I woke up at 2:00 am, my mind thrashing away about things I was falling behind on, the new pains I was getting, the horrible way people dealt with each other in the movie I watched last night, and on and on it went. My mind was all over the place, like a herd of startled wildebeest.
It worried me, because if I don’t have the power to bring just those thoughts “into captivity,” how can I bring EVERY thought “into captivity to Christ,” as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:5?
I can’t. Once my mind gets started on something it’s impossible to get it to stop. Just like Eve who couldn’t stop thinking about the forbidden fruit, or the Israelites who couldn’t get their minds off wanting what other nations had.
But why would God give us a mind like that? Why give us the remarkable ability to think, but not the ability to control everything we think, as well? Why give us powerful drives and appetites but not a powerful braking system that automatically kicks in every time our thoughts race out of control or drift off course? It’s like giving a teenager the keys to a Ferrari and expecting him to drive at the speed limit. Of course he can’t. So why would God expect us to keep our minds at his speed limits too, when he gave us minds that can’t?
Because, Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9, our helplessness allows Christ’s power to be made perfect in us. What we lack in our brains is the power of Christ, and what better way is there of helping us admit it and want it, than hurtling through life in a Ferrari approaching a right angle bend and finding the brakes don’t work? That’s me at 2:00 am; I’m a Ferrari with weak brakes, a mind full of racing thoughts I cannot control, and it’s scary, because where might my thoughts take me if I can’t stop them?
We know the answer to that, because look at the state of our world today, with its endless and unsolvable conflicts in families, nations, between neighbours, and even among religious people too, and all because we cannot stop the thoughts in our heads that stir these conflicts in the first place. Clearly, then, we need a power in our brains that we don’t have, and that’s what Paul came to realize, but it turned into something wonderful, because any time his own brain failed him, he could turn to Christ for the power to bring his thoughts into captivity, and Christ’s power was right there for him.
One thought on “Obeying Christ in every thought – but how?”
The problem with Eve was that she already had sin in her BEFORE she partook of the forbidden fruit. She LUSTED after it before she picked it off the tree. She COVETED it contrary to the 10th commandment, “Thou shalt not covet…” because she DESIRED to be “wise” to the ways of the world.
As it says in 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world—the LUST of the flesh, the LUST of the eyes, and the PRIDE of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”
Eve was already WORLDLY when she believed the serpent. Her heart was with the things of the world—and not with God—when her hand reached out for the “juicy fruit.” This proves that she was FLESHLY rather than spiritual when the serpent spoke to her. She was already on the “broad road” that leads to the precipice of doom when she rejected God’s “truth” in favour of the serpent’s “lies” BEFORE she even “took … and ate.” (The word “thief” comes to mind.)
And Adam fared no better, even though he should have known better, having been taught by God himself. (Genesis 2:16-17)
LUST and PRIDE have been mankind’s biggest downfall from the get go. It’s not a wonder that the world today is so messed up.