And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
I needed the loo! Despite an exhausting week working in Washington, D.C., sleep eluded me on my transatlantic flight back to Heathrow. Not so for my fellow passenger whose slumbering form blocked my exit to the aisle. His eye mask firmly in place, ear plugs inserted, and a few glasses of alcohol earlier in the flight all meant he was deaf and blind to my increasingly urgent ‘Excuse me, please’. Eventually I prodded him awake.
Have you ever wondered why friends and colleagues sometimes seem deaf to the claims of Jesus and blind to the truth of the gospel, however well presented? Paul tells us that the enemy has veiled their eyes as effectively as if they were my fellow passenger. How has he done this? He has established ‘strongholds’ in their minds based on ‘arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God’ (2 Corinthians 10:5). As Paul Barnett comments, in The Message of 2 Corinthians (IVP), ‘we do well to follow Paul in his realistic estimate of the entrenched power of unbelief and pride in the human mind’.
‘Arguments’ represent a person’s philosophy of life, their views and mindset. When someone hears the gospel, it is filtered through these existing belief systems. ‘Pretensions’, translated in the New American Standard Bible as ‘every lofty thing’, implies self-promotion, pride, or an attitude that wants to remain independent of God and ‘in charge’ of one’s own life.
As Paul says, ‘the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world’, but have ‘divine power to demolish strongholds’ (2 Corinthians 10:4). And in many of his letters, he points to the powerful weapon we have been given in prayer. Let’s use it, and be specific as we do so. Ask God to reveal the mindsets, pretensions and thought barriers that exist in the people for whom you are praying. Ask the Holy Spirit to prod them awake, as effectively as I did my fellow passenger, so that they can respond to the invitation of Jesus.
Join us (on our Pray4Life pathway) as we pray for the removal of the blindfold and earplugs from our colleagues and friends.