Taking Every Thought Captive- 2 Corinthians 10:5

As we continue in our examination of this passage, we now come to Paul’s instructions on how to fight the fight he has been referring to in this passage. The reality is that the believer is waging an internal battle in trying to live the life Christ calls him or her to live, and we are told here that this battle takes place primarily in the mind. The reality of this battle is further emphasized here in Paul’s use of the Greek term aichmalotizo, which is a military term referring to a prisoner of war. This is a term used only by Paul in the New Testament, and it is used in a more metaphorical than literal sense, for Paul uses it to refer to a spiritual battle rather than a physical one, for our thoughts are compared to here as prisoners of war. In order to understand what Paul is describing here, we will use an example from everyday life. Lets look at a typical marriage relationship, and look more closely at the critical issue of toilet seats. The wife in this marriage has requested that the husband please remember to put the seat down when he is finished using the toilet. While the husband may think this is rather petty and not really a big deal (which would help in absolving him of complying with her request), to the wife it actually is a big deal. Imagine said wife getting up to use the toilet in the middle of the night, and sitting down while the seat is up. She will be in for quite a surprise, due to the “splash landing” she will experience, and she could even be injured in the process. So we can conclude that the Lord would want the husband to comply with this request, for the husband is commanded to love his wife. Now imagine you are the husband, you have just finished using the toilet, and are now washing your hands. As you reach to grab a towel, you notice that the seat is up. Immediately, the Holy Spirit will bring the thought to your mind that the seat is up and you should go and put it down. Just as quickly, the Devil will also bring a thought to your mind that it really does not matter if the seat is up or down, and that she is just trying to use this kind of thing to control you. So, in this moment, you are faced with a choice. This is the battle to which Paul refers here, for at issue is which of these two contradictory thoughts you will “take captive”. If you choose to hold on to the thought that you should put the seat down, that is what you will act upon. The seat will then be put down and peace will reign in the household. If, however, you choose to hold on to the thought to leave the seat up, the seat will then remain up and the devil will be given the opportunity to bring further turmoil and conflict between you. Thirty years or so of these “minor” issues can be more than enough to destroy a marriage, or any other relationship. So, ultimately what Paul is telling us here is that we win this “battle” by taking captive the thoughts which are from the Holy Spirit, and casting down the thoughts which are from the Devil. We will act upon whichever thought we take captive, and taking captive the thoughts of the Spirt will produce a life ruled by life and peace , rather than a life ruled by death (Rom 8:6).

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