This morning I was called to pray for several people who the Lord put on my heart. He also put in my heart that I nor anyone else have the power to be obedient to the Lord without the help of the Holy Spirit. We are in a battle for our minds and hearts, which ultimately is reflected in our speech and actions. Paul says that we are to take every thought captive and subject all thinking to Christ Jesus. “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
The primary point in this section of 2 Corinthians is that we are in a spiritual warfare. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12)
What leads up to the statement that we take every thought captive is important. Paul states that though we walk in the flesh we do not war after the flesh. That is, we do not rely on human ingenuity or man-made plans to bring the victory. The flesh is powerless against the wiles of the devil. Paul mentions the “strongholds” or the “fortresses” that are destroyed by God’s power. These strongholds are the philosophies, arguments, and “proud opinions”, among many other deceptions from the enemy..
Without question, there are many human thoughts that need to be taken captive. Numerous ungodly philosophies hold people in bondage, and those spiritual “fortresses” need to be demolished. The systems of thought that war against us are “arrogant obstacles” (NET), “lofty opinions” (ESV), and “sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing” (AMP) that prevent people from knowing God.
In our day, these systems of human thought include the theory of evolution, secular humanism, existentialism, the cults, the occult, and false religions. How many people are held captive by the idea that they are the products of chance in a godless universe? How many spiritual prisoners labor under the requirements of Allah and await freedom in Christ? We must take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
False religion and secular philosophy have created thinking that has imprisoned the minds of millions. It is a true spiritual battle: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (2 Cor. 4:3-4) Any idea, opinion, or worldview that asserts that Christ is unnecessary is reflective of the devil’s pride. Such thoughts must be taken captive and made obedient to Christ. Those who know the truth must confront error with the weapon we’ve been given, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Eph. 6:17).
Our weapons in the spiritual battle are not carnal but mighty through God. As we are “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2), we engage the battle against pretense and arrogant philosophy in the world. Trusting Christ and rightly dividing the Word of God (2 Tim. 2:15), we take every thought captive, pull down the strongholds, and, by the grace of God, set the captives free.
Many who study the armor of God, miss the last piece of armor–prayer: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18). Let’s make certain we don’t miss suiting up on our knees, where we call down heaven to intercede here on earth. Below is a prayer someone gave me that I encourage you to use.
Lord, I know the battlefield is wherever I am praying because prayer is the battle. But when the enemy brings the battle to me, help me to discern exactly what that battlefield is. Enable me to see the truth about what I am fighting against. Help me to be so clear about this that I know exactly how to pray. Enable me to understand what You are calling me to pray for and how. Teach me to recognize the plans of the enemy and take dominion over his tactics in prayer.
Whenever I hear a prompting from Your Spirit, keep me from ignoring it. When You are telling me to pray about a person or situation, enable me to hear from You specifically and not be too tired or too preoccupied to pray. Teach me to respond immediately. I know that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4). Teach me to pull down every stronghold the enemy is trying to erect in my life and the lives of others whom You put on my heart. Help me to refute every argument or high thing that exalts itself against You, Your ways, and Your will.
Enable me to always see clearly what the enemy is doing so I can identify the battlefield where he is waging war against me. Help me to clearly see when the enemy of my soul is attacking my mind with negativity. Teach me to immediately bring my thoughts and feelings under Your control and into obedience to Your ways (2 Cor. 10:5). Help me to bring every thought captive under Your Lordship. I know that my weapons are spiritual, and I am empowered by You to use them on any battlefield that presents itself to me.
Thank you that Your angel encamp around me and delivers me and those for whom I pray (Ps. 34:7). Thank You that You give Your angels charge over me and my family to keep us safe and bear us up when we stumble (Ps. 91:11-12).
In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.