swiss army knife
I cut myself taking this photo of my 20-year-old, dull pocket knife! (c) Carole Sparks

You wouldn’t attack the Great Wall of China with a Swiss army knife…or would you?

Back to our study of 1 Corinthians 10:3-5. Are you ready to “finish the imagery and find our success,” as I said last week? I’m working to memorize these verses as part of my demolition plan!

Our Weapons (v. 4)

Eventually as Believers, we realize we have been encased by Satan’s arguments and pretensions. We know we face the hard work of breaking free, so we search about for weapons…tools to tear down these walls.

The world’s weapons won’t work.
We need something different.

The weapons the world gives us are the same ones Satan used to build our strongholds. They may be big and impressive, but they are ineffective. We need something different.

I’m thinking about Thor’s hammer, but superhero-style weapons aren’t the answer. So I think the opposite: the small jeweler’s hammer Tim Robbins’ character used in Shawshank Redemption to penetrate the prison wall and tunnel out. That’s closer to the truth, at least as far as appearance. However—and this is a big difference—our most effective weapons may appear weak and ineffective, but they have intrinsically divine power that far exceeds their appearance.

Paul doesn’t give us a list of divine weapons here in 2 Corinthians 10, but I think he would be happy with my starter list.

  • The Word of God. “…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” –Ephesians 6:17
  • Love. More powerful than mountain-movers, love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres,” never fails, and supersedes all other elements of faith! –1 Corinthians 13
  • Prayer. They were in prison with their feet in stocks when “about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God… Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” –Acts 16:25-26

The foundations of the prison were shaken. Foundations made of blocks, shaken loose by prayer. Just go read this story (Acts 16:22-34) in light of our present conversation! Seriously.

Demolition (vv. 4 & 5)

One well-placed plink reduces
the stronghold to gravel.

With these seemingly weak weapons we wield the full power of God (Ephesians 1:19-20) to, as Paul put it, “demolish strongholds.” One well-placed plink reduces the stronghold walls to gravel. That’s what demolish means. Not just knock down or overturn; imagine those heavy, dense blocks shattered into gravel.

Then we use the gravel to pave the road on which Jesus, our King and Big Brother, returns to resume our relationship.

08-28 Greece (8)
insurmountable, impenetrable (c) Carole Sparks

Maybe the stronghold around your heart today feels like the Great Wall of China. And maybe the only tool you’ve received (prayer, love, Scripture) feels like a single-bladed Swiss army knife. You look from the wall to the knife in your hand, back to the wall, back to the knife, and you raise your eyebrow at God. “Really?” you say, “This is what I need? To destroy this wall?” Then you see a narrow joint between two huge building blocks. You insert the knife to the hilt—maybe three inches. An impotent action…until an earth-shaking rumble begins, and before long, you’re standing inside a deep circle of one-inch gravels. That’s how it works, friend.

Remember Joshua and the people of Israel at Jericho? They destroyed literal city walls with a big shout and some rams’ horns (Joshua 6).

I see a high, thick wall around the heart of someone I love. My external attacks on the walls haven’t been effective so far. God leaves it for her to pick up the spiritual tools at hand and use them from the inside. It will take just one act of faith. Then she’ll have to climb out over the gravel, but I think God will let me help her with that.

Now let’s take a look at those original verses, pausing as we go to think about the italicized words really mean. (If you didn’t read last week’s post, go back and do that before you continue.)

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.2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Another Kind of Stronghold

There’s another kind of stronghold. A fortress, actually, where we do more than survive in defense. In God’s strong tower, we can thrive and live forever.

In God’s stronghold, we can
thrive and live forever.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.Psalm 18:2

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.Proverbs 18:10

When demolishing strongholds, it’s not the size of your weapon that counts. @Carole_Sparks #battle #NotAboutMe (click to tweet)

More than almost anything I’ve ever written, I wrote this because I needed to grab hold of these verses right now. Maybe you need it too. Tell me, how does the imagery of Satan building a stronghold around your heart affect your perspective on the internal and external spiritual battles we face daily? What verses has He given you for specific occasions? How do you find yourself reacting to my words today? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

11 thoughts on “Walls and Weapons (part 2)

  1. Strongholds. There are definitely those that Satan builds (by my not demolishing him in prayer) and those I need to build based on Truth. The word pretension used to confuse me in these verses until I took them apart. From Latin, ‘pretendare’ or… pretend. Then I got it! Satan sets up pretend messages as his building material. It’s up to me to tear them down with what is real. Good word, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know this to be a powerful truth. Yet it seems too easy to have those weapons misplaced and unused in my life. thank you for not only reminding us but gathering some weapons and putting them on the table in front of us..

    Liked by 1 person

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