IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: DESTROYING FALSE IMAGINATIONS, TAKING PRISONERS
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…”
2nd Corinthians 10:5
Great King of Grace, our hearts subdue, May we be led in triumph, too, As willing captives to our Lord, To sing the victories of His Word.” There are three things in the text worthy of our observation. The first is fortresses demolished, “casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.” Secondly,prisoners seized, “bringing into captivity every thought.” and thirdly, prisoners led away captive—for such is the force of the Greek, “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”—as if the captured ones were taken away and put under new service to the anointed Prince.
When the Holy Spirit comes with the Word of reconciliation, the sinner catches at the idea of Atonement by a Substitute. He is charmed by the Truth of God, “I am lost in myself, but saved in Christ. I am in myselfjudged and condemned for sin, but in Christ I see my sin laid on Another and put away.” He catches at that Truth, so simple, so sublime and as he believes it, he begins to know Him whom to know is eternal life!
The Spirit of God, as He shines with Divine Light into the soul, soon sweeps away the Egyptian darkness of despair and in the Light of God the man sees light! You see what my drift is? It is just this, that there are certain walls of reasoning, reckoning, thinking—our version calls them “imaginations”—which are to be cast down and the Gospel does this when used by the Holy Spirit! Nor is this all, for with the walls, the battlements fall. Man, having devised the
fortress of reasoning, erects towers of pride on them which the Apostle calls, “high things,” of which he says that the power of God casts down “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.”
These lofty castles are such as the following—”I have a noble nature within me. My instincts are towards right. I have not done much amiss. I am as good as my neighbor. I can overcome any temptation. I am persuaded that I can fight my own way into eternal happiness,” and all such vain ideas. Let but the Gospel come with power and all these citadels are laid low! Away they go, like Jericho’s old bulwarks, rocking and reeling till, in a cloud of dust, they thunder to their fall!
Why is it so hard to just find some peace of mind?
Well, peace is hard to come by when you live in a warzone. And like it or not you are in a war—a very serious one. This war is cosmic in its proportions. It involves God, humans, angels, demons, principalities, powers, nations, and antichrists.
And do you know where the front of the battle is? It’s in your head.
Here is how Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 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.
Where is the battle raging? Where your thoughts are. What are the strongholds that spiritually imprison people? Arguments and opinions.
And arguments are not merely strongholds, they are weapons of mass destruction. Adam and Eve (and all of us with them) fell because of an argument. They believed the serpent’s argument and stopped believing God.
That is the deadly essence of sin: not believing God. To not believe God is to ally with Satan, whom Jesus said is “a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth… for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
You don’t want Satan as an ally. He’s treacherous. He’s out to murder you with lies.
Watch your emotions. They are signals of arguments. Your emotions, which can land on you like vague impressions or moods, are usually responses to an argument. Moods don’t come out of nowhere. When we are angry, discouraged, depressed, anxious, self-pitying, fearful, or irritable, it is likely because we are believing something very specific.
To battle sin is to battle unbelief—or destroy arguments. And in order to battle unbelief effectively, we must press doubts and temptations into specific arguments. What specifically is being asserted or promised to us? Only then can we destroy the enemy’s false arguments with true ones.
The devil does not want us to think clearly about sin. He wants to keep things vague so he can imprison or disarm us. But Jesus wants us to think clearly. He wants us to know the truth because the truth brings freedom:
If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. (John 8:31-32)
The Gospel comes with power to the heart of a man and he begins to fear the wrath of God and the judgment to come. Look how he trembles! Christ has captured his thoughts of self-security. He no more says, “Though I add drunkenness to thirst, it shall surely be well with me.” On the contrary, he cries, “I am guilty! I have broken God’s Law and I am condemned.” The Lord has captured his thoughts of self-righteousness. This is the man who yesterday boasted in himself that he was righteous! The pure and holy Law of God has come near his conscience and he feels guilty and, therefore, cries for mercy!
Now he begins to pray, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” And it is clear that his thoughts of independence; his ideas that he could do without God are made prisoners! His thoughts of pleasure in alienation from the Great Father are now slain, for he desires to draw near to the Most High. Look! A little hope begins to dawn! He hopes that there may be salvation for him. His thoughts of rebellious despair are led captive in fetters of iron. Praise the Lord! Watch him further. The Spirit of God encourages him and he comes to believe in Jesus—his self-trust is a prisoner. That Jesus died for sinners is a Truth of God which now he accepts and he casts himself upon it—his proud intellect is a captive and he gladly bows at the Redeemer’s feet!
Listen to him as he sings, “I am forgiven! God assures me of it! I am justified because I have believed in Jesus! Oh, how I love His precious name.” His inmost heart is captured—all the thoughts of his love are now subdued and the Savior whom he once despised, he now adores! Look how, with gratitude, he brings his alabaster box to break it and pour the sweet perfume on the Savior’s feet! Jesus has won his heart! And Jesus holds it in a willing captivity and, therefore, the man consecrates himself to Christ—to live and to die for Him!
So as freedom fighters let’s fight against “unbelieving hearts” by exhorting one another every day (Hebrews 3:12-13) to live in the freedom—and peace (John 16:33)—of the truth.
Because our most important battles are won and lost with arguments.
You have the ability to exercise control over your thoughts. God warned Cain to focus his mind on the right things, but Cain chose to think about the wrong things – anger and jealousy – which led to his murderous actions. Are you willing to admit that you can, with God’s help, regain control of your thoughts – and think enabling thoughts instead of disabling ones?
When you experience difficult challenges, you can react to them and think yourself into despair every time. Or you can look forward to the next opportunity and ask yourself what you learned from this failure. Is your first thought I’ll never do anything right? You don’t have to get trapped by disabling thoughts. You are capable of getting out of your shame, despair, hopelessness, and anger – by taking control of your thoughts.
Take your disabling thoughts captive through confession. Paul urges us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (Rom. 12:21). Confront your disabling thoughts. Turn them over to God and become who He sees you can be. It will take work to take your thoughts captive each time they pop into your mind. But it is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Choose to focus your thoughts on the right things. We are to think about those things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable” (Phil. 4:8). When we think about those things, God promises to give us His peace. What a contrast that is to the thoughts of millions of people today. Don’t look to a movie, TV show, or how-to formula to accomplish this for you. It takes personal discipline and commitment.
It is possible. It is not easy to retrain your thoughts or to respond in new Christ-like ways. Take heart: as God empowers you to focus your mind on the right things, it will become easier. You can develop a new frame of reference, based on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
It is possible to live a life aware of our thoughts and taking them captive! God gave us the Holy Spirit to empower us. Start following these steps today to gain power over your mind and thoughts.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (King James Version)
We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.
Great Captain of Salvation, You can achieve the victory! We have compassed this Jericho these many days, but still the walls have not fallen! Up, You mighty man of war, for You are such, and come to the battle and then the battlements of sin will fall. “The Lord is a man of war: Jehovah is His name.” Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake as in the ancient days, in the generations of old! Are You not He that has cut Rahab and wounded the dragon? Because of truth and righteousness, ride forth in Your majesty! For peace on earth and glory to God in the highest, come forth in the glory of Your might with the everlasting Gospel, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
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