Bridehood: The Foundation of Spiritual Warfare
2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). That’s the key phrase: “All things have become new.” Verse 21: “That we might become the righteousness of God in [Christ]” (v. 21).
The most difficult thing in our Christian walk is this issue of everything becoming new and our identity flowing out of this reality. We’ll find in a few moments that this is the main issue of spiritual warfare in 2 Corinthians 10: this issue of “all things being new,” and the believers walking in the revelation of that reality in terms of the image that they have of themselves or their spiritual identity in Christ. We have a new position in terms of everything becoming new, and the new position is that we possess the righteousness of God.
THE VAST OCEAN OF GOD’S LOVE This is basic Christianity, so I’m just covering this really fast. I assume most of you are very familiar with this. The first issue involved in all things becoming new is that we have been accepted by the Father. We have also been accepted by the Son. There are many dimensions to the acceptance or the love of God, many facets to God’s love. Ephesians 3:18 talks about the height and the depth, the length and the width of the love of God. I call it, “the vast ocean of God’s love.” There are so many dimensions.
Jesus spoke of two dimensions at the Last Supper. In John 15:9, He said, “As the Father loves you, that’s how Jesus loves you” (Jn. 15:9, paraphrased). Then, in John 17:23: “As the Father loves Jesus, that’s how the Father loves you” (Jn. 17:23, paraphrased).
He talked about the way the Father loves us and He talked about the way the Son loves us in two different verses. I like to separate and distinguish between the love of the Father as part of our identity and then the love of the Bridegroom, the embrace and the cherishing of the Bridegroom.
RELEASING THE WORKS OF GOD AND STOPPING THE WORKS OF DARKNESS The second aspect of this new position in the righteousness of God is that we have authority to use the name of Jesus. We can release the works of God and we can stop the works of darkness. That’s just a summary statement. We can release the works of God—healing, power, and miracles—and we can stop the works of darkness through the name of Jesus.
The third aspect of this new position is that we have Someone living on the inside of us, the third person of the Trinity. God dwells in the human spirit. Those are the three basic aspects of our new position of everything becoming new. The most important aspect of this in terms of our life on the earth and in terms of spiritual warfare is that this new position results in us having a new identity, a new spiritual identity. This is the thing that’s most difficult in our struggle: to see ourselves differently; to define our life differently in the light of spiritual truth. We can have the new position with those three issues, but when we begin to define, interpret, and view our life in light of these things, we talk about our new identity, a new image of ourselves through the gospel, through the righteousness of God.
That’s Satan’s main tool against the believers: he accuses night and day before God (Rev. 12:11). He accuses us night and day. He tells us God is a liar. He tells us we’re not loved by God, that God isn’t true to His Word, and He’s not like He says He is. The number one thing that creates strongholds in our minds is the accusation of Satan against God and God’s Word concerning us.
You have to understand this very clearly. A stronghold in the ancient world was like those giant walls; some were ten feet, some were thirty feet thick. They were the walls around the city. When a stronghold was raised around a city, the walls were built and it kept the bad men out and the good men in, right? Those ten-foot thick stone walls kept the enemy from hammering his way in. They protected the city.
Paul is using this in exactly the opposite application. He’s saying, “These ten-foot thick stone walls keep bondage in, and they keep God’s blessing out.” They’re negative strongholds. These are strongholds we don’t like. He’s using the imagery of the Roman world, of a stronghold that kept one group out and one group in. He says, “These are bad strongholds, not good ones. They keep bondage in and they keep blessing out.”
He’s talking to people who are new creations in Christ; that’s the point. He’s talking to people to whom earlier in 2 Corinthians he said, “Everything has already been made new for you. However, you still have bondages in your life.” It’s a very common thing in the lives of believers. These spiritual bondages can be discerned and torn down. He makes it very clear that the key issue of these strongholds is the subject of the knowledge of God.
THE IDEAS THAT LODGE IN THE HEART RULE THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE He says in verse 5, “. . . casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.” The central issue that empowers these strongholds is coming against the knowledge of God. They accuse the true knowledge of God in our hearts. The truth about God is attacked in our minds. It’s about ideas. Believe it or not, strongholds are about ideas.
You think, “Well, that’s pretty simple.” No. The ideas that lodge in the human heart rule the entire human race. That sounds so simplistic, but let me tell you, your life is ruled by the ideas that are lodged in your heart. Your emotions are enflamed by them, whether good or bad ideas. Most of these ideas we haven’t even thought through, because it’s a complex system of ideas that all of us believe about ourselves, about God, about life, and about death. We can’t even analyze them all. We have very specific ideas that we haven’t even fully discerned that are lodged in our minds. Many of these ideas are against the truth of the knowledge of God and we don’t even know it. We’re not even thinking that way.
Most people are so at peace with their strongholds and false identity and they real Paul and they read Jesus and they see how far they are from it, but they do not actually press in to bring their hearts and minds (both!) in agreement with God.
THE MOST POWERFUL AND UNDER-USED OF ALL OUR WEAPONS Paul says we have to break these wrong ideas, and in breaking these wrong ideas that accuse God, you’ll be set free. The whole point he’s getting at is that then you’ll be lovers of God. That’s the object of these four chapters. So God is accused. How are these strongholds broken? It says, by “casting down arguments.” Isn’t that an amazing thing? Number one: we expose the arguments against God. We expose wrong ideas against God. Isn’t that simplistic? It’s very powerful. We expose them and then we renounce them. That’s how we cast down arguments. How do we expose wrong ideas or arguments, and how do we renounce them? By the Word of God; the mighty weapon is God’s Word. The mighty weapon is the Word of God. Then the second weapon, of course, is the Holy Spirit, and the gifts of the Spirit revealing it and using us. Those are the mighty weapons that everyone has but few use. Using them has so profoundly changed my identity, I hope you will go after this in a serious way.
The most effective way for me is to take verses and meditate on them, asking Holy Spirit for revelation on them. It takes time. The Holy Spirit hangs out in the 25 mile an hour zone and we blow past verses at 70 mph. Take time declare the verses, believe them and either ask for power to obey them or ask for revelation. Paul exhorts believers to sing in Col 3 and Eph 5, singing the Scriptures open up our heart to them in a powerful way.
The link on the right that’s a picture of a bible has some Scriptures set to music, but making up your own songs is powerful too. Praying them with a journal writing out ideas and revelation is so good. Jeremiah said God’s word is a hammer. It will smash strongholds and root us in Christ and in our actual identity.
We are Betrothed
2 For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. II Corinthians 11:2
We have access to be close friends with Jesus and He want us to be with Him where He is, connecting with Him.
24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. John 17:24
For love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised. Song 8:6-7
Jesus’ identity as Bridegroom means He has powerful, surging emotions of fierce love and desire for you. He is jealous for your affections. We labor in pray to know this in our hearts not just our minds.