the weapons of our warfare
by christopher barnes
By Christopher Barnes 12-13-2022
Do you ever feel provoked when someone speaks against something that you support? Or, have you ever felt so strongly about an issue that you want to beat another person with your opinion and facts?
Even more important, do you ever experience this with your children? Perhaps you were shocked by their thinking or the disrespect laced within their reply to you. I have a friend who has not seen his son since the early ’90s, when they got into a huge argument that spiraled out of control.
How can we keep this from happening? To explore this topic, let’s take a look at David’s tactics when he went up against Goliath, as well as some key principles regarding conflict from the New Testament.
David vs. Goliath
When David arrived on the scene to bring lunch to his brothers, he caught sight of Goliath, a Philistine giant all decked out in bronze armor and bearing massive weapons. His spear tip alone weighed 16 pounds, and his sword weighed 7 times a normal man’s sword! The Israelite army was terrified. David, however, was indignant for the sake of the Lord, and he was ready to rumble.
At first, King Saul tried to get David to fight with his weapons and in his armor, but David shrugged them off. He chose to go out against Goliath with his trusty shepherd staff, his sling, and five smooth stones pulled from the nearby brook. As he approached the giant, he said, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1 Samuel 17:45). The face off was laughable to the Philistine giant. But the laugh was on him when David knocked him down with one blow from the rock, then chopped off his head with his own sword! David was not relying on his own strength, but the power of the Living God.
How are you arming yourself? Do you read book after book, study talking points or listen to podcasts so that you are ready for a fight? God recommends we take another approach.
- Know your enemy. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12). Satan is at the root of all bitterness, fear and anger. He is the one egging us into a battle that goes too far and destroys relationships. Take a moment. See the person you are arguing against. Remember what that person means to you and to God. They were knit together in the womb and shaped in the image of God, just as you were.
- Know your weapons. David could not use Saul’s weapons and armor. They did not fit him. In the same way, the tactics of this world are not aligned with God’s ways. Ridicule, humiliation, bullying, and coercion simply do not fit us. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). The Apostle Paul argued for the use of grace and love in disagreements. When faced with opposition, he demonstrated the power of reason and logic without engaging in name calling.
- Know your approach. “And the Lord’s servant[a] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26. I think I was born quarrelsome, so this verse hit me hard when I first read it. It took a number of readings to get me to switch tactics. Above all else, we are the Lord’s servants. And He has a different approach. Get rid of resentment. This is not easy to do! Christians have been mocked and misjudged, characterized as narrow-minded bigots just for sticking to the Bible and not agreeing with another person’s point of view. It is hard not to resent this labeling. But God commands us to let that go and instead be kind & gently instruct.
Remember: A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. It is not my job to change someone else’s mind! God can stir repentance in the hearts of all people. He can lead them to the knowledge of truth. He can cause them to come to their senses and rescue them from the devil’s traps. I cannot make those things happen, any more than the shepherd boy could kill a giant. But I can recognize that the non-Christian is not an enemy, but a victim of the enemy.
David said, “The Lord will deliver you into my hand… that all will know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s.” Lay down the worldly weapons that injure the spirit and fail to change anyone’s heart or thinking. Pick up God’s simple weapons and watch Him work.
Christopher Barnes grew up in a dysfunctional progressive agnostic home in the Chicago suburbs of Skokie and Evanston. After the traumatic abandonment of his family by his alcoholic abusive father, Christopher became an atheist before running into his first authentic Christians in high school. Their simple faith and loving testimony of their life opened his eyes to the reality of Jesus Christ and the gospel message. Though he trusted in Christ in the isolation of his bedroom, he never made that decision public due to his pride. As a result of the lack of discipleship, he ended up caught in the Hippie, anti-war culture of college in the late 60s and early 70s. God in His grace pulled His child out of this life of sin and restored him to faith. Christopher became open about his faith, was strongly discipled by five godly men, and was set on a path of living in victory.
Since then, Pastor Christopher has spent his entire life obeying God’s call to raise up a generation of servant-warriors to penetrate this dark world for Christ. That call has taken many forms—working in youth ministry, teaching English and Journalism in the public schools for four years, serving as a pastor in two distinctly different churches, and founding a small family-directed K-8 school. This commitment also led him to his current roles with Veritas Academy of Tucson.
Before coming to Tucson, Christopher & Linda served at the St. Luke Evangelical Free Church in a small town in rural western Missouri. Pastor Christopher has a strong conviction that the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is God’s personal revelation to us and is trustworthy for all of life. After serving St. Luke EFC as from September of 2007 to June of 2016, he moved to Tucson, AZ, to become the Head of School for Veritas Academy of Tucson.
In his first year as Head of School, Christopher was immersed in city zoning and city politics as he led the process of securing the right for a private Christian school to exist on the campus of Book of Life Community Church, the previous home of Palo Verde Christian School. Now he teaches writing and serves as the Family Ministries Director to support the co-teaching parents. He has loved the opportunity to serve the Veritas students and families. It is a privilege to assist them in their efforts to disciple their children in the faith of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.
He previously served as Pastor of Leadership and Equipping at the Evangelical Free Church of Wauconda, Illinois. He served in that church for 26 years, beginning in the role of youth pastor.
While in Wauconda, several families approached a group of home-schooling parents about the need for a Christian education alternative for parents whose situations prevented them from home schooling. Christopher and several other home-schooling dads founded New Hope School as a multi-level one-room school in the basement of the log cabin home of the teacher. As the school grew, others joined their leadership team as they hired new teachers, recruited like-minded families committed to discipling their children. Pastor Christopher served the school for 11 years as school board president and principal pro-tem.
Christopher just celebrated his 48th Anniversary with his wife Linda. Christopher and Linda have two grown daughters, Hope and Abby, both married and living in Tucson. Hope completed seven years of elementary school teaching. Her final year of teaching in North Carolina, she was named teacher of the year for her school. For several years, Abby was a Field Visual Manager for Forever 21 over its two Tucson stores and its stores in El Paso, TX, Albuquerque, NM, and in El Centro and Calexico, CA. Both daughters are blessed to be stay-at-home Moms. Hope has 3 children, Westyn (born July 20, 2011), Ainsleigh (born April 5, 2013), and Thea (born August 20, 2018). Abby also has 3 children, Evelyn (born February 21, 2012), Caleb (born February 23, 2014), and Tayin (April 5, 2018). Christopher & Linda are absolutely thrilled to be grandparents.