2 Corinthians 10:4 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.”
In this scripture, Paul says although he walks in the flesh, i.e. lives on the earth as a human like the Corinthian Christians and struggles with the same things they struggled with, still he does not war or minister according to his flesh. When Paul fought, his weapons were not material or physical weapons, such as swords and spears, but spiritual ones that were suited for spiritual war.
What all comes under carnal weapons in spiritual warfare? The carnal weapons include manipulative and deceitful ways, like the ones used by Paul’s opponents.
What can we then use as weapons in spiritual warfare? Ephesians 6 lists the spiritual weapons used by Paul – the armour of God: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace as shoes, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the word of God as the sword of the Spirit. Paul prayed at all times in the Spirit with His faith in God instead of the carnal methods. These are the weapons that are mighty in God to pull down strongholds.
What are the carnal methods that enemies used? Instead of truth, they fought with manipulation; instead of righteousness, they used the image of success; instead of the Gospel, they applied smooth words; instead of faith, they employed the perception of power; instead of salvation, they lorded over authority; instead of the Spirit, they fought with their human plans. The carnal, human way is to overpower, dominate, manipulate, and to out-plan others. The spiritual, Jesus way is to humble yourself, die to yourself, and let God show His resurrection power through you.
When we use Jesus’ way, we will be strong in the Lord to pull down strongholds. ‘Strongholds’ is ‘a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack.’ The devil can build strongholds in areas where God is not allowed to enter. In this context, wrong thoughts and perceptions, contradiction of the true knowledge of God and the nature of God with arguments and anything that promotes itself against the knowledge of God. Carnal thinking also stubbornly sets deep roots in the heart and mind, and colours all our actions and thoughts. God’s power is the only thing that can break down these strongholds. If we stop our thoughts and take dominion over them in Jesus, transformation, i.e the renewal of the mind, sets in as obedience to Jesus. Then our weapons become divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses: our powerful God-tools smash warped philosophies or barriers erected against the truth of God, they fit every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.