2 Corinthians 10:3-6
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, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
These verses have intrigued me ever since discussing them in a women's bible study this past year. We looked at what exactly it means to "take every thought captive" and discussed how difficult this can truly be for each of us. Our minds were stirred when we began to define "taking every thought captive" by "thinking about every thought." This may seem redundant and even confusing, but to me, it makes a lot of sense, especially in conjunction with Philippians 4:8.
So often during the day, thoughts enter my head that are simply NOT TRUE. And every day I have to simply (yeah, right) think about every thought. Since working out and eating right is currently my big struggle, here's some of those untrue thoughts I deal with:
"If I don't eat this piece of cake now, I'll never get to enjoy it" - NOT TRUE, because even if I don't eat it now, it will still be there later...if I decide to eat it then.
"The waitress placed these hushpuppies here, I must eat them" - NOT TRUE, because no one is holding a gun to my head, making me eat them. (Dealt with this just tonight at dinner!!)
"If I go workout I won't have time to wash the dishes!" - NOT TRUE...just an excuse...odds are I'm not going to wash the dishes then, anyway!! Oh, my thoughts are deceiving!!
Ok, so these are corny examples, but the best I can think of right now. You get the picture, though. It is easier said that done to "take every thought captive" and think about "whatever is true." Especially those tiny, apparently unharmful thoughts. But God knew we needed practical passages like these to spur us into a greater relationship with Him.
Our lying thoughts can display themselves in so many ways. What thoughts do you need to continually take captive? For me, its usually thoughts of inadequacy when ministering to young pregnant women at work, thoughts of the food I just HAVE to have, thoughts of laziness when I need to be productive, etc, etc.
When looking at 2 Corinthians 10, we see that Paul is talking about spiritual warfare. I had to stop and think... am I applying this correctly in my life? Well, for me, when I am letting my fleshly desires for food and laziness rule my life, I am less than effective for God's kingdom. When I am struggling with these issues and relying on Christ to help me take every thought captive, I am then relying on His strength to help me overule my fleshly desires...desires that Satan can so easily (unfortunately) use to make me less effective in kingdom work.
One commentary puts it this way - "[Paul] took captive to the obedience of Christ every perception and intention of the heart that was against God. Our actions reveal our thoughts. We should not cling to thoughts that do not conform to the life and teachings of Christ. Paul did not walk according to the flesh or his worldly desires; instead he conquered the flesh. He explains his strategy in 1 Cor. 9:24-27: 'I discipline my body and bring it into subjection.'" (Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary)
One word I am no good at - discipline. Another word I am obviously not so good at - obedience. Thankfully God is so patient with me! Thankfully I am not left to work through my struggles on my own! I want to be honest with you all. As God is working in my life, I hope to encourage you as well. I also feel that it keeps me more accountable to put things in writing.
As God helps me to be more disciplined in these areas of my life, I pray that He will allow me to serve Him in even larger areas...all for His glory!
Apparently my seminary days are still with me...I didn't mean to write you a paper!!
Oh, and even though we went to a seafood restaurant tonight where I would usually eat a "heart attack on a plate" dinner, I chose broiled flounder, side salad, and steamed veggies. Not one hush puppy touched my lips even though Justin made it very clear how unbelievably good they were! I must say, I felt much better than if I would have eaten an entired fried plate of food. One victory at a time :)