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Janet's Corner

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Isaiah : Lesson 21

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

 

Do you have a struggle with your thoughts? Do you tend to rehearse things in your mind over and over again? Does it sometimes really feel like a battle you are waging in your mind?

 

To review from last week:

1. Remember the equation: Behavior = Emotions and Thinking.

Behavior changes when either our emotions or thinking change.

 

2. God desires to be the keeper of peace for our lives and he can if our mind is steadfast – holding onto the truth.

 

3. Last week we explored the idea of replacement thinking…As we have thoughts that are being played over and over again and are just rehearsing them. We need to replace them with a new tape –new truth about the situation or about God to overcome them and find peace again. As w put into practice Philippians 4:8 we allow “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 to eat up the old tape! Our thoughts are replaced by a new tape. You will be able to proclaim the victory of the word of God over your thinking - Philippians 4:8(ATE) IT!  And find peace…

 

Today we’ll see that to sustain this steadfast mind is not always as easy s putting in new tape. Sometimes to win the battle over our thoughts, we must wage war with truth. It is a battle to have victory over the lies we have believed. It’s thought by thought with Jesus… With a steadfast mind, holding onto the truth, we can have a mind captivated by truth – the truth of God’s Word and kingdom. We need to identify the battle and then know how to fight it. We’ll identify the battle in II Corinthians 10:3-5 today and then in two weeks learn how to fight the battle.

 

3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

 

As believers, we don’t live by the standards of this world nor do we wage war with weapons of this world. These weapons we are to use are not clearly defined here, but most certainly include truth, love, righteousness, and the gospel of peace. We use these weapons that have divine power. Not our own power, but the Holy Spirit’s power within us.

 

These weapons do two things:

 

1.     Demolish strongholds.

 This word “demolish” means to destroy, used often in reference to demolishing a fortress. There needs to be a demolition of these strongholds.

Ochyrwma is a military term for a "fortified place", thus stronghold. The question that comes to my mind is “Why would you want to destroy a stronghold. Isn’t a stronghold a place of protection?” There are two ways that strongholds are used in the scriptures.

 

*David throughout his flight from Saul took refuge in strongholds. So they are places of refuge from the enemy. Why destroy them?

 

*Psalm 27:1 states that truth that “The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid.”  The LORD is that place of refuge. We don’t want to destroy him or demolish our relationship with Him.

 

*The picture used in this place in scripture (II Corinthians) is placed in contrast to those safe places David found or we find in God. The fortified place, strongholds in our minds, here in II Corinthians need to be demolished. These strongholds are not places that we need to run to for protection, but instead, need to be demolished. Why? We think that these strongholds will protect us or bring us comfort, but they do the opposite. They hold us captive to lies. A stronghold is what we use to defend a personal belief, idea or opinion, not based on truth. We build fortresses in our minds, block by block, so that we can make ourselves feel comfortable or feel protected from something that is coming against us. The root word for “stronghold” goes back to “echo” in the Greek and means to hold fast. These strongholds that we build and hold fast to will eventually end up taking hold of us and we are held captive to them. For instance you can have a stronghold such as bitterness. A loss of a loved one or something you hold close to your heart, can cause such strong grief, that it can become a stronghold, as bitterness takes root.  You can end up with a stronghold of control or manipulation because you did not have any stability in your life, so you try to establish it for yourself. You can have a stronghold of independence, because you have been betrayed. Other strongholds can be unforgiveness, confusion, pride, anger, disbelief, distrust, insecurity, fear, suspicion,or self-indulgence.. You may say you don’t have any strongholds in your life, but you can sure see them in ...(the other person)! I challenge you to allow the Holy Spirit to search you heart and show you if you do or don’t, because the truth will set you free!

 

 

Paul identifies how these strongholds are fortified:

        By Arguments: Logismous are reasonings that take shape in the mind and are then worked out in life as action. These arguments are the rationalizations or excuses we use to protect those personal beliefs, ideas, or opinions. These arguments are based on lies we have believed.

 

        By Pretensions: Hypsoma ("raised ramparts") are human "pretensions" (NIV) or "arrogances". They are anything that has been lifted high. In the fortresses of old, there was always a tower built up to withstand the last attack of the enemy. In the Old Testament the high places were places of idol worship, and the leaders over and over again failed to tear these places down. In erecting strongholds that we think will protect us, we really are putting something else higher than God and His truth. The root of pretenses is pride. We will hold onto these ideas, opinions, beliefs, even when we are dead wrong. Why? Because we think we are protecting ourselves.

 

And what are these arguments and pretensions lifted up against?

 

The knowledge of God (vs. 5). That which is lifted up against the knowledge of God are lies. And Satan, being the author of lies among other things, will use anything he can to destroy us or keep us in captivity. Or lead us astray. That’s what strongholds do. Hold us in bondage.

 

So Paul says we use divine weapons to demolish these strongholds and secondly to…

 

2. “Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

Paul pictures human thoughts as captured enemy soldiers. The thoughts that fortify our strongholds need to be held captive – to be subdued or brought into subjection to the truth of God’s word. This is not a one time occasion, but the verb tense indicates that to have a steadfast mind, to have a mind holding onto truth, we must practice continually taking those thoughts captive. So we take these arguments and pretense captive and think about them in a new way – in relation to Christ and who you are in Him. And the stronghold will come down brick by brick.

 

 

Strongholds:

 Exist and keep us in bondage.

 Keep us from experiencing the comfort and protection that only God can bring us.  Prevent us from displaying God’s splendor through our lives, because our thinking directs our behavior. When our thinking is not in line with God and his truth, our behavior is not either. Proverbs says “As a man       thinks, so is he.” Our thoughts need to be brought into alignment with Christ’s mind and truth.

A Mind Captivated by Truth is free, allowing us to walk in the freedom that Christ intended for us.

 

We experience the truth of Jesus as our stronghold in new way. And we will be able to say…

 

The LORD is the stronghold of my life – in whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1b