Battle Plan

10 I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. 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. [1]

 

Here, Paul is addressing philosophical ideas in Corinth that are opposed to Christ.  Paul is urging the Corinthians to, by the Spirit (divine power), do battle against the prevailing “wisdom” of the worldly Corinthian culture.  He instructs the Corinthians to engage cultural values with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The goal is to bring the culture into conformity to Christ, not by political or legal means, but by the Spirit working through the Gospel.

This is certainly applicable to the church’s engagement in her current environment.  There are obvious cultural movements that clearly contradict the truth of Scripture.  The church must be vigilant in her efforts to, by spiritual means, influence the culture toward Christ.

With that said, there is also opportunity to apply this text individually and personally.  In searching our hearts, I am certain that each of us will find beliefs, attitudes, and expectations that are born of our culture’s influence.  For example, when I have a craving for food, I am able to walk to the refrigerator and find a snack, whether I need it or not.  In the United States, we are able to satisfy our cravings instantly.

What if one has sexual desire?   Satisfaction may be attained with a few clicks of the mouse.  What if one desires the latest tech gadget on the market but lacks the funds to purchase it?  Swipe the credit card!  A business says, “Happy Holidays,” instead of, “Merry Christmas?”  Boycott them and post angry comments on Facebook!

When urges, cravings, and desires arise in our hearts and minds, we often respond reflexively, without evaluation.  We don’t give thought to the nature of the desire, or the potential outcome of satisfying the flesh’s demands.  Therefore, conquering the satisfaction reflex will take a great amount of discipline and Spirit-wrought effort.

So, here’s the ASIA plan.

1)       Acknowledge, as soon as possible, the rising of desire in the heart and mind.

2)      Submit the desire/thought to God.  Ask him to help you feel, evaluate and respond to the desire rightly.

3)      Interrogate your desire.  Why do I want this?  Do I really need to do this?  What will happen if I satisfy the desire?  What will happen if I don’t?  Does this desire accord with the truth of the gospel?

4)      Act accordingly.

 

Don’t expect this plan to go smoothly.  We have whole lifetimes of mindless surrender to the flesh.  This will take practice and perseverance.  We must learn to steer our desires in a Christ-ward direction rather than letting our desires steer us where they will.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (2 Co 10:1–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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