"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 strong holds;) 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" (II Corinthians 10:3-5).
Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are responsible for wielding the "mighty through God" weapons whereby we put to death imaginations and thoughts that conflict with the knowledge of God.
There are few greater challenges, especially in a world that has so many ways to present to us fleshly ideas and images. Often we are not even aware that attacks upon our minds are taking place, and if we are not cognizant of the internal battle in which we are engaged, many skirmishes will be lost without our ever knowing they took place. More importantly, there are long term consequences within us when we fail to engage.
To illustrate, many mornings I drive through a school district in which there are excellent sidewalks. Many of the students walking to school, however, seem to not realize the purpose for the sidewalks. Instead, they walk in the middle of the street, and drivers are required to slow down and sometimes even swerve to avoid hitting the children.
Frankly, I do not understand the lack of judgment shown by the students, and I often feel very irritated and think some very unfriendly thoughts about the students and the parents who reared them. It is a very dangerous situation, of course, and I am perfectly justified in being concerned. However, as a believer, are unfriendly thoughts warranted? Certainly the answer is no. And just as certainly, I am faced with the responsibility of bringing them captive to the obedience of Christ. Notions of resentment toward people exercising bad judgment are poisonous ideas and imaginations in our minds, and if I allow them to remain, will lead to internal consequences far more serious than having to slow down or swerve to avoid hitting a child. The joy and peace of Christ will not be experienced within me to the abundant degree He desires, and I will therefore honor Him to a lesser degree. Without overlooking the fact of the students' error, I must therefore determine to replace bitter thoughts with the "thoughts of peace" that God thinks toward me despite my countless times of bad judgment (Jeremiah 29:11). This will likely lead to prayer for the students and their families, and who can say what God may in their lives do as carnal thought patterns are taken captive, and then replaced with Biblical and godly intercessions?
The Christian life is not for the lazy, especially in the internal sense of heart and mind. Opportunities abound for the wielding of our spiritual weapons, and life becomes an adventure of both great blessing and great challenge as "the obedience of Christ" becomes the master to whom we submit our ideas and imaginations. May our Lord root out thought patterns deeply entrenched in us because we failed to take captive notions that distracted us from the Word of God. And may He remind us continually the ultimate consequence of who and what rules our minds...
"As he thinkest in his heart, so is he."
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee."
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."