GODLY SELF-DISCIPLINE is our STRONG DEFENSE against Satan’s ATTACKS: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Cor. 10:4-5)
Through this second letter to the Corinthian believers, Apostle Paul wanted to ensure that they should be aware of the way that Satan attacks a believer in Christ, and early on in his letter this was what Paul had written: "lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices" (2 Cor. 2:11). After Adam and Eve had sinned in the Garden of Eden, Satan attacks the children of God by putting contrary thoughts and imaginations in their minds. The only two people in the Bible that Satan had to confront using an external form or body were Eve and our Lord Jesus Christ, since they did not have any sin inside for Satan to attack them from within.
As God’s children, we should not be ignorant of the ways that Satan adopts to attack us. We should be sober and vigilant because our adversary "the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). We are required to "fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim. 6:12) by putting on the whole armor of God so that we are “able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). One of the crucial pieces of our spiritual armory is the "helmet of salvation" (Eph. 6:17) that will protect us from the tempting and rebellious thoughts and vain imaginations that Satan tries to plant in our minds. In order to successfully face and overcome these attacks of our enemy, Apostle Paul informs us that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God” and he clarifies that godly self-discipline is our strong defense against Satan’s attacks!
Paul uses the imagery of a fortress that the Corinthian believers could relate to because overlooking ancient Corinth was a hill on top of which was a fortress. With regards to the spiritual warfare that Paul had fought in the past, he had destroyed strongholds (fortress), cast down towers, and taken captives. The fortress, towers, and captives represent the arguments, thoughts, and schemes that came from Satan against God’s purposes. To thwart these attacks, Paul had cast down all rationalizations and had taken captive to the obedience of Christ every perception and intention of the heart that was against God. Paul did not walk according to the flesh or his worldly desires; instead he conquered the flesh through godly self-control as he explains his strategy like this: “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection.” (1 Cor. 9:27)
So now Apostle Paul is alerting us to the reality that the greatest battles of our lives are fought in our minds. We wage war against invisible, intangible spiritual forces that Satan perpetrates in our minds. Satan’s strategy includes using speculations and incorrect information that contradicts God’s revealed truth as he seeks to blind minds to God’s light (4:3–6), fortify minds against God’s truth (vv. 1–6), and seduce minds from God’s love (11:1–4). The warfare in our minds is against arrogant, rebellious ideas and arguments and against every pride opposed to the true knowledge of God. For this, we need weapons that are God-empowered (mighty in God). Everything that exalts itself against God must be thrown down. Every thought must be brought into captive obedience to Christ (v. 5). Faith in the living God, prayer, and obedience to God’s Word are the effective weapons of every true soldier of Jesus Christ (Acts 16:18).
Let us ensure that going forward all teachings and speculations must be judged in the light of the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must not allow our intellects to be exercised in defiance of the Lord and in disobedience to Him. Let us make certain that every thought, which include every idea, motive, desire, and decision, confirm to the will of God and belongs to Christ. Let our minds be guarded by the peace of God (Phil. 4:7) as we embrace the clarity of the knowledge of God and align our thinking with the mind of Christ (Phil.2:5) as we represent Him in this world. Let us wear the whole armor of God as we fight our spiritual battles in our minds every day (Eph. 6:10–18). Above all, let us constantly maintain a godly self-discipline in our minds, which is our strong defense against Satan’s attacks!
“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Tim. 2:3-4)