was the Army green uniform that they wore. If they were hard working and kept their nose clean, I did everything that I could do to help them get promoted. If they were lazy or got into trouble, the platoon sergeant dealt with it, only referring the hard cases to me. Once the ‘dealing with it’ was done, we tried to get them promoted too. Growth deserves its reward. It was one green clad person helping another green clad person.
If we demolish that which hinders our growth in faith and treat others in love, prejudice and other such ills go away. I guess you could say they go away from sheer neglect. They simply don’t exist anymore. Yet, it might just be that we have other things to think about instead. We will see the other person as a fellow human being with merely a slightly different set of problems than that of our own.
A friend once said there are two rules in dealing with hatred, prejudice, intolerance, etc. Rule number one: Focus on your own sins, of course, with the view of demolishing them. Rule number two: When someone else irritates the living daylights out of you (or other words used at your own discretion), refer to rule number one. Remember, if anyone said the Christian life was easy, they lied. But it is just barely possible when we rely on God’s strength to see us through day by day.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.