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. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV)
These strongholds are fortified places. They are, according to the Bible, false arguments and lofty opinions that counter God’s truth. They are areas where we are in bondage that affect our thinking in the worst way. When you begin to believe these false arguments, a terrible thing happens: you develop of new, false way of thinking that captures your mind.
It’s easy to see, then, why the Apostle Paul implores Christians to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
God wants you to think like Christ for every believer has the mind of Christ. He doesn’t want you to allow Satan to set up strongholds in your mind, for the false arguments that become your new way of thinking morphs into nasty habits, and these habits cannot be begin to be broken until you recognize where you’ve believed false arguments, or if you prefer, lies.
Believing false arguments –> new, false thinking –> nasty habits
This is exactly what happened to a counselee I’ll call Patricia. She grew up in a problem-plagued family–a highly critical mother, an alcoholic father who was rarely home and later left. A divorce ensued.
As a very young girl, Patricia figured out that the best way to dodge her mom’s verbal bashing and her dad’s unpredictability was to look for her worth in getting good grades at school and becoming popular. By God’s grace, her mom brought her to church and at a youth retreat in her teens, she said “yes” to Jesus.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Romans 1:16 (NIV)
As a new believer, Patricia continued life as a fear-filled people pleaser who rescued others from their mess-ups and tried to keep everyone happy. When she “succeeded” at pleasing others, she felt happy. When she “failed” and the people in her life were down or stressed or angry, she felt down. And she was confused. Very confused.
The good news that makes all the difference: God empowered her to change. He empowers you to change too.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 (ESV)
By relying on Christ’s strength, Patricia could smash the stronghold in her mind and have victory.
The other day she emailed me and said she was experiencing peace because she had learned in counseling two things so far:
- To see herself as God sees her — accepted, blessed, forgiven, chosen, his precious child.
- To accept the truth she she’s completely loved now and must not try to earn God’s favor because she has it now.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)
Understanding Satan’s Tactics
Patricia’s mind was under attack. She believed Satan’s lies. Every one of us believes at least a few lies, isn’t this the truth? Can you think of one or two you’ve believed?
Two common ones among women are “I’m ugly” and “I’m not enough.”
1) stop all people from believing in Jesus Christ, and if that doesn’t work,
2) stop Christians from growing spiritually in Christ, and
3) stop them from enjoying the abundant life described in John 10:10.
This Is War!
Even worse than ISIS terrorism, this spiritual war is raging around you now, and Satan wants to set up strongholds in your mind to keep you from embracing God’s liberating truth. Rather, the Liar wants you to believe his lies and paralyze you.
The beautiful news: In Christ you have victory!
Satan has tried to one up God Almighty. Though he’s a defeated foe, he wants to steal your joy, kill your peace, and destroy your witness. Have you experienced lost peace? Do you want to know how to smash strongholds?
God has a plan, as you know, and it’s for your good. His plan is redemption.
This is a great article. Very encouraging and instructive. I do have one concern. The interpretation of 2 Cor 10:5 “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” Your statement, “It’s easy to see, then, why the Apostle Paul implores Christians to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.”” Doesn’t seem to really be supported from Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians. Paul is talking about preaching the Gospel and how the Gospel takes every thought, every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and makes it obedient to Christ. This is the work of God, through Paul, by the power of the Gospel. To say that Paul is teaching us us to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ is a misapplication of this verse. Now, please don’t get me wrong. I believe the Scripture teaches us the importance of our minds and our thoughts (Prov 23:7; Col 3:2, etc) but I don’t think that’s what Paul is teaching in 2 Cor 10:5.
Your article is great though. thank you for your work!!!
Thanks for your input. Yes, 2 Cor 10:5 speaks to the Gospel and how it makes every thought obedient to Christ. The author applied it to individual Christians. Again, thank you!