The Weapons of Our Warfare

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 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, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. — 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, ESV

Men, Paul has been accused of walking in the flesh, well, he says he does walk in flesh but makes it clear that we do not wage war according to human standards. The weapons of our warfare aren’t conventional weapons. We have been given new weapons. Prayer, of course, is our primary weapon. I’ve recently found the value in fasting as well. We have some unlikely weapons found in kindness and mercy also. It may not seem like the most intimidating and ferocious way to fight, but, these weapons are made powerful by God. The power of God tears down strongholds, arguments, and all arrogant obstacles that raise up against the knowledge of God. With that power Paul, and we, have the power to take every thought captive, and to suppress our disobedient hearts so that we obey Christ.

Brothers, we should know by now, our most vicious fights are with ourselves. I do what I know is wrong even though I don’t want to and I often fail to do what is right, even with a desire to do so. How do we use worldly weapons in this struggle without destroying ourselves and others? As we surrender our lives to Christ, we should also surrender our weapons and tools. The Father gives us new weapons and tools when He gives us a new heart transformed by His Spirit. Move forward, men, submitting all things to Christ. Our old weapons won’t work in the fights the Father knows are coming. He equips for greater victory. Instead of returning insults in like manner, pray a blessing of peace over them. Instead of “knuckling up” try rebuking in Jesus’ name. The internet has an example of an old lady stopping an armed robbery by rebuking in His name. If we are surrendered fully to the Fathers leading, then the Spirit will tell us how to appropriately fight. Wield love.

Try it, it may work. It’ll work better with practice. This may be as new to you as it is me, perhaps just as odd, but I’m learning. I’m seeing it work. It’s unnatural but it’s powerful and constructive

Vance Durrance

Share Button

The Gift of the Thorn

The Gift of the Thorn

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV

Paul remembers a very special time where he was shown an indescribable event. So that he would not become arrogant in the matter, the Lord allowed what Paul called a “thorn in his flesh”. Three times he asked for its removal and each time he was denied, with the reply, “My grace is enough for you, my power is made perfect in weakness”. Paul now boasts of his weakness, bearing the insults, troubles, and difficulties for the sake of Christ. Where Paul, myself, and you sir, are weak, He is strong.

The thorn story is familiar. We know about the thorn, but we don’t give thought to why. As young men we exercise to become strong. We fill our minds with information so that we can navigate life. Essentially, we are building our self-sufficiency. Here, the Lord makes it clear, -I AM- your strength. We strengthen and train and learn our way into a place where we feel comfortable “serving God” as if God needs our talents and qualities to accomplish His work. The truth is, our strength and intellect more often become stumbling blocks. We justify all our “growth” hoping it makes us more usable, in reality, Father would give us what we need in the hour we need it, if we humbled ourselves, trusted Him, and could submit to His Lordship enough to obey when He says…. fill in the blank yourself. Strength and wisdom are good, but obedience is closer to the Father’s heart.

Move forward men, humbling ourselves so that the Lord may lift us up. Prepare yourself to move beyond what you can do. It was not in Moses power to lift a sea, it wasn’t in David’s power to defeat the giant, it wasn’t Israel’s power that leveled Jericho. How much do you want to be a part of? Are you willing to be small so that He can do something big? Humble yourself, submit to His Lordship, and obey when He speaks.

Vance Durrance

Share Button

The Army at Our Back

david-and-goliath

“45 But David replied to the Philistine, “You are coming against me with sword and spear and javelin. But I am coming against you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel’s armies, whom you have defied! 46 This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand! I will strike you down and cut off your head. This day I will give the corpses of the Philistine army to the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the land. Then all the land will realize that Israel has a God, 47 and all this assembly will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves! For the battle is the Lord’s, and He will deliver you into our hand.”  –1 Samuel 17:45-47

This epic and famous account epitomizes the courage of a mighty man of God. He was undeterred by the surrounding cowardly company (v.11), the false accusations (v.28), the insurmountable odds that stood before him (vv.4-7), and perhaps even his own previous retreat (v.24). He was confident in his past experience (v.35), his current equipment (vv.39-40), and God’s future protection (v.36). And, he was rightly motivated by the reward promised by his king (vv.24-26).

We are likewise called to ignore all cowardly company (John 21:22), their false accusations (Luke 6:22), circumstances that seem beyond us (2Corinthians 12:10), and any previous retreats (Philippians 3:13). We are called to take confidence in our God-ordained past experiences (Romans 8:28), our current equipping (2Peter 1:3), and God’s future protection (2Th 3:3). And we should be motivated by our King’s promised rewards (Romans 8:18; Luke 6:23; Hebrews 11:6, 26; Matthew 6:18; etc.).

Yet I have missed an invaluable purpose in David’s victory… and my own.

“… and He will give you into OUR hand.”

Not “my hand,” but rather “our hand.” Even though David went out to face Goliath alone, there was an army at his back that would share in the victory and give chase to the enemy (v.52) once God removed the one obstacle that paralyzed His people (v.11).

The obstacle for Israel here was not a physical giant, but rather a lack of faith. David killed Goliath and God was glorified. Then Israel’s eyes were opened to see the truth (2Kings 6:17)—that the battle was already won (v.51). And so they were filled with faith and surged forward into battle (v.52).

Goliath’s size was never an issue, and neither is the size of any mountain that stands in our way (Matthew 17:20). Because victory is not ultimately about conquering “the enemy.” The Devil is no match for our Sovereign God; Satan’s future demise is certain (Revelation 20:10). There will be a day when Jesus will annihilate His enemies with a single word (Revelation 19:21), and He could do so this very instant if He so decided.

Neither is God desperately looking for one brave volunteer so that He can strike a blow against the devil. He is in need of no individual man (Act 17:24-25). His purposes will not be thwarted (Job 42:2). They will not be hindered in our rebellion (2Ki 19:25), nor will they hinge on our obedience (1Kings 19:14-18; Esther 4:14). Ignoring His call only leads to our own destruction (Ezekiel 22:30-31).

Rather, we see that God patiently tolerates (even uses) evil and injustice in order to conquer something else—our hearts (2 Peter 3:9). THIS is why it is so important that we live in Christian community, open and vulnerable before others (v.26, 40, 48) so that they can see God’s power manifested in our lives. God’s desire is for His people to rise up in faith… TOGETHER. And that can’t be done with lone crusaders just looking to pick a fight. Instead, God purposely calls out the weak (1Corinthians 1:27) so that He is assured the glory (which rightfully belongs to Him, Romans 11:36), and so that brothers and sisters watching, and listening will have their hearts filled with faith.

Mighty men of God, we are being called forth to openly call out and lead others—both in word (v.26) and in deed (v.48). So, let us courageously rush toward giants so that true victory can be attained. Not the beheading of giants with their own sword (v.51), but the rousing of faith in the army behind us so that we all charge forward (v.52) for the sake of our King—Not Saul (or any sinful man), but Jesus Christ: “The King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16).

Share Button

Where are the mighty men of God today?

Mighty Men

What would a spiritual warrior look like in 2019?  In our current world do we even have a concept of what this would look like?  We sometimes hear of a prayer warrior.  And the vision we have of this more often than not is an elderly woman now capable of little else who prays faithfully.  If we can even visualize a man as a spiritual warrior we likely envision and elderly man with his bible open, reading it early in the morning.  Honestly, the vision of a spiritual warrior has been stolen from many of us. Literally veiled from our spirit’s eyes.  We don’t think immediately or naturally of a Christian as a warrior.  We may think of them as a worker.  We may think of them as a cheek turner; a pacifist that perhaps can withstand some condemnation of the non-church-going world.  But we don’t see a warrior.   We wonder sometimes why we don’t see greater impact and miracles, but we can’t even create a vision of a modern day spiritual warrior.

We often think of an impactful Christian man as a preacher who moves people to consider their status and the truths of the bible; to influence people to change behavior; maybe as a comforter in his pastoral role at the time of a loved one’s passing.  We think of elders or deacons as middle-aged or elderly men that have proven themselves faithful in Bible study, perhaps are proven in Bible or Sunday school teaching, maybe knowledgeable regarding methodologies of ceremonies like the Lord’s Supper, serving on committees, accustomed to making joint decisions regarding church discipline, and representing the church in visitation or business matters. These actions describe men of the Word or men of the church, but do these things describe a spiritual warrior?  There is a physical working and knowledge side here, and a mental side here, but is there a Spirit-led and empowered battler of evil spirits here?  Most of these men would testify to the validity of the Bible; and to its value for keeping their life on track, i.e. a good book for life.  A few would testify of the Spirit leading them; most would argue that the Lord orders their steps in some way.  Many would draw up short of the Spirit speaking outside of the Bible.  But where are the spiritual warriors in today’s world? Those that absolutely head-on confront the evil spirits or principalities?

If we look for a spiritual warrior in the Bible, do we see anything different?  David loved the written word, but he had a living faith in God that was outrageous.  It was developed from the stories of his ancestors, sure, but also from the delivery of the living God from the bear and the lion.  And from the Spirit of God directly creating a great spirit within him.  This faith was so real and so large that he would face a giant when all other men in Israel would not.  He was a spiritual warrior; not without physical prowess, but a spiritual warrior.  It was not his great tools or muscles that empowered him but rather his faith and his God.  It was his truly his developed and empowered spirit.  All other men that had the opportunity to go out to Goliath were defeated first by fear; they were willing to face captivity of themselves and their family before they would face this large man. But Goliath wasn’t just a man.  He was the literal physical embodiment of all that would defy God.  He was empowered by the anti-Jehovah spirit.  And David was not just a young strong man.  He was the embodiment of the faith (the heart) of the Living God Jehovah.

Is the checklist for a spiritual warrior his prayer book? Or his ability to quote the books of the Bible in order correctly? Maybe his knowledge of Robert’s Rules of Order and how to run a church committee meeting?  Maybe his ability to keep beer out of his refrigerator, curse words off his tongue or lustful thoughts out of his mind?  None of those things fully empowers a man to face the giants of our day when none other will.

Will any of those Christian men of today (whether deacon, or pastor, or preacher, or Sunday School teacher) go out and meet today’s Goliaths?  Or would they draw up short in fear of legal battles? Or government intervention?  Or concerns of political correctness? Or fears of impact on their career and paycheck? Or concerns of separation of church and state?  Would you?  Would you face the giants of agnosticism? Of the combatant religions?  Or even the Christian religious systems? Or the anti-Christs of this world? The Goliaths of this age stand in the middle of the valley and call out a challenge to the current men of God.  Will anyone go out to meet them?  Would our country be in its current state if any had?  The giants of our day don’t necessarily look the same.  They are often actually in the shape of a woman now (with public women names of notoriety) but they are giants of the anti-Christ nonetheless.

Jesus, both fully man (born of water and blood) and fully God (conceived of the Spirit; no second birth required), faced the Prince of this world directly, as a man. Knowing the Father fully, with confidence even in God’s promise of the ability to lay His life down and take it up again, weaponless He faced the Jewish rulers and Roman centurions and Roman rulers, and literally all that was anti-God.  They mocked Him, harmed Him physically, and tempted, tested and tried Him.  And in the greatest display of physical strength and outrageous faith He let them take His physical life, and He literally poured out His soul, and released His spirit from His body to face the torments of hell, to then, upon the authority of His heavenly Father, take up His life again, to defeat the greatest giant of all, i.e. Satan himself in his defined environment. That is a mighty man of faith.

Inspired by His teaching and His living example and His death, His disciples also faced the Goliaths of the day, in city after city after city, to establish a church on the cornerstone of Christ’s great truth and testimony of His Father God.  What can you see today regarding what a mighty man of God might look like?  Can you see more than a reader of Bible stories? More than a committee leader? How about real men, who have faced the demons of fear, depression, suicide, threat of financial ruin, legal suit, character assassination, the battle of pride, and still emerged on top, unafraid and standing ready to face the giants that come against the people of our God?  And then, can you see the giants of this world mocking the one true God today without fear of confrontation?  Can you envision a man who steps up and answers the call of Satan giants in today’s world?  Where are today’s mighty men? What do you see?  What can you be in Christ?

For 2019, will you resolve to prepare better for Sunday School. Or will you resolve to face your fears in preparation for Giant confrontations.

Derek Dougherty

Share Button