- Verse 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
First of all, what are strongholds? Strongholds are ways of thinking, or actions we default to, that are sinful and hold a person captive. A stronghold can be something someone deals with regularly and has a hard time turning away from. Strongholds can be a lie someone has believed for so long that it is hard to not believe it, it can be a habit that is hard to overcome, or a default action- like anger. I believe strongholds are created in and of the devil and it's in a sense a power that the devil has over you. He knows your weakness, and tries to hold you in it. I don't believe we have to have strongholds. If you are a child of God, we can break free from those strongholds with "weapons of warfare of divine power". These weapons are, but not limited to: prayer, the Word of God, faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. If you are struggling with a stronghold, you don't have to. It can be a process, but repentance and getting right with God is your first step. Taking your stronghold to God in prayer, truly having faith that you don't have be enslaved to the stronghold, calling on the Holy Spirit to guide you and intervene on your behalf to God and memorizing, praying and quoting the Word of God. When we memorize Scripture, we can pray it back to God and hold on to His promises. We can also recite it when we are in the midst of our struggle. We can remind Satan of God's Word, just like Jesus did when He was tempted in Matthew 4 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%204&version=ESV ).
- Verse 17-18 "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
That sure takes me off my pedestal- how about you? How often do we commend ourselves? Even without obvious display- let me give you a quick example. So, you get the church newsletter and see the prayer requests from people within the church. That week you decide to pray for those people every day. That's awesome! The following Sunday, you see one of the people you prayed for and go up to them to see how they are doing. They exclaim, "Great! The Lord is good and faithful!" You say," Great news, I was praying for you all week!"
It is absolutely wonderful to pray for someone persistently. It's not even a bad thing to share that you had been praying for them. But what is your motive? Do you want an ounce of credit because you lifted them up to the Lord in prayer? Do you want a pat on the back? Are you leaning toward boasting in your 'powerful prayers' or boasting in the Lord's faithfulness?
How often are we quick to share the good thing we did for someone? Wouldn't it be so much better for that person to share that you blessed them rather than you telling people you blessed someone? It is similar with God. Unless it is God working in and through you, you might be spending your time and energy in vain. "Unless the Lord builds the house,those who build it labor in vain." Psalm 127:1.