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What the Bible says about Bringing Thoughts into Captivity
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 5:48

Perfection, as used in Scripture regarding everyday life, means maturity and completeness. We can certainly attain an increasing level of spiritual maturity, yet we cannot truly complete the process until changed into God—until our human nature has been totally changed. Only then can we reach the stated goals of being perfect "as our Father in heaven," having "the mind of Christ," bringing "every thought into captivity," and never uttering a wrong word.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: Going On to Perfection

Matthew 16:24-25

Jesus tells us to deny ourselves.This means we must disown and renounce ourselves and subjugate everything—all our works, interests, and enjoyments—to the standards set by God. Paul commands us to bring under our control every thought that opposes God and His way (II Corinthians 10:5).

Jesus also instructs us to bear our cross. We need to embrace the situations God has set us in, and with faith in Him to bring us through them, bear the troubles and difficulties that come upon us. Just as Jesus accepted His role, even to "the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8), we need to be content with what God gives us to do (Philippians 4:11). As Paul says in I Timothy 6:6, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." What an achievement it is not to be driven by evil hungers!

God has called us to lay down our lives in subjection to Him. The supreme object of our lives is not our personal happiness or fulfilling our every desire. Our goal is God's kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), but notice what Jesus says next: "And all these things shall be added to you." If we yield ourselves to God's instruction and grow and overcome, He will fulfill our legitimate desires!

Matthew 16:25 shows us the two sides of this issue. Jesus says that if we insist on preserving our way of life, with all its wrong hungers and desires, we will lose it eternally!But if we take control of our mind and emotions and destroy our way of life—ridding ourselves of all the wrong hungers and desires that are against God—then God will save it eternally! The better option is obvious.

Satan has filled this world with hungers of every sort to tempt men, including the people of God. Hungers of lust, power, money, and fame seem inviting after the monotony of day-to-day living, but Satan's way is a trap, though an enticing one. It always looks good on the outside, but inside is sin, destruction, and ultimately death, eternal death.

God allows us to make decisions. He allows us to learn from the decisions we make—both right and wrong. The right decision to make about the wonderful calling and opportunity He has given to us is to yield ourselves under the mighty hand of God in faith that He will work in us. His work is always wonderful and good. Once we yield, we can set our mind to overcome, hungering and thirsting for righteousness. And God will satisfy us!

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Do You Have 'the Hunger'?

Luke 21:36

The "praying always" that Jesus commands in Luke 21:36 affects every part of our Christian lives. It is the tool that God gives us to be in constant contact with Him so that we can truly bring every thought into captivity, under the control of God (II Corinthians 10:5). We are encouraged to make bold use of this tool for our every need (Hebrews 4:16). We need to explore some of the important implications that striving to pray always—praying at all times—has on this life to which God has called us.

In Luke 21:36, Christ also commands us to "watch." The underlying Greek word stresses the need to be alert or on guard. This fits with a major requirement of Christian life, that we examine ourselves. We are to be alert to those things about ourselves that will disqualify us from entering God's Kingdom so that we can change them.

Self-examination is such an important spiritual activity that God includes it as a major part of one of His seven festivals, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. II Corinthians 13:5 exhorts, "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified." Our ongoing efforts to submit to God's laws and standards are evidence that Christ and His faith are in us (James 2:18).

God always gives us choices (Deuteronomy 30:19). Consider the example of Jonah. He could have done exactly what God asked of him, but instead, he rebelled, having to suffer an intense trial to bring him to obedience to God's will. Notice, however, that God's purpose never changed. The only variable was how much pain and suffering Jonah chose to experience before he submitted to God's purpose. Initially, he chose rebellion and trials over submission to God.

Pat Higgins
Praying Always (Part Five)

2 Corinthians 10:5

We are to come to have the very mind of Jesus Christ, bringing absolutely every thought into captivity or control. This is the highest form of mind control—where God expects us to control our own minds.

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: Repentance

2 Corinthians 10:5-6

Our battle is to bring down every deceptive argument and every imposing defense that men erect against the true knowledge of God. We fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ. Once we are sure of your obedience we are ready to punish every disobedience. (Phillips)

Paul makes it very clear that we are involved in a war! This does not mean that this warfare will always be going on at the same level of intensity. In warfare between nations and states, there are lulls in the battle as one side or the other prepares to make their next push. There are short periods during war in which a great number of people die or are injured, which are usually followed by longer periods when the two sides regather their strength, regroup, and get ready for the next attack.

It will be much the same way in the warfare we are involved in. I am here to tell you, please do not let down when it appears as if nothing is happening.Those very dangerous periods of time—the easy times, the good times, the affluent times.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Endure as a Good Soldier

James 1:13-15

Every problem, individual or national, has its root embedded in sin. But what causes sin? Wrong desires brought to fruition, and everyone—from peasant to king—is subject to wrong desires. From the beginning of time, sinners have blamed their sins on others. Satan blamed God, Eve blamed Satan, and Adam blamed Eve. James sternly rebukes this.

God does not cause sin, nor do things. Sin would be helpless if it did not appeal to something in man. Sin appeals to man's human nature through his desires. If a man desires long enough, the consequence is virtually inevitable. Desire becomes action.

Desire can be nourished, stifled or—by the grace of God—eliminated altogether. If we humbly, thoughtfully, and wholly give of ourselves to Christ and involve ourselves in good activities and thoughts, we will have precious little time or place for evil desires. The tenth commandment pierces through surface Christianity, really showing whether we have surrendered our will to God.

The spiritual requirements for keeping it are in some ways more rigid than any other because it pierces directly into our thoughts. II Corinthians 10:4-5 sets a very high standard for us to shoot for:

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.

These verses, revealing God's authority over even our thoughts, also sets what may be our ultimate goal in this life. The tenth commandment shows the depth of God's concern about the state of our inner character as well as our apparent character. If our thoughts are right, our actions will be too. Changing our thinking strikes right at the heart of character, emphasizing why spending time with God, in studying His Word and in prayer, is so important.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Tenth Commandment (1998)


 




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