Friday, May 24, 2013

Growth Opportunities: Captive Thoughts

There is a set of scriptures in 2 Corinthians that has eluded me for most of my life.  2 Corinthians 10:4-6

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. 

Most of the above scriptures are self explanatory.  We already know our weapons are not carnal, or natural.  They are supernatural mighty weapons that demolish or defeat the strongholds in our lives, casts down arguments and prideful ambitions, and every high thing that is opposed to the knowledge of God.  What has eluded me is the "bringing every thought into captivity."  How do we do that?  It is difficult to throw a lasso around a thought...

The first we can do is determine if our thoughts line up with what the Word of God says about a situation or about us.  Letting a thought that does not line up with the Word of God stay and build in our minds can cause our actions to be motivated out of fear.  We are afraid of what people will think, we are afraid we will fail if we try that "thing," we are afraid about every little thing.  Recognizing the fear is one way we can take our thoughts captive.  We simply use the Word as the weapon it is:

2 Timothy 1:7 - For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Not only do we not have to bow to fear or become crippled with fear, but we can have a sound mind that does not experience confusion or chaos.  We can have power through the Holy Spirit to defeat the spirit of fear and bring that under the obedience of Jesus Christ.  The obedience of Jesus Christ means the spirit must bow down before the name of Jesus Christ and it must leave and cease causing confusion and chaos. 

What we are looking for in this situation is deliverance from the things we have allowed in our lives.  We have allowed the enemy to feed us lies, such as fear, and held the lie to be true.  The Father of Lies (Satan) wants nothing more than for the lies he tells us to cause fear, and ultimately cause us to build idols as a result of the lies.  We build idols simply because we do not trust the provisions of the Lord and what He has given to us.  What idols could we be building?  An idol is anything we place above our relationship with God. 

Fear causes us to become distracted and or human tendency is to look to something or someone else instead of our God and Father for comfort and problem resolution.  Our idols can take the form of pastors, teachers, prayer beads, worry dolls, and counsel from wrong sources.  Fear also manifests itself through worry.  When we worry it is like we are telling God we don't think He is big enough or capable enough to handle our take care of us or provide for us.  It is those kinds of thoughts we must overcome on a daily basis.  Thoughts of inferiority, shame, guilt, worthlessness....even selfishness and pride are all thoughts each of us face daily and must learn to combat those thoughts...captivate those thoughts...bring them under the subjection of the authority of Jesus Christ. 

Hebrews 4:12,13

12 - For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 
13 - And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

As we study the word and seek God's wisdom and knowledge, we become better able to use the Word of God as the powerful sword it is.  It is so powerful, it can discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.  What does that mean?  That means that God knows everything there is to know about us, even what we think...and what is in our hearts behind the thoughts.  We cannot hide, either.  In fact, nothing can hide from Him.  He sees all and knows all.  We can't get away with a less than honorable thought because God knows our thoughts.  He also knows the intent of our hearts when we think that thought and will answer to Him on Judgment Day for every thought we have and every word we speak. 

Sometimes we think if we don't acknowledge the thoughts we have out loud, then it is okay because we didn't actually speak them.  This is not true.  Jesus moved sin from external actions to internal thoughts.  Just thinking lustfully after a man or woman is committing adultery in the heart.  Our thoughts are much more important than we might initially believe they are.  We can't overlook the importance of our thoughts and how they affect our relationships, our heart conditions, and our reflections.  We even need to repent from time to time for thinking some of the thoughts we do. 

We must take our thoughts captive and under the obedience of Christ.  We need to ensure they line up with the Word of God.  If they do not, then we pull our spiritual weapons out and begin to battle the enemy for our minds.  We can control what we think.  We only must make a conscious effort to bring our thoughts into alignment with the word of God.  Don't become captive your thoughts...Take control and take your thoughts captive through the Sword of the Spirit...the Holy Word of God....

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