Strategies to Overcome
I love the story of Joshua and the children of Israel at Jericho. Perhaps you recall the story of how the walls “came a-tumbling down?” God gave them a very specific strategy. As they obeyed God, and they simply marched around the city walls for a week and gave a big shout the last lap on the last day, supernaturally the walls collapsed and victory was achieved. Biblical stories like this build our faith and give us hope that impossible situations can change under God’s leading.
Question: What if God wants to give you specific strategies for breakthrough in the situations you face? How would you respond?
Don’t just take a directive given to Joshua or some other person in the Bible and try and replicate the strategy. Rather, stay close to the heart of God and wait upon Him for specific guidance in the situations you face in life.
In God’s Word, many directions are given to me and you—we simply need to obey God’s loving guidance and direction. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.”
But, Holy Spirit, who is our comforter and guide, wants to reveal specific steps to each of us in our times of need. Learn to recognize how God is leading and follow Him. Often, these steps involve both spiritual and natural components.
Here’s the challenge for most of us. We have a real enemy who wants to stop us, rob us, and if possible, destroy us (John 10:10).
However, he is defeated through the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Jesus has given His followers all authority through His name, we must live from His victory to stop the schemes of the enemy from denying us the abundant life Jesus promised us.
But where does this struggle occur and how do we wage an effective war against his evil schemes?
Our Minds are a Battle Ground for the Enemy
Most of the spiritual warfare we encounter is with our thought life. The enemy, just like he did with Jesus in the Wilderness (see Matt. 4, Luke 4), tempts through subtle suggestions and half-truths. If we take his bait and agree with his lies, we empower him. Remember, he is defeated, he gains power when we give it to him through agreement.
This week, we will examine 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and extract key principles for developing spiritual strategies to live as an overcomer.
Look at what Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
“Although we live in the world, we don’t fight our battles with human methods. Our weapons that we fight with aren’t human, but instead they are powered by God for the destruction of fortresses. They destroy arguments, and every defense that is raised up to oppose the knowledge of God. They capture every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:3-5 CEB)
The NKJV states this way, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down of strongholds.”
Strongholds or fortresses are primarily ungodly belief systems… they need to be dismantled and replaced with Godly truths and beliefs!
In this important verse (2 Corinthians 10:4), Paul speaks to us about the subject of spiritual warfare. Many consider this verse foundational on this subject.
Three important words: weapons, warfare and carnal.
First, Paul tells us that we have weapons (Eph. 6:13-18). Through our faith in Christ, God has given us our life in the Spirit and His Word; these are powerful offensive and defensive spiritual weapons.
Consider how walking in God’s truth, righteousness, peace, and joy are aspects of Holy Spirit fruit in our lives—character, therefore, is part of our weaponry!
Another example is living from your new identity in Christ; this is an aspect of salvation that keeps you secure in Hs love. Faith not only quenches the enemies’ lies, but advances God’s purposes. Using God’s Word is an offensive weapon, and so is prayer. As we discussed last week, use these weapons often to not only guard your life, but to advance God’s Kingdom!
Second, Paul uses the word ‘warfare’ or ‘fight’. This word is taken from the Greek ‘stratos’, from which ‘strategy’ is derived. The implication Paul is making in 2 Corinthians 10:4 is that spiritual warfare does not occur accidentally, but rather it is something that is strategically planned.
Just like any army that plans an attack, the devil devises a strategy—which methods to use—to assault you. Just like he did with Jesus. When you agree with the enemy’s lies or temptations, you empower him.
Think of the areas you have struggled with in your life. Perhaps rejection, abandonment, sickness, finances, marriage, etc.
But this verse isn’t just describing the devil’s strategies. Rather, Paul is letting us know that as we rely on God’s Word and listen to the Holy Spirit, God will give us an effective spiritual strategy to combat the schemes of the enemy. The Holy Spirit holds the key!
Third, Paul uses the word ‘carnal’ or ‘human methods’. It comes from the Greek word ‘sarkos’, which describes anything that is of the flesh, fleshly made, or fleshly conjured up or anything that is natural or of an uninspired nature.
Paul is saying, “Don’t look to human efforts, or human reasoning, for the spiritual weapons and strategies you need.” If you want to receive the strategy needed to assure yourself of victory, you must turn your attention to the realm of the Spirit. You must spend time praying in the Spirit and reading the Word.
You have the mind of Christ, use your head as much as you can, and think through each step. But as you seek God, stay open for Him to give you strategies that may seem a little odd at first.
The Old Testament is full of examples of divinely inspired strategies:
Consider Joshua and the children of Israel as they stood before the walls of Jericho in Joshua 6:2-5 NLT. What strategy did the Lord give them? They were to walk around the walls of Jericho once a day for 6 days, and 7 times on the 7th day. Then, after the 7th time around the wall on the 7th day, they were to blow trumpets made of ram’s horns.
To the human mind, none of this seemed reasonable, but God’s strategy brought the walls down!
Consider Jehoshaphat and the children of Judah who were surrounded by enemies in 2 Chronicles 20:20-25 NLT. God instructs them to send out singers and musicians to the frontlines in front of armed soldiers. Who does that? God!
As they worshipped, the Lord supernaturally set ambushes against their enemies.
Not a single fighter was lost. Not only that, but they came away with gold, silver, jewels and other riches in abundance. It took them three days to gather the spoils. How did they win? By getting God’s strategy and following it through.
In both cases, the battle strategy made no sense to the natural mind, but their obedience to God’s revelation and strategy released His power to do the impossible.
What I have discovered is that God often reveals both natural and spiritual components to breakthrough strategy. Yes, there are practical steps to take, too! But don’t be surprised if the Holy Spirit gives you a strategy that doesn’t make sense to your mind. God’s ways are higher than ours; He knows what you don’t know.
Imagine an army that is fully equipped with weapons of warfare but has no strategy about how to use those weapons against the enemy—they would fail. It is very important that you learn how to use the spiritual weapons God has given you, coupled with His divine strategies, to wage effective spiritual warfare.
Remember, it begins with a genuine love and devotion to Jesus, not just lip service! He really is the source of your life, your affection, and your desire. Faith builds from a place of intimacy with Jesus!
Remember how secure you are in Christ. Paul wrote, “…nothing shall separate you from the Love of God in Christ… neither death or life, not angels or rulers…” (Rom. 8:38-39 CEB).
Pray this prayer and trust God today for the effective strategies that you need in this season: Father, I am willing and ready to do whatever You tell me to do. Holy Spirit, You are my helper and my guide, I can fully rely on You. I need Your directions and Your strategies. I yield to You, Lord; have Your will and Your way in my life. I will obey the plans and strategies You have for me—in Jesus’ Name!
For a deeper look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “Strategies to Overcome”: