A penny for your thoughts
Where is your mind leading you? Most biblical teachers and preachers will agree that the battle for our faith begins with the mind. It is here that Satan, the world, and our flesh continually attempt to exercise their influence and control.
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, the Apostle Paul advises believers in Corinth to bring into obedience and compliance every thought that is not in agreement with God’s plan and purpose for their life.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 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,
The J.B. Phillips New Testament paraphrase says it this way:
The truth is that, although of course we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level. The very weapons we use are not those of human warfare but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of the enemy’s strongholds. Our battle is to bring down every deceptive fantasy and every imposing defence that men erect against the true knowledge of God. We even fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ.
Why is Paul’s teaching relevant today?
As we live in this 21st century, postmodern world, our Christian faith is being challenged daily. In its place are worldviews that discount or exclude the truth of the gospel.
This is especially true in “these days” when we’re living with uncertainty in every area of our life. Is there a better option for those who are desperately seeking answers for living in these tumultuous times? People are seeking security and hope for the issues they face. That can only be found in Jesus (John 14:6).
Believe it or not, we are a “modern day Paul”, who need to be bold in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. “We are not merely human agents but God-appointed ministers.”
What’s capturing our thoughts?
Satan invades our thoughts by planting seeds of doubt which left unchallenged or unchecked, will lead to disbelief and ultimately, disobedience. Remember Eve? “Did God really say that you couldn’t eat that apple?” What began as doubt soon became disbelief. The result was disobedience, shame, and regret. Sound familiar?
The world pervades our thoughts by convincing us to conform to its lifestyles and beliefs. Paul warned the church at Rome not to be conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12:2). The world’s beliefs are characterized by the lust of the eyes— “I want what I see”; the lust of the flesh— “I live how I feel”; and the pride of life—“I value only what’s important to me” (1 John 2:16). The result is vanity and emptiness.
Our flesh persuades us by appealing to our physical and emotional desires. Our flesh tempts us with words of deception— “If it feels good, do it.” “You only go this way once, live life to the fullest.” “You deserve whatever you want.” Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate” (Genesis 3:6). Her flesh deceived her. The result was the introduction of spiritual and physical death, expulsion from Paradise, and alienation from God.
Recapturing our thoughts
Bringing every thought captive to the obedience of God requires that we:
- Accept our identity in Christ. We are no longer obligated to follow the dictates of Satan, the world, and our flesh. We have been set free by the blood of Christ and are no longer slaves to unrighteousness (Romans 6:12-14).
- Believe the truth of God. It is the truth of God that exposes the darkness of sin and its influence in our lives. It is knowledge of this truth, in Him, that keeps Satan, the world, and our flesh at bay. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).
- Commit to the lordship of Christ. Our obedience is not based on fear of punishment when we sin. Our obedience is our gift to the Lord. We give it in gratitude for His gift of eternal life to us (John 3:16). We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Let us daily use the powerful weapons God has provided for us to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. These weapons are not human but mighty in God. God’s weapons are dunatos (doo-nat-os). They are both powerful and capable.