Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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Paul said that the kind of warfare which God's children fight is unlike the warfare which men of earth fight. He wrote, "Although we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh" (2Cor. 10:3). The goal of human warfare is to control the bodies of other humans, or to kill them. The goal of spiritual warfare is to resist the evil influences of this life's spiritual darkness and to do good. Or, as Paul phrased it, "casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2Cor. 10:5). In short, to do good in an evil world.
When I was young in the Lord, Brother Earl pointed out to me that in this warfare, such things as peace, love, and joy were weapons. That was a real eye-opener to me. When he said that, I knew immediately that it was true. I remembered the wise words of Paul, who told us that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal." This means that such carnal weapons as hand-grenades and machine guns, or political action committees and voter registration drives, are worthless to the children of God in the kind of warfare that we must fight. Not even a nuclear bomb is any help in our struggle to conquer the dark forces of this world and to do what is right in God's sight. Paul exhorted the saints in Rome to "overcome evil with good", and the truth of the matter is that there is nothing except God's goodness that will overcome evil. This is the warfare of the saints.
In this spiritual struggle, Jesus does not provide us with puny, ineffective weapons. Through the Spirit, Jesus has made heavenly weapons available to us, weapons that the world does not trust. But we know that God's joy is powerful, that God's peace is powerful, and that God's love is powerful. We know that patience and temperance are powerful forces and that faith from God is too powerful for anything on earth to resist. Listen to Paul's description of God's arsenal. "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds" (2Cor. 10:4). And John wrote, ". . . this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith" (1Jn. 5:4). Paul told the saints in Thessalonica to "put on the whole armor of God". He encouraged young Timothy to "be a good soldier" and to "endure hardships" for Christ. Paul wanted the children of God to win the war.
Whoever you are who reads this, you are in a war, a cruel and bitter war for your very life. If anyone does not realize that he is in this war, and most people on earth do not, it is only because he has already been captured by the enemy and blinded. But Jesus can open our eyes to what is really going on. Then, when he has opened our eyes and we at last see life on earth as it really is, we will reach out to God for the weapons that can help us win it and live forever. God wants you to use those weapons every day and to overcome the world. Go ahead. Overcome evil with goodness and make God, and yourself, happy.