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Part Four in Our Series “Demolishing Your Strongholds”
Part 1 – The Weapon of Forgiveness
Part 2 – The Weapon of Generosity
Part 3 – The Weapon of a Clear Conscience
This blog series poses the challenge that our lives can be changed in 2017 if we are willing to demolish the strongholds we have allowed to be established in our hearts and minds. We can break free from encrusted attitudes, set old fears aside and know victory over behaviors that have become unhealthy habits. For me, I want to experience the Holy Spirit’s work of “restoring in me the joy of my salvation.”
How about you?
In these beginning weeks of 2017 it is critical for us to acknowledge that we are engaged in spiritual warfare. Our enemy seeks our destruction and his tactic is to set up “strongholds” in our lives; places where we have allowed the seeds of sin to blossom into attitudes and behaviors that are at war with the values of the kingdom of God to which we belong.
If we want a different story to unfold for us this New Year, then we must understand two very important truths about our life with Christ. In this battle God secured the final victory, and God provides everything we need for daily victory.
We claim this victory and demolish the enemy’s strongholds when we deploy the weapons of spiritual warfare. We defined a weapon as anything you use that destroys the enemy’s ability to wage war against you.
Over the coming weeks we will focus on five such weapons available to every follower of Jesus:
- Clear Conscience
Today we will look at the disarming power of wisdom. This may be another surprising “weapon” in this spiritual battle. However, it makes sense when we consider that Satan is described as,
… a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
The enemy’s best weapon against us is his ability to distort, twist, mislead, falsify and confuse the truth of God.
The deception of the enemy is everywhere. 24-hour cable news parades the evidence of his confusion ad nauseam. As the culture pushes the boundaries of the rejection of God’s truth, we will continue to see the spiritual fallout of a society bereft of wisdom.
The enemy’s greatest victory comes when we confuse wisdom for knowledge, or worse, for information. We will then see the accumulation of human intelligence and not the Word of God as the source of wisdom. Believing this lie, we have become a people saturated with information and impoverished of wisdom. The Psalmist reminds us that:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. (Psalm 110:10)
When we deny God and His sovereignty, we are thrown back on ourselves in a futile search for some form of human wisdom that will quell our deepest fears and satisfy our restless spirits. It will never be found, and our search for it will leave us empty and despairing.
Paul lamented for a world that had forsaken God’s truth and sought after human wisdom.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator ‒ who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:21-25)
This is the enemy’s desire – that we forsake godly wisdom for human foolishness, that we exchange truth for lies, and that we believe the con that somewhere in the tsunami of the information and knowledge that floods over us we will find the keys to wisdom. The marks of his handiwork are seen in the vacuous promises of secular humanism and the disillusioned vision of post-truth spirituality. Both misguided philosophies bear witness to the dangers of following the enemy’s siren song of looking to ourselves for the wisdom we so earnestly seek.
Scripture is unequivocal in painting the sharp contrasts of God’s intent for His people. First, wisdom is God’s gift that He grants abundantly for those who ask.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)
Second, God’s wisdom is given for our protection.
Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight path to walk in dark ways. (Proverbs 2:11-13)
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. (Proverbs 2:6)
Third, God’s gift of wisdom will be our defense.
But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. (Luke 21: 12-15)
Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called) ‒ Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia ‒ who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke. (Acts 6:9)
This God-gifted wisdom equips us to see life from God’s perspective and make decisions with Spirit-led wisdom. Our lives become shaped by an eternal perspective. The weapon of wisdom destroys Satan’s ability to deceive us into making decisions without regard for the consequences in this life or the next.
Wisdom always brings the eternal view into focus. With it we have the eyes to see life the way it was intended to be lived. Without wisdom, we focus on the immediate. We default to a short horizon that leads us into all manner of distorted attitudes and unhealthy behaviors that will only enslave us.
For these reasons, Paul prayed frequently for the gift of wisdom for God’s people.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. (Ephesians 1:17)
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. (Colossians 1:9)
Paul knew that God’s wisdom would keep us from falling, guard us from the lies of the enemy and equip us for service in the kingdom of God.
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. (Colossians 1:28)
This wisdom only comes from God in Christ
… in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:3)
For that reason, in the end, wisdom is freedom, freedom to rise above a sin-infused view of life and to live and thrive in a new vision of how God sees us, sees our world and marks our paths in the days He has given us. Wisdom unveils the heart of God, equips us with the mind of Christ, and fills us with the power and perspective of the Holy Spirit.
Wisdom sends the enemy fleeing. It is God’s gift-in-waiting. All we need to do is ask for it, seek after it and expect God to provide it. What will you do today to accept this gift?