10:1 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
I look forward to meeting Paul. It will be interesting to find out what he is like. Is he the bold guy that wrote all these letters or is he meek and lowly? Did he lead by charisma, by a type A personality, or by a quiet yet unmoving example? As he describes himself here it sounds like he was a lot more bold with paper and ink than he was in person. If that's true I can definitely relate to him. In person I struggle to say the things I believe need to be said. I find it much easier to express what I really want to say in writing.
That being said, it's not the main point of what I saw this morning. I was drawn to the warfare imagery. The differences and contrast of fighting like the world fights versus fighting as Jesus fought. In Jesus' very first public message often referred to as the sermon on the mount Jesus painted a picture foreign to human nature. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness. Blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are the merciful, blessed are they who mourn, blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, and blessed are the pure in heart.
Turn the other cheek if someone hits you. A soft answer turns away wrath. Pray for your enemies. Bless those who persecute you. As a sheep before the shearers is silent so Jesus uttered not a word.
These are the weapons of a Christian: Kindness, gentleness, patience, mercy, peace, self-control.
Who fights like this? Who would cheer for such a champion? Who would buy tickets to watch them fight? In some circles they would be called a loser, a wimp, a coward and yet it takes more inner strength to keep silent than it does to speak when provoked.
The reason why the weapons are so different when we fight with Jesus is because the goal is so different. In human warfare the goal is to win, the objective is to crush your enemy. In Christian warfare the aim is entirely the opposite. You want to win your enemy. You want them to turn around completely. You want them to be restored. When Peter was denying Jesus with curses, Jesus didn't curse him in return. Instead it took just one look of compassion to start to turn the tables. Jesus knew the real enemy Peter was fighting was not Himself. Peter was fighting fear. Peter was fighting the need for self-preservation. Peter was in a war only love could free him from.
No matter what kind of personality Paul had, he hit the nail on the head when he said the weapons of our warfare are not carnal(human), they are Divine.
"By this all men will know you are soldiers in My army, if you love one another as I have loved you." – Jesus