"For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
I used to think this verse was talking mainly about the formal and philosophical business of apologetics in defending the Scriptures against heresies. That suited the devil just fine, since I hardly ever do formal apologetics.
But God has been showing me that the "arguments" the verse is referring to---those that I am to "destroy"---are first of all my own "arguments." They are the cacophony of voices that I hear in my head all day long that tell me that I am worthless or that I am better than someone or that I cannot be happy unless X, Y, and Z are in place. They are my unbiblical theories and strategies about life and relationships that I somehow continue to put credence in even while believing myself to be submitted to the Word of God. I didn't even recognize these things as demonic (but see James 3:15 on "demonic"). They are the endless "What ifs" that paralyze action, and the bottomless churning cesspool of "What can go wrong" that choke every potential act of faith. They are the habitual and hardly conscious rebuttals of doom to every attempt of a brother to encourage me.
Like the penny arcade batting practice where you put in your token and it keeps hurling baseballs at you, the heart lobs one "argument" after another in objection to the peace and joy and faith that God has for us, and that should be the normal "fruit of the Spirit." (It's normal for a tree to have fruit. If it doesn't, something is wrong with the tree and we need to get to the root of it.)
The interminable bemoaning of my weakness and sinfulness to anyone who will listen and the constant stroking of regret (Bonhoeffer calls it the "idolatry of guilt") all need to be "destroyed." They have the appearance of humility but get us nowhere.
It has to end right now. The tapering off approach won't do. And this is how I will do it: I praise God this minute for everything I can think of---His love, my salvation, the measure of faith I do have, the hope of "increase," and anything else I can possibly construe as a gift. Out loud, if necessary.
Someday I may come across a certified heretic, and when that happens I hope I will be able to "destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ." But in the meantime, I have enough to do in my fixer-upper of a heart, giving a workout to 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 at home before I unleash myself in the grand salons of apologetics.
Spiritual warfare, anyone?
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