First Battle to be Fought and Won in Clash of Civilizations
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NKJV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 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,
There is a lot of focus in spiritual warfare concerning the strongholds of our enemies and the weapons we use to tear them down. While that’s an understandable and legitimate area we need to be strong and excellent in, it can distract us from a much more important aspect of warfare, which is to bring our own thoughts and actions to captivity to Christ.
Proverbs confirm that:
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
If there is no self-governance in the life of believers, the accompanying brokeness will be reflected in whatever it is we put our hands to. That outcome is inevitable and inescapable. Self-governance is nothing less than obedience to the light revealed in the Holy Scriptures, with the help and support of the Holy Spirit.
I believe that’s what Proverbs 25:28 is saying. If we’re broken down and without walls, everything we put our hand to will be as well. It won’t have a solid foundation to build or stand on.
There’s a positive side of that as well. If a person is self-governed when applying themselves to spiritual warfare, not only are they using the correct weapons, but they will wield them masterfully and tear down the strongholds that need to be torn down in order to clear the rubble and build something in its place.
This is part of what Proverbs 16:32 is saying. The reason someone ruling their spirit is better than mighty or he that conquers a city, is because they are prepared to discharge whatever calling they have from God in this life. They may be mighty or take a city, or they may be involved with something completely different.
What’s important is self-governance. If that is in place, a person can be trusted with any task or tasks God has assigned him in this age.
Accurately measuring where we’re at
It’s important to have a realistic outlook of where we’re at in relationship to ruling our spirits, or self governance.
In my experience I’ve learned that it’s important to get objective feedback from those that have the insight and ability to judge spiritual things in our lives, but at the same time, no one knows you better than you do.
A multitude of counselors is important, but we must honestly look at ourselves after the input to see if how we view ourselves aligns with what they have to say, and if they are getting it right.
This is a tricky balancing act because we have to be mature about it and not defensive in how we respond to constructive criticism or examination. At the same time we have to make a decision and take ultimate responsibility for the conclusions we draw once sifting through feedback.
For that reason the Bible teaches that God looks at the heart; something, for the most part, a human being can’t fully do with another person. This is why I say we have to balance input and feedback with our own analysis. This goes both ways.
We may get input from people that care about and support us, possibly so much that they are reluctant to be fully honest with us out of perceived respect. If we aren’t pursuing the truth about ourselves in the matter, we could make decisions to do things according to feedback that may not be in our best interests, or God’s.
The same goes the other way. Some counselors may be of a more rigid disposition, and judge others in light of strict guidelines that may not be representative of who we are. Under that scenario we may be underestimated as to where we are in self governance.
Of course there’s also the third potential outcome, which is our counselors are accurate and their input aligns with what we conclude about ourselves too.
Bear in mind I’m narrowing this down to ruling our spirits in this article, not preparation, excellence, and other elements that may be required to tackle a specific task.
Those things are important in the sense how we rule our spirit will determine how well we do with things we need to faithfully perform the purpose and vision laid before us.
There is also the need to know how we respond to friction in relationships, personal tragedies, and similar aspects of life. All of that and more is included in a person ruling their spirit.
If we want to combat our enemies and build a Christian civilization that encompasses the world, we won’t be able to do it within the parameters of our calling if we don’t rule our spirit. Do that first, and the rest will flow from that.