“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments 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 fulfilled.” 2 Cor 10:3-6 (NKJV)
If you are like me, you would have quoted and prayed this passage many times. Problem is, I have been misquoting and misapplying this passage, either making it mean what it does not mean or merely taking it in part and hoping to partake of the promises in full. In my devotional time one day, I read this passage again and the following thoughts were impressed upon my heart …
1. Besieged, Contained and Restrained
When I move and war in the flesh, I am held captive by strongholds and arguments. I am limited by my mindsets, my fears, and by what I see in the natural. I am contained and restrained. That’s exactly where the enemy wants me to be. I am besieged! I may have every covenant promise but they are totally useless to me! I am stuck where I am!
People who are besieged don’t last very long. Desperation sets in and people begin to fight one another, and to eat one another. We begin to eat ourselves from within. Instead of looking to God, we look at the situation. We can’t see God because we are blocked by “every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.” Suddenly, everything we knew about God seems so far away.
I am trapped, but my thoughts run wild and free. It’s full of imagination of what could go wrong, of what if’s, and if only’s.
2. Freed by Captivity
But I have spiritual weapons that are mighty in God, able to free me from the flesh so that I can walk again in the Spirit. God has given me the weapons to remove the spiritual obstacles that limit me, and the blinkers that blind me from the promises of God and the victory I have in Jesus Christ.
For this, I have to move my focus from the flesh back to the Spirit again. In the Spirit, that’s where the liberty is (2 Cor 3:17). But this liberty is not for me to think what I want or do what I want. Interestingly, it is when my thoughts are held captive and obedient to Christ that I am freed from the oppression that keeps me pinned down.
3. Victory through Obedience
However, thoughts are not to remain merely as good intentions. If so, we only think we know, think we are ok, think we are spiritual. That would be totally self defeating and deceptive! Without doubt, thoughts held captive are thoughts submitted to the leading of the Spirit; and these must work itself out through obedience. It is only when this obedience to Christ is fulfilled that disobedience is punished and victory is experienced!
Thank God for this perspective which I have never seen before. I have always been taught to just pull down strongholds and expect victory! No one ever told me that obedience is what secures the victory for me, the victory already won for all of us by Jesus upon that Cross!
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