“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” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).
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Over the past few days, we have been looking at steps to taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Let’s review:
Step One: Recognize the Enemy’s True Identity Step Two: Recognize Satan’s Lies Step Three: Reject the Lies And today we are looking at step four: Replacing the lies with the Truth
Before we come to Christ, we learn ways to get our basic needs of significance, safety and security, and belonging met on our own terms. We are programmed by the world, the flesh, and the devil to live independent of God. When we become a Christian, that software is still on our hard drive. Satan has read the files and he tries his best to keep those corrupt files intact. It takes time to reprogram our minds with the truth of God, but He is our technician. He is very patient and will walk us through the process step-by-step to guide us into all truth (John 16:13). Our part is to choose to press the keys: recognize the corrupt programs, delete the corrupt programs, and install the incorruptible truth. We renew our minds by constantly choosing to believe the truth.
Just as Satan tries to deceive you and me, he tried to deceive God’s Son with lies and cause Him to forfeit His inheritance and abandon His mission. Jesus was never programmed with lies as we were, but Satan did tempt him with lies.
After Jesus had been fasting for forty days in the desert, Satan came to Him with three temptations. Just like he tempted Eve, he tempted Jesus in the three key areas of His life: his body, soul, and spirit. How did Jesus fight the enemy? He fought him with Scripture – He conquered him with the truth. Each time Satan put an evil thought before Him, Jesus said, “It is written….”
It is not a sin to be tempted. The Bible says that Jesus was tempted and yet did not sin. It becomes a sin when we act on the thought, accept it as truth, linger over it, or replay it repeatedly. As Martin Luther once said, “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hat.”
Let me give you this example. I believe that Satan sends us e-mails all day long (evil-mails). When we get a seductive e-mail on the screen of our computer, is it our fault? If we get an unsolicited e-mail that reads, “click here for a hot time tonight” is that our doing? Not unless you’ve placed yourself on some bad e-mail lists. When does that e-mail become a sin? The moment we click on it and accept the invitation. Likewise, when the enemy tempts us to believe a lie, the temptation is not sin. It becomes sin when we accept the thought as our own and act on it. Our responsibility is to delete the lie and replace it with the truth. When it comes to defeating Satan, Dr. Neil Anderson said it well: “You don’t have to out shout him or outmuscle him to be free of his influence. You just have to out truth him.”
Below are some common lies of the enemy and the truth that “demolishes” them. I have listed each lie in the first person, “I,” because that is how the enemy puts them into our thoughts.
Satan’s Lie Nobody loves me.
God’s Truth For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son. (John 3:16)
Satan’s Lie I’m not able to do this job. I don’t have the right gifts.
God’s Truth Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant. (2 Corinthians 3:5)
Satan’s Lie God couldn’t love me.
God’s Truth How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! (I John 3:1)
Satan’s Lie I’m so worried about this.
God’s Truth Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6)
Satan’s Lie I’m a loser.
God’s Truth I have been blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)
Satan’s Lie I can’t help myself.
God’s Truth Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
In order to win the battle for our minds, we must refuse the lie and replace it with the truth. After all, which is true?
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He is truth. The more we think on truth, the more our minds will be conformed to the image of Christ, and the quicker we will recognize the lies and replace them with truth.
Girlfriend, I am proud of you for sticking with me these five days. The Bible says, “Wisdom brightens a face and changes its hard appearance” (Ecclesiastes 8:1 NIV). I would say you are absolutely glowing. Stunning.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that You will never call us to do something that You will not empower us to do. You tell us to take every thought captive, so with the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we can. Thank You for making us into new creations – holy, chosen, and dearly loved.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
It seems the key to this entire process of taking every thought captive is knowing and applying the truth! So let’s commit 2 Corinthians 10:5 to memory. In this series, I quoted from several different translations. Chose the translation that is most comfortable for you and write this verse on a card. Put it on your dashboard, by your kitchen sink, or on your bathroom mirror.
See if you can name the four steps to taking every thought captive without looking.
Had to look? That’s OK. You might want to write them on the back of the index card on which you wrote 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Whew! It takes a lot of thinking to think about our thinking. Now that was confusing! If getting a grip on your thoughts and emotions is something that you would like to read more about, see Sharon’s book You’ll learn how to apply God’s transforming power to your life, and you’ll find a handy reference guide of 75 common lies women believe and the truths with which to replace them.