Yesterday we began breaking down 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Today we are going to continue that discussion. If you missed yesterday's post, click here.
I pray you took sometime to pray, asking God to reveal any strongholds in your marriage. I have heard many women complain about their husbands. Everything from what he eats or how he dresses to the sin that he is dealing with that cuts her to the core. The enemy loves these opportunities to plant a seed of bitterness in our hearts, to make us think, it is all his fault! And that is where the stronghold takes root.
Yesterday we learned that as followers of Jesus, we have the weapons necessary to demolish strongholds through the divine power of Christ. But we didn't get to verse five which really gives us the tools to begin the demolition. So let's begin there.
2 Corinthians 10:5 “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.”
Women, let's make a pact to be honest with each other today. And if we are being honest, let's answer this question: Where do most arguments begin?
I would venture to say, that if we are honest, we would say, in our minds. Isn't this true? Someone offends us, and our first response is to build a case against that person in our minds. We don't let them defend their actions or explain the truth, we simply let our emotions take over in our minds and after about 2-5 minutes we have declared the offender GUILTY and sentenced him or her to life in our mental prison.
For instance, if Carl hurts my feelings (intentionally or unintentionally), if I am not careful, I will let that hurt build a case against him that he could never win. In my mind, I will begin to think of every time he has ever hurt me, everything he has ever done wrong, every time he has proven to me before that he isn't perfect, and I will define him according to his mistakes. I will hold court in my mind. And I will make a ruling on the case.
But this does not honor God or Carl. First of all, Carl isn't in my mind to defend himself. Secondly, Carl may not even know that my feelings were hurt. Thirdly, there is no way I can honor and respect him (something I vowed to God I would do) by berating him in my mind.
Long before I ever met Carl, I realized that arguing with someone when they weren't present doesn't honor the person or God. So I decided I would stop doing it. And this verse has given me the clear direction I needed when I was tempted to fall into that trap.
I'll be honest, there are days when Carl and I get into an argument just as I am leaving the house, and before I can get out of my neighborhood, I have a solid case in my mind against him. This is when I mentally have to tell myself to stop. I literally have to take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ.
I intentionally stop building my case and begin thinking about Carl's character, why I married him, how I see Christ reflected in his life. Rather than allowing my mind to drag up the past and events we have addressed and forgiven each other for, I make the decision to take my thoughts captive and to demolish the argument in my mind that has set itself up against the knowledge of God.
I make the choice to let my thoughts be subject to the Word of God. In moments like these, where my emotions want to run wild, passages like Philippians 4:4-9 help me change my thought pattern. How would the following verses change the war you battle in your mind?
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Rather than building a case again Carl, when I read these verses, I now build a case for him. I am convicted that although I was hurt, I still need to demonstrate Christ's love to him. I can present my frustration to the Lord and ask HIM to for wisdom in how to address the issue with Carl, but this isn't a time to try to convince God that Jesus' blood was good enough for me, but not enough for Carl.
At this point I ask God to help me see what is true about this situation and not just my feelings. I ask him to reveal what is noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable about the man I vowed to respect, honor and cherish. I take my eyes off of my self and my emotions, and I ask God to let me see Carl the way HE does. When we do this, we are promised that peace is the end result. Wouldn't you love to have peace in your marriage rather than turmoil?
Walking through these verses usually completely changes the argument. First of all, it helps me determine whether I have over-reacted because my feelings were hurt, or if I need to address the issue. If I do need address the issue, I make myself abide by the 24 hour rule, which we will discuss in a different WW! post. Secondly, it let's me step back from the immediate chaos, usually which I have created in my mind, and allows me to be obedient to Christ in my thoughts and thus in my actions. Remember, James reminds us that our actions all begin as thoughts. Thus, if we can take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ, our actions will follow suit.
So, will you join me in shutting down the courtroom in your mind? Will you stop building a case against your husband and begin to present your frustration to the Lord seeking His wisdom and not revenge? Will you begin to ask God to reveal your part in the argument? And help you say, “I'm sorry!” first? Will you, today, begin to take your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ?
Oh, how I pray you will. I believe that your obedience in your thought life will dramatically change your relationship with your spouse.
Thanks for joining me on the journey of life. I pray that through God's Word we will look more like Christ everyday and represent Him well in our marriages.
I'm praying for you. Will you pray for me?