Something hit me while sitting in church the other day. The pastor quoted 2 Cor. 10:5 “…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (NIV). In the context of Matt. 18: 3, “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I’ve never come to that verse in that context. It’s always studied in the context of 1 John 3:15, “15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”
The condemnation of combining these verses is clear. We are meant to infer that if we don’t instantly control our emotions we’re outside Christ. That’s so condemning!
What are the fruits of that? We end up emotionally constipated and guilt-ridden when God wants passion and enthusiasm for his Good News.
One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control, yes. (Galatians 5:22) It’s part of His divine Character, available to us if we’re in Christ. We don’t take every thought captive to avoid sin, we choose to battle in the place of perspective. This is actually our permission to slow down and keep our thoughts on God.
God has you in His hands. He asks us to take his Yoke upon us for his burden is light (Matt. 11:29). 2 Cor. 10:5 is an awesome key to the process of reflecting God’s glory into the world.
How could I have read it wrong all this time?
Easy, I attended Bible Studies. I’m not anti-scripture. It’s just that the real goal of those Bible studies was to indoctrinate me on biblical principles instead of using the Scriptures as a vehicle to a relationship with the author.
Religion is institutional. It just is. God moves through the church, of course, that’s all we give Him to work with. In all our ways we must point to Christ and that doesn’t come from creating bible-inspired religious tenets.
Is there a better way?
I suggest adding scripture meditation to your practices. Pray before reading, that God would join you. That he would provide understanding, and use it to reveal Himself.
Yes, the Bible is full of Truth, but truth without love can be brutal. So start with declaring the times and ways that God has come through for you. If nothing comes to mind, try declaring that He’s good by faith. Try saying thank you for saving me. Try anything that helps you remember that God is on your side.
I pray that God would save you from a religious reading of His awesome love letter to you.