This Week's Verse: 2 Corinthians 10:5, "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."(NIV)
I had an evil thought recently. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I did. In a moment of extreme frustration with someone who often raises the hackles of those nearby, I found myself envisioning a certain someone whizzing down the interstate in a car and out of nowhere, along comes this huge, monstrous semi truck and...well, I'll spare you the gory details!
I was jolted back into reality by the horror of what I'd just imagined! Would I really want this person dead?! Heavens, no. But for just a brief little moment I found escape from a situation in this warped fantasy.
And fantasies are harmless, right? Not so. James 1:15 explains how our thoughts or desires lead to sin, which eventually lead to death. Wow.
So what's the remedy? How do we gain control over our thought life?
The answer is in this week's verse. We take those impure thoughts captive under the authority of Christ.
The first time I was directed to do that very thing I had trouble with the method. Take a thought captive? I smirked. And how exactly do I that? Hog tie it and lock it up? (Uh-huh. You see now why I desperately need help harnessing my nasty little attitude.)
But that's actually not so very far from the truth. Matthew 18:18 says, "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."(NIV)
Sooo..let me wrap my mind around that. If I do hog-tie and lock up a bad thought under the authority of the Name of Jesus Christ, then I'll have all the power of heaven joining me in capturing it? And if it's bound, how much easier is it to conquer?
That's just powerful enough to work! Even for me!
Let's not stop there, though. We need to flood our mind with good thoughts, Christ-like thoughts, to crowd out room for any more bad ones to pop up. Phillipians 4:8 prompts us to fix our "thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise"(NLT).
Is a blood-spattered highway lovely? Uhh...no. I need to replace that thought with a thought that Christ himself might have. I can't really picture the victim in my fantasy "Dancing With My Father God" in fields of grace or daisies, but I can picture me praying more for this person. I can begin to see this person through the eyes of the Creator. And I can turn my thoughts to the truth and praise God that He's opened my heart to it.
The least I can do is get my lasso ready to go!
Jesus, you know how hard it is for us to keep our thought-lives pure. Thank you for your promise to help us take thoughts captive under your authority and for binding them up with all the power in heaven. We ask that you also loose from heaven the types of thoughts that are pleasing and glorifying to you so that we can loose your will here on earth.
Application: Impure thoughts can range from heinous crimes to little snide comments you've thought but not said out loud. What are three thoughts you've had lately that you'd be ashamed of if people knew? Get out that rope and take them captive right now in Jesus' Name. Replace them with thoughts that are praiseworthy.
2 Cor. 10:5-6, "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. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity."(MSG)
Titus 1:15, 16, "Everything is clean to the clean-minded; nothing is clean to dirty-minded unbelievers. They leave their dirty fingerprints on every thought and act. They say they know God, but their actions speak louder than their words." (MSG)