Taking Every Thought Captive

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.

2 Corinthians 10:3 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

We live in a time of great technology, reason, and medical advances. Our modern lives are overflowing with information and ideas. Yet many of us are caught up with the overload of life that we become isolated, physically and mentally. It can happen to anyone, and given what we see in the media, it is rampant.
In this age of advancement and reason, even we Christians may mildly scoff at what Scripture says. That verse above gives a glimpse of a truth of which we need a constant reminder. We walk in the flesh, but what wars against us is not flesh. Its principalities and powers are in heavenly places.
Many resorts to the technology and the modern tools available to alleviate fear, pain, and suffering. I am not advocating against this at all, but to be aware of the real problem that may linger untreated.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is complete.

2 Corinthians 10:4–6 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

We war spiritually.
Sometimes the results of our own behavior bring this fear, pain, and suffering to us. It can then manifest in the flesh as a disease of one sort or another. Sometimes this disease may have other spiritual causes.
We can use the tools of the world that are available to us. But if some of the cause of our fear, pain, and suffering is spiritual in nature, these tools may not be enough.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.

When we become isolated, we are in a prone position. We see that demonstrated in the wild, those isolated from the herd become easy prey.
One of our first needs is a like-minded close community. We Christians are sheep. We need a herd for protection and fellowship.
We can easily stray off our own accord. That is why we need this herd of like-minded brothers and sisters around us. We must be careful to not stray or become isolated. This is where we encourage and pray for others and are encouraged and prayed for by them.
There’s strength in numbers.

But mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.

Look, I give you authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

Luke 10:19–20 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

I love that we have that authority given to us by Jesus. This is the true power that we have in Him. Nothing can take away our salvation. That is where the real power is, there is no more shame or fear.
Our names are written in heaven. That is the one thing those serpents and scorpions (principalities and powers) don’t have. Every time we declare the name of Jesus Christ, those powers are reminded of their own eternal perdition. That is why the demons Jesus encountered in the Gadarene begged not to be put in the pit (Luke 8:31.)

Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God

Jesus made the shame of the principalities and powers public!

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has resurrected together with Him, having forgiven you all sins. He blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us and contrary to us, and He took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed authorities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them by the cross.

Colossians 2:13–15 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

When we live our lives in this way, we boldly proclaim the power of Jesus. Since He alone has removed the guilt and shame of our sin, it no longer has any power over us. Those powers and authorities are really disarmed.
Of course, any of us can always place your own selves back in subjection to them by sin. Remember what Paul said? You are slaves to who you present yourselves to obey (Romans 6:16.)
Don’t place yourselves under their authority. There is no need to do that.

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:13–14 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

If you have. Renounce it now, out loud. Confess it to Jesus, and it is removed (1 John 1:9.) The power in the fear of retribution, guilt, and shame is removed immediately upon confessing sin to Jesus (In addition, it even helps to confess it to trusted others, as the shame is removed.)

Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

The battle against isolation is not so much physical. It is a struggle in our minds. Our minds are our spiritual center. It is where we reason things. It is also where the enemy begins the attack. And there, we are bombarded with messages all the time. Some are good. Some are bad.
As Christians, we know the enemy uses a distance weapon, fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16.) Those fiery darts are these messages that come to us from the enemy. If we’re not careful to discern the difference in the messages… That is to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ… We may end up embracing the bad ones that give the enemy an entrance.
Jesus teaches us to judge righteously. We need to do that in our own minds, toward the messages we embrace, too. How do we do that?
Since Jesus is the focus of all of this, and everything that we have that is good is from Him… Let’s test those messages in His name. Consider these messages:

  • Nobody likes me.
  • I’m ugly.
  • I’m a good person.
  • Nobody would miss me if I were gone.
  • I’m not loved at all.
  • I’m loved.

These are just some examples. The messages we receive come in all different varieties. Some of us are sometimes bothered by these. There may be even some who have embraced these and they think this is who they are.
It’s not true!
That shield of faith can quench those fiery darts before they even get to you.
There are some who’ve heard these messages for a long time. They may have even embraced them to the point they think that is who they are.
If that is you… Renounce all of them in Jesus’ name… out loud. Then we can begin to take these messages captive.
As those messages come to you about you, add the words ‘in Jesus’ name’ to the end of them. Those that don’t make sense or are not true are from the enemy and can be readily ignored.
I’m ugly in Jesus’ name. That doesn’t make sense. For messages like that… Throw ’em out! You have that authority.
I’m a good person in Jesus’ name. That is true only in His name. I can embrace that message, and think rightly of myself.
When we think rightly of ourselves, we can learn to easily avoid the traps of the enemy. We can also then help others in our herd as we’ve gained wisdom.
All of this has a promised end for us believers.

And being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is complete.

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more the things that pertain to this life?

1 Corinthians 6:2–3 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

Get that! There will come a time when we Christians get to judge the very principalities and powers that bother us now.
When the attacks come. You can know how to identify them… And avoid them. Understand the end destined for the sources of those messages. They’ve been shamed by Jesus at the cross, where the handwriting of ordinances against us has been nailed to the cross.
It’s all in knowing your identity in Jesus.

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