Do you ever find yourself in a season where the same scripture keeps coming up and you just can’t move on from it? Well 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 has become one of my most revisited scriptures for about two years now!
It’s an interesting one though, because it’s a scripture telling us to do something - but just how do you take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ? As I have discovered over that period of time, it’s not enough to just keep repeating it. It’s like shouting at a dog behave and expecting it do it to do so! It needs training to be obedient. So let’s have a look at what it says.
We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (Amplified Version)
Recently I’ve been aware of how much I think or even say that really irritates me or that really annoys me. It’s a habit in my thinking that, if I’m not careful, could become a stronghold. It’s not exactly a phrase that lines up with the Truth now is it? So somehow or other I got thinking about pearls and how they are formed - it must have been the Holy Spirit because it’s not something I have given much thought to before - and just look at this definition:
In order to protect itself from irritation an oyster will quickly begin covering the irritant, usually a parasite, sand or grit, with layers of nacre, the same mineral substance that the shell is made of. Layer upon layer of nacre is formed to coat the irritant until the iridescent gem is formed.
IRRITANT! It’s there in black and white! It’s not the word irritate or annoy that’s the issue it’s what it is that annoys or irritates me - the parasite!
So I looked up what a parasite is too…
A parasite is an organism that lives off or in another organism, obtaining nourishment and protection whilst offering no benefit in return. It depends on its host for survival. Without a host a parasite cannot live or grow or multiply.
Oh my word!
These thoughts of irritation and annoyance are parasites trying to land and settle in my thinking to suck the life out of me. If I feed and nourish that thought it becomes fat and greedy and wants more of my attention. If I allow this it will drain the life out of me. AND it offers me no benefit in return.
So we saw in the definition of how a pearl is formed that an oyster’s defence mechanism against the parasite is to coat it in a mineral substance which it produces itself, effectively taking it captive! It is a very tough substance - the same substance that its shell is made from - and if you have ever tried to prize open an oyster shell open you will get my drift. So the cunning parasite managed to weedle its way in, however, the oyster keeps coating the parasite layer upon layer until a smooth precious gem is formed. It is no longer irritating!
If I apply this analogy to my thought life, every time a thought of irritation or annoyance pops into my mind I need to coat it with the Word, with the Truth. The solid unchangeable word of God, solid like the nacre the oyster produces.
Notice that a pearl doesn’t get formed with one layer of nacre. The trouble with thoughts of irritation is they are just that. They have a habit of getting under our skin and keep irritating us. So keep applying the Word. Every time and all the time.
Be persistent! It takes time to break a habit just as it takes time to create a pearl. If it’s a person that is irritating you, choose to bless them! When I bless I reap the blessing back. So that which sought to suck the life out of me ends up having to bless me and a precious gem gets worked in me in the process.
Those who live to bless others will have blessings heaped upon them, and the one who pours out his life to pour out blessings will be saturated with favour.
Proverbs 11:25 (The Passion Translation)
So let’s come back to the first scripture we mentioned that tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Every time I stop the irritating thought in its tracks and cover it in the Word I am taking it captive and making it obedient to the Truth. It’s one thing stopping a thought but it’s another step to make it obedient to Christ. This is why it is so important to know the Word and have it ready to take these thoughts and make them obedient.
Therefore, you shall impress these Words of mine on your heart and on your soul, and tie them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as bands (frontals, frontlets) on your forehead. You shall teach them [diligently] to your children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths], speaking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 11:18-20 (Amplified Version)
Fill your thoughts with My words until they penetrate deep into your spirit. Then, as you unwrap My words, they will impart true life and radiant health into the very core of your being. So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.
Proverbs 4:21-23 (The Passion Translation)
Tie them on your fingers as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.
Proverbs 7:3 (New Living Translation)
These Old Testament Scriptures show us just how important it is to know the Word. Again, they are instructions. Write it on your forehead. Tie it round your wrists. Bind it to your doorposts. Let it penetrate your HEART.
It is part of Jewish culture to know the importance of knowing the Word but it became a ritual religious act rather than a life-giving tool to keep a healthy heart and mind. These are instructions showing us how to have a healthy mind.
As I look at this I realise I have a responsibility for my own mental health. I am to make wise and healthy choices about what I dwell on. What I read. What I watch. What I listen to. All these affect the health of my mind. No-one else can do that for me. Only I can monitor what is healthy for me just in the same way as what I choose to eat or drink affects me physically. All this is in the context of a relationship with the Holy Spirit who guides me to make healthy choices that enable me to grow spirit, soul and body.
But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect —life in its fullness until you overflow!
John 10:10 (The Passion Translation)
But when the truth-giving Spirit comes, He will unveil the reality of every truth within you. He won’t speak on His own, but only what He hears from the Father, and He will reveal prophetically to you what is to come. He will glorify Me on the earth, for He will receive from Me what is Mine and reveal it to you. Everything that belongs to the Father belongs to Me - that’s why I say that the Divine Encourager will receive what is Mine and reveal it to you.
John 16:13-15 (The Passion Translation)
So here’s my challenge to you - ask the Holy Spirit to show you what areas of your thinking need to line up with the Truth and partner with Him in creating pearls of great beauty in you.