Monday, September 18, 2017

Taking Thoughts Captive - Part Two



In Taking Thoughts Captive - Part One, I attempted to explain what it means to "take our thoughts captive".  Basically it means that anytime we have a thought/belief, as Followers of Yeshua (Jesus) we need to make sure those thoughts/beliefs line up with the Word of Yahweh (God). I shared a few quotes from Dr. Neil T. Anderson, from his book The Bondage Breaker. I also shared one of the main verses that he frequently refers to - 2 Corinthians 10:5.

  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. (KJV, emphasis mine)
 
In this part two of my post, I want to address the latter part of 2 Corinthians 10:5. What is the "obedience of Christ? I am going to share what I saw in my Bible study this week, and I hope that you will prayerfully consider it and test it with the Scriptures.  

In Deuteronomy 31:9-13, it states that all the people of Israel were supposed to have the Torah (aka Law) read to them at the Feast of Tabernacles every seven years, "that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law," (ESV) Personally, I prefer the ISR translation for this verse because it reads "guard to do all the Words of this Torah".  I think that the word "guard" is a better translation because the Hebrew word used is shamar, which means to " to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. Guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc". The word "guard" has a stronger emphasis than "do", don't you agree? 

After reading Deuteronomy 31 this week, I had a thought and wrote it in my Bible study notebook (side note - in case this is your first time reading my posts - instead of God and Jesus, I use the Hebrew names Yahweh and Yeshua.  Also, instead of Law, I use Torah, which simply means "instructions", but is most commonly referred to as Law): 

If Yahweh commanded that the Torah be read to everyone every seven years during the Feast of Tabernacles, then obviously the Torah would be hearing the Words of Yahweh.  Yeshua repeatedly said that His words were not His own, but His Father's.  And He also said in John 5:46-47, "For if you believed Moses, you would have believed Me, since he wrote about Me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how shall you believe My words?" Yeshua equates His words with Moses' writings - Moses wrote the words of Yahweh! 

In Matthew 4:4, Yeshua says: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of Yahweh." (ISR) Yeshua was quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, and it was the Book of Deuteronomy from which He quoted the most during His ministry!  

I want to share with you more of the thread that I saw in my study: 

In Deuteronmy 18:18-19, Yahweh tells this prophecy concerning Yeshua to Moses: 

I shall raise up for them a Prophet like you out of the midst of their brothers. And I shall put My Words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be, the man who does not listen to My Words which He speaks in My Name, I require it of him. (ISR)

In John 3:34a, referring to Yeshua, John the Baptist says: "For the One whom God has sent speaks the words of God." (ESV) 

Yeshua Himself said in John 7:16-19:

My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me? (ESV) 
Here Yeshua is again pointing to the Torah! 

John 12:44-50: 

And Jesus cried out and said, Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me." (ESV)

John 14:23-24:

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. (ESV) 

And finally, in John 17 Yeshua is praying to the Father.  In verses 6-8 He says: 

 I have revealed Your Name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have guarded Your Word. Now they have come to know that all You gave to Me, is from You. Because the Words which You gave to Me, I have given to them. And they have received them, and have truly known that I came forth from You, 
and they believed that You sent Me. (ISR)



According to this last passage in John, Yeshua was telling the Father that His disciples were indeed guarding the Torah! 

Yeshua consistently referred to the Torah. 

Yeshua personally guarded, or said differently - was obedient to the Torah!  

This, I believe, is the "obedience of Christ" that Paul referred to in 2 Corinthians 10:5. Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) was obedient to the Torah - the words of Yahweh.  We are to imitate our Messiah. Let it be said of me, "Father, Christy has guarded Your Word. Because the Words which You gave to Me, I have given to her, and she received them."

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:1-2 ESV) 



A list of references in the Book of John alone that refer to Yeshua speaking the Father's Words (there might be more that I missed): 

John 3:32-34
John 5:19
John 6:38-40
John 7:16-17, 19 
John 8:28-32, 38-42 
John 12:44-50
John 14:10, 21, 23-25 
John 15:7-11, 14-20 
John 17:6-8 






 


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Taking Thoughts Captive - Part One

"Nothing is more foundational to your freedom from Satan's bondage than understanding and affirming what God has done for you in Christ and who you are as His child.  Your attitudes, actions, responses, and reactions to life's circumstances are greatly affected by what you believe about yourself.  If you see yourself as the helpless victim of Satan and his schemes, you will probably live like a victim and be in bondage to his lies." 

This quote comes from the book, The Bondage Breaker, by Dr. Neil T. Anderson.  I have shared before how Dr. Neil Anderson's ministry, Freedom in Christ Ministries, helped me through some of my darkest times in dealing with depression (click here if you want to read those posts).  Basically what he teaches is that a person's actions reveal what they believe about themselves, and that in order to live freely, a person's thoughts about themselves need to line up with Yahweh's (God's) thoughts about them.  I wholeheartedly agree with that and I personally found freedom because of the work of Dr. Neil Anderson. Praise Yahweh for using people like him to bring healing to many people like me!  He frequently refers to 2 Corinthians 10:5, which says: 

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; (KJV, emphasis mine)


What does it mean to "bring into captivity every thought", or as some other translations say, "take every thought captive"?  Let me give you an example or two:

When a Follower of Yeshua (Jesus) is thinking something negative like, "I'm so fat and ugly!" they should replace that lie with the truth of the Word with something like, "I am God's workmanship - His handiwork- born anew in Christ to do His work", which is found in Ephesians 2:10.  Another common lie that many people believe is "Nobody loves me", which should be replaced with something like, "I am chosen of God, holy, and dearly loved" found in Colossians 3:12 and 1 Thessalonians 1:4. That is taking thoughts captive. It truly is liberating when you start focusing on what the Bible says about you rather than what you feel.  Our feelings can be so deceptive!  

I noticed an example of this in my Bible study this week in Deuteronomy 29:16-21

You know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed. And you have seen their detestable things, their idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold, which were among them. Beware lest there be among you a man or woman or clan or tribe whose heart is turning away today from the Lord our God to go and serve the gods of those nations. Beware lest there be among you a root bearing poisonous and bitter fruit, one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike. The Lord will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. And the Lord will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for calamity,in accordance with all the curses of the covenant 
written in this Book of the Law. 
(ESV, emphasis mine)  

This is also echoed in Jeremiah 23:16-17: 

 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”
(ESV, emphasis mine) 

How often do you hear the advice to "Follow your heart"? Yeah, not the best idea! Our hearts, our feelings, can be so deceptive!   See Jeremiah 17:9

What I read in Deuteronomy and in Jeremiah was a warning for someone not to do what they wanted to do, what they might feel was alright to do, even though it went against the Word of Yahweh.  That person's feelings and subsequent actions based on those feelings will cause them to be on the receiving end of the anger of Yahweh! Like I said before, our feelings can be so deceptive!  

I know that can cause discomfort to think about.  After all, most of us have been told that God is love, and that He always forgives.  I also know that those passages I just quoted are found in what many call the "Old Testament", and many people will discount the merit of those words because they think they are no longer relevant.  So if that is the case, what do we see in the "New Testament"?  

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.
 Hebrews 6:4-8 (ESV, emphasis mine)


For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:26-31 (ESV, emphasis mine) 

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
2 Peter 2:20-22 (ESV, emphasis mine) 

Dr. Anderson also wrote in The Bondage Breaker:
"If what we think does not reflect truth, then what we feel does not reflect reality."  

It is imperative that we have a clear understanding of what truth is.

"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." John 17:17 

 "For you are God, O Sovereign LORD. Your words are truth, and you have promised these good things to your servant." 2 Samuel 7:28 

"Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness. Your Law (Torah) is truth." Psalm 119:142

Some people might think I'm crazy or weird because I get excited when I see these things in the Bible!  Yes, it can be unsettling sometimes to be confronted with the truth, but I look at it as my Father wanting me to know Him better and to better know how to live in a way that pleases Him. 

I hope I have clearly explained what it means to take our thoughts captive. There is more that I want to share, but I will wait and share the rest in a part two, where I will address the latter part of 2 Corinthians 10:5, where it says to take our thoughts captive, "into the obedience of Christ."