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.
Hester, I needed to read this today. I need to take more of my thoughts captive. When you spoke of hearing negativity constantly, that really struck a strong cord with me. My grandparents don't support my writing or ministry to women in the area of speaking that I hope I can pursue. So yes, I'm constantly hearing those negative words which turn into thoughts in my head. Thanks for your transparency. Love you, friend!ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing so openly with me today. I appreciate your ministry to women and I pray for your mind to be uplifted and encouraged. Replace those negative thoughts with God's truth. ;)
Much love, Hester ;)
Hester, thank you for being real and sharing your struggle. And even more so for the tremendous encouragement to break down those strongholds!ReplyDelete
I'm about to begin teaching Beth Moore's study "Living Free" next week. The first weeks lessons are on Demolishing Strongholds. How timely. I'll be carrying many of your thoughts into the session with me.
Thank you for sharing your heart and His Word! Sweet blessings, my friend! I'm praying for you!
Thank you for your comment. I've never done that Beth Moore study, but I've heard great things about it from a friend. I'm sure you will be blessed as you minister to those you teach.
Thank you for your kind words. ;)
Love, Hester ;)
I once heard a quote that said something like, "Thoughts are like birds; they may fly overhead, but we don't have to let them build a nest." The first step, as you've rightly pointed out, is to recognize there are birds overhead... and we need to be wise about what we let take up residence in our minds. Thanks!ReplyDelete
That is a great quote (and a funny visual :))! True indeed. ;) Thank you for sharing with me today. God bless you,
Love, Hester ;)
Wow, Hester. I didn't realize you struggled with an eating disorder. Isn't it interesting the different struggles we have, but how similar their effects? Love the quote about God's truth gripping us as we grip His Word. So true!ReplyDelete
Hope you have a great weekend!
Thank you for your comment. I know, it is interesting the different struggles we have and the similar effects. So thankful for God's truth.
I hope you have a great weekend too.
Love, Hester ;)
Great post! Very timely as we start the new year. often times its easy to just accept the lies of the enemy becasue it takes work to battle spiritually. I agree, we can start with intentionally thinking about what we are thinking. How often do we set ourselves up for failure because we don't think. Jesus specifically showed us how to battle spiritually (and it wasn't being a good girl or thinking nice thoughts)He verbally used the Word of God. Love the pos Hes- you can never talk about this enough.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for sharing with me tonight. I appreciate your comment. You're so right that it takes work to battle spiritually and sometimes we just give in to the lies. ;( We should, like you said, heed Christ's example and use the Word for our defense! Amen!
Much Love to you, Hester ;)
"Think again".... loved that line! With a little self-awareness and knowing God more, we can get on a completely new path. I hope you had a great weekend Hester! ~ Love from Maine, AmyReplyDelete
Thank you for your comment today. ;) You're right, self-awareness and know God more are a good combination. :)
Love, Hester ;)