Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Battle of Ideas

It’s not helpful to think of what something is not, if you do not also think of what that something is. We all seem to understand that the Christian life is not a battle against flesh and blood, a physical battle. But what kind of battle is it then and what are we fighting for? While reading 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 it all the sudden dawned on me that we are in a battle over ideas. Here are the verses:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
What we think about, how we think, has profound spiritual consequences. If Satan could just get us to think his thoughts, he would be gaining quite a victory.

It is obvious that Satan understands where the battle lies. We are bombarded by ideas all day long and most of them are not biblical ideas. Through the T.V., radio, movies, newspaper, the Internet, and music we are told, sometimes subtly and sometimes blatantly, how to think. We are given messages about our own importance, our purpose, how to solve problems, how to deal with conflict, how to cope. For example, even an advertisement has a message for us. “The meaning of your life is to be happy and have everything you want. You must have such and such! You are the center of the universe and your happiness is supreme.”

What do I need to be doing to fight the good fight? I need to be thinking God’s thoughts after Him; I need to be taking every thought captive to obey Christ. What ideas do I have about womanhood and motherhood and are they biblical? Taking those thoughts captive to Christ is the key to victory in those areas of my life. What are my thoughts about marriage, about disciplining children, about housework? Do I view the purpose of my life through God’s lens or the world’s? This is the battle. How I think about everything I do is the answer to either victory or defeat. Whether or not I have biblical or worldly ideas will determine the spiritual fruit that I will be reaping for days, months, years.

Meditating on scripture then becomes the training ground for every Christian, as well as sitting under the preaching and teaching of the word. We all desire victory over sin and we all desire to grow in holiness. But without changing our thoughts, renewing our minds, we’ll be losing the battle. And how do we practically help each other as Christians? By taking each others’ thoughts captive. We are often blinded by our false thinking. We don’t think it’s false otherwise we wouldn’t be thinking it. Do you have a friend who is struggling spiritually? What is it that he needs? Truth and right thinking and sound biblical ideas. It is a myth that we can go through the Christian life just doing the right things. “Tomorrow I’m going to try to do everything right.” God wants our obedience for sure, but we must also think rightly. We must not allow there to be an area of our life that we allow ourselves to think the world’s thoughts.

This is the temptation for a Christian: we may think biblically about the importance of church, about witnessing, about stewardship of money, and yet totally bought into the world’s idea about how to raise our kids, or the world’s idea of happiness in marriage. And where ever that one place is, where our thinking is wrong, Satan makes the most use of it that he possibly can. He even has this way of putting those off-beat thoughts continually before you so you think them over and over.

Here's an example. Maybe you have this idea that everyone else exists to make you happy. It doesn't matter how biblical your thinking is on other topics, you will be spiritually crippled until your eyes are opened to the idea of service.

Ideas are powerful and in churches where the Bible teaching is done in direct contradiction to the lies of the world, Satan trembles because he’s losing the battle. Lives are changed when minds start to understand the truth. When every thought is captive to Christ, true freedom is found.

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