Continued from FAQ Page…
Why is this so important? “For as he thinks within himself, so he is… (Prov. 23: 7 NASB).”
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“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10: 5 NASB).”
The phrase “We are” of 2 Cor. 10: 5 NASB appear in italics, as it was added by the translators to enhance comprehension, but was not found in the original transcripts. Never the less, the pronoun “we” correctly refers to the advancing disciple(s) of the Church Age.
1 Pet. 3: 15, 2 Pet. 3:18, and Matt. 7: 24-27 c-o-m-m-a-n-d-s the advancing disciple of the Church Age to acquire and apply the doctrines of the Church Age. Disobedience to these commands places the born again believer in harm’s way when it comes to the spiritual combat (Eph. 6) of the post salvation battlefield. When one does not possess the truth concerning spiritual issues, he/she will likely, to his own hurt, fill the void that the absence of truth creates with human viewpoint and man-made religion.
The cultural half of “religion” is a powerful force. Going contrary to the flow of family and societal tradition can be a great obstacle to overcome as the advancing disciple develops the spiritual discernment to distinguish what is of Man-made religion and what is from God. For this reason, the advancing disciple is warned that, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate (love less) his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes even his own life, he cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:16 NASB/ italics mine).” This passage does NOT promote ill feelings towards one’s family members, but teaches that when finding oneself in a position to make choices between pleasing one’s family, one self, or God, to the exclusion of the other, God is to be the choice if one is to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Going against “religion” is the same as going against one’s family in MANY cultures.
The phrase, “are destroying” describes what takes place when the incoming missiles of evil (Eph. 6: 16) are fired upon us in the midst of spiritual warfare. Many times, these fiery darts of the devil are launched via the tongues and body language of other people. It may not be their intent, but it IS the words and actions of others that the devil will use to rattle our cages, setting the stage for a demonic attack.
The vast majority of the Eph. 6 spiritual warfare of Eph. 6 is not the type portrayed in horror films or documented in such passages as (Mark 5: 1-5). The majority of it takes place silently in the privacy of our own soul structures each and every minute of each day, as we make conscious or unconscious choices about what we do with the information and/or stimuli that which we are presented from the environment around us.
A difficult spouse, a rebellious child, a harsh boss, supervisor, co-worker, ignorant or careless motorists, etc., are among the many of the launching pads that the devil will use to “get under our skin” during the course of any given day. In addition to this, we have the ever-increasing means of communication (media, entertainment) through which the devil will promote human reasoning that appeals to the fallen nature that is in all of us (Romans 7).
Those who are not trained in the art of spiritual warfare (Eph. 6) will go through life NEVER realizing how the devil will use the events of every-day life to “rattle our cages”. Once so rattled, he has set the stage for evil thoughts to enter and plant the seeds of evil in our soul structure. At the “right” moment, be it right then or at some point in the future, the devil, and/or his Eph. 6:12 agents will bring this evil to our conscious minds to stimulate his desired response.
Even in our sleep, our soul structure processes the information, both good and evil, that has more recently been allowed to become a part of our soul structure. God is NOT the only one who can speak to us via our dreams.
Among information that we process in our sleep is the latest meal of spiritual food that comes from the daily study of the Word of God. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we also reinforce all the evil we have stored away in our soul structure by the latest evil that we have chosen to listen to and make a part of our soul structure.
If anyone thinks he can spend time in the devil’s rain and not get wet, he/she is a fool.
There are 168 hours in a week. NO one is given any more, and no one is given any less. What makes the difference from one person to the next is what we choose to do with the time we have all have.
On the average people spend 56 out of the 168 hours sleeping. During the time the body sleeps, the soul is still awake and functioning. Among other things, the soul is processing the more recent information that we have allowed to become a part of our soul structure.
During this process, we make changes for the better or the worse as we use this information to either reinforce the correct doctrine that we have in our soul structure, or the evil. This is why mind altering chemical (including alcohol) can impact not only the quality of our physical REM sleep, but how well our soul processes the information it has more recently accumulated.
We do not have any control over what others do or say, but we do have control over what we choose to do with the information, good or evil, that they present to us.
There are times we have no choice over who we spend time with, such a co-workers. But there are other times that we do have choices about who choose to share time with, such as with whom we choose to make friends and in what activities we choose to chair in the entertainment and recreational realms.
When we do have a choice, we have full control over (and responsibility/accountability) for what information we expose ourselves. It DOES matter to what we choose to listen, watch, or participate. If you think you spend hours each day listening to what people with human viewpoint have to offer and not have it impact your walk with the Lord, you have been greatly deceived.
In the spiritual realm, we make choices as to where, when, how, and how often we take in doctrinal information. If many of us were as concerned with the quantity and quality of the “food” we feed our souls with, as we are about the food we feed our bodies, we would be a lot better off.
For most of us, our natural bodies will never see 100 years of age, but even if we did it would be a grain of sand in comparison with the Sahara Desert when we compare our life span on Earth to all of eternity. Even at that, the comparison is not adequate, as eventually the number of grains of sand that make up the Sahara Desert could be theoretically reached, whereas eternity has NO end.
I’m all for being good stewards of the physical body, but the condition of our souls that are going to live on forever should be of greater concern. There is NOTHING in the Bible that indicates we can do anything to alter the destiny or the environment in which the soul will experience once we leave these bodies of ours behind.
Of the 168 hours we are given each week, we spend on the average 56 of them sleeping. Of the remaining 112, we spend them consciously or unconsciously taking in information that either corrects or reinforces the knowledge, good or evil, that we have chosen to store away in our soul structure.
This Eph. 6: 16 missiles of evil consist of thoughts and information that run contrary to the, “…mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2: 16 NASB)”. The phrase mind of Christ refers to how God sees things, made known to us through His Word. These missiles of evil can come from the devil, his forces of evil, the mouths of other people, and evil things that we can see, hear, or touch. In fact they can come from any source of communication or influence here in the devil’s world.
Failure to identify and eliminate the infiltration of evil into our soul structure is how one prevents the devil from harvesting a crop of evil by not allowing the seed(s) of evil to take root. This principle is reinforced in such passages as (Eph. 4: 27).
The openings in the filters of an unedified soul structure are not small enough to filter out the evil seeds that the devil hopes to infiltrate one’s soul structure. Evil appeals to the fallen nature within Man, as it is inherently hostile (Romans 8: 7) towards God the things of God. Without the filter of an edified soul structure, the individual will nothing wrong with many forms of evil.
Just as a soul structure is edified, reinforced, and maintained through the intake of accurate Bible doctrine, it is compromised through the intake of false doctrine and human viewpoint that run contrary to the word of God. The soul crashes referenced in Matt. 7: 27 do not impact the integrity of one’s salvation, but they will raise doubts in the mind of the one involved and diminish the productivity of divine good and the rewards that the same believer would have otherwise received in heaven (1 Co. 3: 12-15).
Advancing disciples do not serve God in order to be blessed here on Earth or to be rewarded in Heaven, but such things are in store for those to choose to live for God. Note that the blessings we receive on Earth come at the cost of discipleship. The more one becomes interested in the things of God, the less the things of the here and now will appeal to us.
Now for the mechanics of taking thoughts captive.
Step #1. Building the filters of the soul structure.
The first step in the process is to develop the spiritual discernment to distinguish between information that can edify us and information that can hurt us BEFORE it has a chance to become a part of our edified soul structure. A back-up system to detect the presence of evil must also be developed to locate and then purge the evil from soul structure. Both functions require the post salvation work of God the Holy Spirit.
The key word here is develop. We are NOT born with spiritual discernment. The human soul has an inherent ability to discern good from evil when it comes to basic morality (Romans 1: 19, 20).
“…because that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so they are without excuse (Rom. 1; 19 20 NASB).”
“…He has also set (the concept of) eternity in their heart…(Eccl. 1: 13 NASB/parenthesis mine.
Atheists and non-Christians will concur that such things as murder, stealing, and sexual immorality are wrong. Atheists make no connection, however, between the practical need for such restraints and God.
Individuals with a dead human spirit do not have the desire nor the ability to discern spiritual matters (1 Cor. 2: 14/John 8: 43).
“But the natural man does not accept (believe) the things (Gospel/post salvation doctrine), for they (the things of God) are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they (the things of God) are spiritually appraised (discerned).” 1 Cor. 2: 14 NASB/parenthesis mine.
Even the ability to understand a presentation of the Gospel Message takes the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit. After one is born again, comprehending post salvation doctrine also requires the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit. Spiritual discernment is something that is developed over the course of one’s post (AFTER) salvation spiritual life, and goes hand in hand with the quality and quantity of accurate doctrine that one has stored in his edified soul structure.
In the secular world when cash was most frequently used means of financial transactions, those who worked at that level of business were not (primarily) trained by keeping up with the latest versions of counterfeit currency, but by developing the ability to verify the authenticity of the real thing.
Attempting to establish step#1 in the process via human power is predisposed to failure, as human reasoning will always fall short of closing the gap between where human reasoning can take us and developing the faith it takes to edify our soul structure.
In the realm of spiritual combat, the advancing disciple is (primarily) trained by learning accurate Bible doctrine. Once the TRUTH concerning any given spiritual issue is learned, it becomes easier to spot a false doctrine. If the counterfeiting operation is going to succeed, the counterfeit currency must have the appearance of the real thing. If the false doctrine is going to succeed, it must also appear to be legitimate. ALL false doctrines (and accompanying activity) contain or promote enough “truth” to make is acceptable.
Step #2 in the mechanics calls for intercepting the incoming evil information or suggestion. By refusing to let it become a part of our soul structure and thought processes, God is glorified and the devil is denied the opportunity to plant his seeds of evil and/or to harvest a crop from the evil we have allowed to be a part of our soul.
Step #3 in the process involves a regular maintenance inspection (2 Cor. 13: 5) of the doctrine we have stored in our soul and to purge anything present that is inconsistent with who we are (or should be) in Christ.
In closing, keep in mind that our soul take in information and are stimulated into action based on the information that it takes in on a moment to moment basis. If this information is wholesome, it will be used to reinforce the good that we have already stored in our soul structure. If this information is evil, it will foster the evil we already have there, or it will plant seeds for further harvesting. Developing spiritual discernment is necessary to immediately identity and address incoming information or stimuli. Routine examination of the information we have stored in our souls is necessary to locate and purge any evil information that we choose to get by the filters of our soul.
We ARE what we think. What we think is a reflection of the information, good and evil, that we have circulating in our soul structure. This information is what motivates us to say the things we say, and to do the things we do.
This is what it means to obey the command (not an option) of 2 Cor. 10: 5 to take all thoughts captive in obedience to Christ.