Spiritual Warfare: Our thought Life.
Our thought life is important. We often just think that what we do is important, and it is. But what we think, and what we allow ourselves to think on, is important to God.
2 Corinthians 10:3 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: ”
Our flesh is our natural self life. It is what we have become over the years as Adam’s children. It is our habits, our desires, our plans, and our way of thinking; all of which make us do, and say, and act, the way we do.
This is the flesh.
When we become born again, and Christ’s life is within us by the Holy Spirit, then our flesh fights against the new life; so that it will not have to obey Christ, but can continue to do what it pleases.
A warfare takes place within us:
Galatians 5:17 “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
“The things that ye would”, are those things that Christ leads you in, for you are born again, and want to serve Him.
But, because there is warfare within, it hinders the joy of service, and often the service is marred.
What to do? Can we eradicate the flesh?
No, we can not get rid of the flesh, it will always be with us; but we can win the battles to bring it into subjection to our King, Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
What are these “strongholds”? They are those thoughts that take hold in our minds and do not let go.
They could be presented by strong argument or reason; or by the emotions flowing and giving sympathy to a motive. In the Spirit, we may know it is not right, though we can not tell how; but how ever it comes; if it is not dealt with, it builds a fortress in our thoughts.
It could be about the value of a certain thing. Simple in itself; but given power over the thought life by the flesh, in reason or emotion; and then built upon again and again, because every time you go to get rid of it; and don’t, it’s value becomes stronger.
(I once knew a Christian who became convinced that there was no hell. He, of course, did not want to think about some of the people he knew who would go to hell, because they were not born again. It became a big snare in his life; and dulled his sense of urgency where dealing with the lost was concerned.)
If you refuse, once, to deal with it; then the Adversary inflates the object with all sorts of affections, or opinions to keep it.
“Casting down imaginations”. Our imagination is a faculty which brings to view in pictures, the things we are dealing with.
It can be a big snare; when it is not kept under control of the Holy Spirit.
We can let our thoughts “go”, and pretty soon, we are in a world of our own making; no reality; where the truth is what we want it to be. Dangerous, because the truth then can be twisted to be what the Adversary wants it to be.
Casting down imaginations is tearing them down, to reveal the Truth that is in Jesus for this situation.
It can be a tough fight, if we have let our imaginations begin to rule us.
But again the fight is not with carnal or natural weapons, but mighty through God, by His Holy Spirit, to cast them down in our view and affection; so that we can be free from the influence of the Adversary through them.
In a world where “virtual reality” is accepted everywhere, we need to be especially careful, if we want to please the Lord Jesus Christ; Who is the Truth.
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Or we may end up like those Paul warned of:
2 Timothy 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
The power of God is mighty to pulling down strongholds with in our minds; and to cast down imaginations which have given a alternate view of Reality.
The power of God through the Holy Spirit.
“Every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God”.
God will tell you something; through His Word, the preaching and teaching of ministers, or personal communication. Then you hear, “You don’t really believe that do you?”
That is a high thing which is exalting itself against the knowledge of God.
God has said something to you, He is dealing with you about this situation; and the Devil would sent a doubt, and a hesitation, or a “very good reason, not to do what God said”.
What is it that we must do? Try and reason with the Devil? No! Eve tried that and sin was the result.
We can not reason in the flesh, or try and work up affections for God in the flesh; but we can yield to the Holy Spirit within us, and let Him lead us, in bringing every thought and affection, into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
When we do, we will be captives of God’s reasons, And captives of His love.
If ye love me, keep my commandments; Jesus said. (John 14:15). And when we do love Him, we will. This is where God’s power comes in.
His Power is given to us as we bring ourselves into captivity by the Holy Spirit to have His Life.
To have His Light, to see reality.
To have His love shed abroad in our hearts. (Romans 5:5).
To have His peace, shelter us.
To have His joy, make us strong.(Nehemiah 8:10)
We can make ourselves our own lord; and every time we refuse to yield to the clear command of God, that is what we are doing.
But that is bondage of the worst kind. Strongholds, Virtual Reality for Reality, and a form of godliness.
Or we can yield to the Holy Spirit, and have the power of God, which is mighty, working within us, to bring us into the captivity of the Life of God.
Which will we have?