Every Thought Obedient
Every Thought Obedient
Words of Faith 12-4-17
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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2 Corinthians 10:5
[5b] and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Focusing on God's truth can be a strategic response to the ploys of the Enemy when we are tempted to worry or mistrust. Our thought life can still be a battle ground. Because our thought life is invisible to other people, we tend to think that it is invisible to God. It is not. God is aware of all our thoughts. This is why Paul sought to make take every thought captive and obedient to Christ.
As we grow in our relationship with Christ and our surrender to Him, we submit our actions in obedience to Christ more and more. We learn, in the power of the Spirit, to offer out bodies to Him as a living sacrifice. The outward actions of sin fade and we gain victory. The sins of the tongue-- what we say-- often take a longer time in this process of surrender to God. We may gain victory over the acts of the flesh but we can still find ourselves repeating gossip, joining in demeaning conversation, slandering people, cursing or bearing false witness. These sins of the tongue surrender slowly to Christ but by the strength of the Spirit, we can gain victory over the tongue.
We tend to stop our growth with the shaping of our outward actions and words. At this point, we are deemed very honorable in Christian circles. In a world filled with profanity and slander, if we are known as a person who never has a bad word about others and controls their tongue, we are thought to be doing pretty well. But there is one more battle ground-- our thoughts.
It is easy to assume that as long as we are not actually sinning with our flesh or speaking evil out of our mouth, our thought life is our own private business. God disagrees. God hears and sees the thoughts of our hearts and minds. The private world of our thoughts is not really private. God is there. The Spirit is listening.
How can we be sure that our thoughts are important? Go back to the Ten Commandments. "You shall have no other Gods before me." This is a matter of the thought life. Idolatry has to do with physical actions and misusing God's name is a matter of the tongue. But honoring father and mother is an activity of the heart and mind. Stealing, adultery, murder and lying are all physical sins but the final command had to do with our thought life-- Do not covet. Do not long for things that do not belong to you.
Jesus made this clear in the Sermon on the Mount. It is not just murder that God abhors; anyone who nurses anger against his brother will be subject to the judgment (Matt. 5:22). The Lord forbid adultery but Jesus clarified that if we entertain the thoughts of adultery by lusting we have committed that sin in our hearts (Matt. 5:27-28).
God seeks the surrender of our actions and our words but also our thoughts. We might be tempted to respond-- "But I can't control my thoughts! They just pop into my head!" This is true. We cannot control the thoughts that come our way-- literally perceptions, purposes, intellects and dispositions-- but we can choose what we do with them once they arrive.
An impure thought may come to mind but we can choose not to dwell there. We can choose to focus on a word of Scripture or a promise from God. We can choose to regard that person as a mother or father or as a sister or brother in Christ rather as an object of fantasy. This is a choice.
A jealous or envious thought may come to mind regarding a person but we can choose to pray for that person and rejoice in what God has given them and is doing through them.
A cynical or suspicious thought may come to mind regarding a brother or sister in Christ, but we can choose to expect the best of them rather than the worst and then pray for them.
A covetous thought may come to mind regarding and object, car, house or possession. We can turn our focus to all of God's gracious provision in our lives rather than what some other person possesses. We can give thanks for God's loving kindness.
This is the process of bringing every thought into obedience to Christ. It is not that we will not have any thoughts or perceptions that are unholy. But will we surrender that thought to Christ for his cleansing?
O God, be the Lord of all in my life. Be the Lord of my actions. Be the Lord of my words. Be the Lord of my thoughts. Cleansing my thoughts by the renewing of my mind in You. Cleanse my heart and make me wholly after You. In Jesus' Name.