2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV 1984) "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
The basis for the eating disorder I had in high school and college was an incorrect thinking pattern based on a believed lie. Do you really think they will like you for who you are? You're not pretty enough. Nobody would want you. If you lost a few pounds it would boost your self-esteem. If you were 'this size' you would be noticed by others. These were some of the strongholds I allowed to take hold of my mind. The result catapulted me into a seven year struggle with anorexia and bulimia.
A stronghold is a deception that has a 'strong-hold' on a person's mind. It is an incorrect thinking pattern based on a believed lie. If we don't take our thoughts captive, they will take us captive. This progression can lead to destructive obsessions, habits and ultimately bondage. We need something powerful and mighty to tear down strongholds. Before you assume you don't possess these powerful grips, think again.
Strongholds have the propensity to lead us into spiritual danger. My example of an eating disorder may not resound with you. But, maybe you've had the same reasoning and instead succumb to constant defeat and insecurity. Or, maybe you doubt your spiritual gifts due to constant negativity from others echoing in your mind. You see, what we allow to train our mind about ourselves, God and our relationship with Him reverberates into how we live, think and relate with others.
There is hope for the speculations that seek to crush our head. It is crucial that we train our mental activity to match up with truth. We must continually test every thought according to Christ. The passage found in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 teaches us how to shield our mind and defeat the lies of Satan. Any viewpoint or idea that is contrary to God, His Word, or our position in Christ must be demolished.
The first way to protect our mind is to evaluate our thoughts as they come. Taking our thoughts captive means we must ask ourselves, Is this thought in accordance with God, His Word, and His character? Or, is this thought in accordance with the enemy, his lies, and his character? We need to start thinking about what we're thinking about.
The glue holding our ability to take thoughts captive is this: It is impossible to recognize a lie if we do not know the truth! Our enemy's objective is to destroy our mind; to cause doubt, discouragement, to confuse, intimidate, etc. When that irrational voice enters our mind we must be equipped to distinguish deceptions and declare what is right. It is imperative that we can verify the voice of Truth over the voice of trickery.
When we evaluate a thought, if we answer "yes," it is in accordance with God and His Word, then we store the thought and apply it to our life. When we assess a thought, if we answer "no," it is not in accordance with God and His Word, we must reject and disregard the thought; don't dwell on it; don't entertain it. Call the devil's bluff! He's a liar!
The second way to protect our mind, as we take inventory of our thoughts, is to recognize the lies and replace them with truth. Soon we will realize our thoughts have become arsenals full of weapons of truth. There is a promise from the Word for every lie Satan would use to destroy us. How about these:
Lie: "You are not good enough and you're not pretty enough. Who do you think you are anyway?"
Truth: "I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I was knit together in my mother's womb. I am God's masterpiece. I was bought with the blood of Christ and I am a child of the most High God!" (Psalm 139)
Lie: "You are such a loser. You will always have issues with food, your weight, with money, insecurity, self-discipline, materialism, etc."
Truth: "No, in all things I am more than a conqueror through Him who loved me and greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world." (Romans 8:37 and 1 John 4:4)
Lie: "I can't control my emotions. I can't help how I react when my hormones are out of sorts."
Truth: "I don't have to be controlled by my emotions. I can be controlled by the Spirit of God not my sinful nature. There is no excuse for a poor attitude and ungodly behavior. I can choose to obey God regardless of how I feel." (Romans 8:9)
Lie: "You have no value or purpose."
Truth: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." (Isaiah 61:4)
An article by Warren Meyers says, "As we get a grip on God's Word, its Truths get a grip on us!"
Friends, we have a biblical answer for taking our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. Our reinforcement comes from the Word of God to defeat the delusions of the enemy. However, if we don't believe in the power of God's Word to deliver us, we're doomed. Let's get control of our thoughts before they get a hold on us.
Think about what thoughts you think about. This may sound redundant, but many times we don't even realize the trash we allow to be in our minds, whether they come through a bad movie, romantic song or a rash comment from a friend.
Ask for the Lord's strength to help you evaluate your thoughts as they come. Do they line up with God, His Word and His character?
What thoughts are you presently struggling with? How are you taking control of your thoughts instead of them taking control of you?
What strongholds in your mind need tearing down? Be specific. What lies/truth statements above do you identify with? What other ones can you add?
How do you recognize the voice of Truth over the voice of trickery?
Heart Transforming Word:
Proverbs 23:7 "For as a man thinks within himself, so he is . . ."
John 8:32 "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Philippians 4:8 "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."
Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen. Edited 2013. All rights reserved.