Today I read a passage during “coffee with the Lord” that surprised me a bit… I realized something about it I had never noticed before. The passage is most often used, in my experience at least, in contexts of “spiritual warfare” – those kinds of situations where evil forces and demonic activity is confronted directly. I had failed to realize, I guess, that the apostle Paul in the passage was dealing with resistance from human adversaries… that the passage was fundamentally interpersonal in nature… He was dealing with carnal, rebellious, arrogant people – not simply with the devil, demons or evil spirits directly (although I’ve met plenty of carnal people that I felt were influenced by evil forces like that).
Here’s the passage… (and notice particularly that Paul is speaking to people in the church in Corinth who were causing problems within “the body of Christ.”)
“Now I, Paul, appeal to you personally by the meekness and gentleness of Christ (I who am meek when present among you, but am full of courage toward you when away!) [probably their criticism of him – my note]— now I ask that when I am present I may not have to be bold with the confidence that (I expect) I will dare to use against some who consider us to be behaving according to human standards. For though we live as human beings, we do not wage war according to human standards, for the weapons of our warfare are not human weapons, but are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds. We tear down arguments and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:1–5 the NET BIble)
This, it seems to me, is wonderful encouragement to any Spiritual leader who has ever had to deal with carnal people and interpersonal problems in the church! There is something powerful, attractive, and distinctive about authentic Spiritual authority in action. God gives influence, favor, and wisdom! When a leader acts cooperatively in the Holy Spirit with meekness and gentleness, the weapons they wield are powerful and mighty – not mere human power or influence! Spiritual strongholds are rendered impotent and demolished. Seems to me it takes conflict management to a whole new level. I’ve seen it work! No shouting or screaming… “steel under velvet” in the power of the Holy Spirit.