“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 Corinthians 10:5).
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Once we have surrendered our heart to the Lord, our main battlefield is the mind. Our enemy knows if he can control our thought life, he can then control what we have faith for.
As we engage in this warfare, we are to look “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” He started our faith, and He will finish it. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
How do we look unto Jesus?
Through adoration and worship – “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Our faith will naturally be finished if we behold His true nature through intimacy and encounters with Him.
Through focusing on and remembering what Jesus has done – “And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner, He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me’” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25). Every time we take communion, we are to remember the benefits of our salvation through what Jesus has done. This remembrance is not only for the Lord’s supper, but it is a key for us to regularly use as we capture thoughts.
As I explore more on this second aspect of looking unto Jesus of focusing on and remembering what He has done, I see something significant in the second part of 2 Corinthians 10:5: “Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” I used to interpret this verse as “I will not think any bad thoughts so I can be obedient to Jesus.” This interpretation caused me to focus on what I need to do rather than on what He has done. Anytime I do this, I am in danger of reverting to a works mindset instead of a faith mindset.
The higher way of interpreting ”to the obedience of Christ” can be summed up like this: “I capture lies primarily by remembering what Jesus’ obedience has accomplished through the cross and resurrection and declaring the new reality He has purchased for us. I remember his victory over:
Because Jesus has defeated those things, we now have complete access to live in and declare:
Righteousness before God
Victory in every circumstance
Heavenly rewards and benefits
The gospel is good news! Without forgiveness, we are doomed because of our sin. Jesus came and lived an obedient, sinless life for us to fulfill the requirements of the Ten Commandments and the law. He took on the cross all the negative consequences for our sin and offers us all the positive consequences of His perfect obedience to the law (see Deuteronomy 28). We receive these benefits by faith, not works, and we will keep receiving the empowerment of these blessings as we take our thoughts captive to the benefits won because of Christ’s obedience.
Let me repeat what I just said: We will keep receiving the empowerment of these blessings as we take our thoughts captive to the benefits won because of Christ’s obedience. This keeps the renewal of our minds rooted in knowing that, as we keep looking unto Jesus, He will complete the faith in us. What good news indeed!
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.