The last and great truth of how to tear down strongholds in our hearts is in 2 Corinthians 10:5. This verse shines like a diamond concerning the daily battle in our thought life. We must always ask: where are our thoughts leading us? Do our thoughts lead us to Christ or away from Him? Are we leading our thoughts into obedience to Christ or are our thoughts leading us into rebellion?
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV)
Demolishing reasonings and every haughty mental elevation which lifts itself up against the experiential knowledge which we believers have of God, and leading captive every thought into the obedience to the Christ. (WUEST)
Two Dangerous Thought Patterns to be Demolished
The word “demolish” in the Greek means to tear down, destroy and forcefully throw down. The word is in the present tense, which means it is to be a continuous daily activity that becomes a habit of life. God commands in no uncertain terms that we destroy two areas of thought. These are the two pillars of evil that first raised their ugly head in the Garden of Eden and have plagued mankind ever since. These two thought patterns are responsible for sin entering into the human race and are the beginning of rebellion against God. Every wicked thing in society can be traced back to this mindset.
First Dangerous Thought Pattern: False Reasoning
The first thought pattern is false reasoning. The Greek word is logismos meaning to think about something in a detailed and logical manner, reflecting upon it and finally drawing conclusions through the use of reason. It is the mental view of something in its various aspects and involves contemplation and intellectual examination. The word is used in both a positive and negative manner in Scripture. Here the usage is negative and refers to the reasonings of a mind at enmity with God. We get the English word “logic” from this Greek word. It is a person using his logic against God’s truth. It is men and women exalting their opinions, speculations, and reasonings above the knowledge of God. These become systems of worldly philosophies, religions and opinions that distort the truth of God’s Word and elevate themselves above God Almighty.
It is never wise to try to out think God Almighty! It is never good to try to out reason God with our finite thinking. It is foolish to think we are wiser or more logical than God. Who would even have the audacity to think we are more enlightened than God? This is the height of sinful thinking and the fuel of every evil in the history of the world. These are false reasonings and rationalizations trying to justify the error of a person’s exalted thinking. They are opinions that appeal to a person’s self-adequacy without the need of God.
This type of thinking permeates every level of our society and this is why evil is so entrenched in the world. This is the devil’s favorite strategy in the educational, cultural, religious and political institutions throughout all the ages. It is the use of the mind to pursue empty things where God is not wanted. It is built on the arrogant notion that we know better than God and that reliance on God is a naïve way of thinking. It is the mind of man elevating itself above the mind of God. This type of prideful heart is revealed in the book of Job.
They say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not desire the knowledge of your ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit do we get if we pray to him? (Job 21:14-15, ESV)
It is amazing that the human heart can become so full of pride that it tells God Almighty to “Get out of here! I have no desire to know your ways! Why should I serve you?” This is where the arrogant reasoning of the mind without God leads the heart. This is the path of destruction for any person.
Lucifer let this type of thinking get the best of him as he wanted to usurp the throne of God and be worshiped. Lucifer became corrupted by his own wisdom and lost his glorified position in heaven. He even convinced one third of the angels to embrace this haughty way of thinking. Eve thought she could be wise by defying the commandment of God and her thinking brought about the tragic fall in the Garden. Jesus often rebuked the religious leaders of his day and even his disciples when he said, “Why reason you in your hearts?” He was in essence saying why are you exalting your man-made doctrines and religious reasoning above the truth of God? Why are you thinking in a way that does not glorify God? This type of prideful thinking caused the religious leaders to crucify their promised Messiah. This type of thinking is the Devil’s playground and allows Him to build resistance and rebellion against God in the hearts of people.
God is not against knowledge, as He wants us to have an accurate knowledge of the truth and be instructed in the ways of wisdom and righteousness. But Proverbs 1:7 tells us that, “The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly wisdom, instruction, and discipline.” The beginning of all true knowledge is the respect and reverence of the Lord. God’s knowledge and wisdom far exceeds the knowledge of the world. It is the height of foolishness to reject skillful and godly wisdom and instruction.
God earnestly desires to give knowledge, wisdom and understanding to His people. 1 Kings 4:29 says that “God gave Solomon wisdom, knowledge, insight and understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.” 1 Kings 10:24 says that “the whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom that God had put in his heart.” God has not changed. He still wants to put His wisdom into our hearts. He still desires to give us the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are found in Christ. But we must be careful not to become arrogant in our reasonings and exalt our thinking above the knowledge of God. Unfortunately this is happening in Christianity and it is causing strongholds to take root in our hearts.
Hosea 4:6 declares that lives are destroyed when the knowledge of God does not dwell in the thought life and hearts of God’s people. God had a great controversy with Israel because of all their religion, arrogance and idols. God said, “You do not know me! There is no truth, mercy, and knowledge of God in the land!” Israel had rejected the knowledge of God in their thinking, and therefore their families, communities and nation were destroyed.
Without the knowledge of God, a nation will be consumed and perish in their own sin. Without the knowledge of God living in our thought life, we can never overcome sin in our thinking. We will languish in the wilderness of the world without a living, vibrant and true knowledge of God. Only God can enlighten the eyes and give us a full understanding of the truth as it is revealed in the Bible. We must build our thinking on the foundation of God’s Word and our heartfelt trust and love of God. Then our thinking is in line with truth and our hearts can be free from strongholds that hold us in captivity.
Whatever the field of knowledge, God has an infinitely more knowledge than any person who has ever lived. God is the greatest physician because He intricately weaved together every part of the human body as a beautiful tapestry. God is the greatest scientist because He created the order of the heavens and holds the entire universe in the palm of His hand. God is the greatest economist for He knows the laws of prosperity and the solutions for any economy to flourish. God is the greatest statesman for He knows the best ways to rule a nation and conquer all the woes that plague countries around the world. God is the greatest educator for He can teach us the truths of life about love, relationships, strength, character, and wisdom. God has all the answers in any area of life that may confront us. The knowledge of God is far superior to the knowledge of man and our thinking gets upside down when we think we do not have to have the knowledge of God. God strongly warns us against this type of thinking as it always leads to the corruption of the heart. God always stands against this infiltration of pride into our thinking because it always contaminates our relationship with Him and is toxic to our spiritual life.
The Bible declares that it is the true critic of all knowledge and is also the ultimate critic of the motives and intents of our thought life. For our thinking to get a passing grade it must pass the test of Scripture and survive the double-edged sword of the Spirit. The Word of God reveals to us the true condition of our thinking. The Word of God reveals the true motive of every thought that ever occupies our mind.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)
Second Dangerous Thought Pattern: Exalted Thinking Above God
The second thought pattern in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that has become a pillar of evil is lifting up our thinking above God. The Greek word is hupsoma and means to lift up and raise high, and literally means a towering fortress. Here it refers to erecting proud altars of thinking that we exalt above the truth that God has revealed in His Word. It is thinking immersed in self-glorification and self-adoration. The world has wired our brains to become absorbed in this kind of thinking. We get lost in our world where our opinions, attitudes and desires are all that matters. This isn’t intellectualism it is the height of selfishness. For lack of a better word it is idiocy to ever think we know better than God and can laud our thought life above God.
This is an attitude that proudly resists the true knowledge of God and refuses to experience the beauty and wonder of knowing our wonderful Heavenly Father. This way of thinking is a banner of pride that sets itself up as a towering fortress against the truth of Scripture. This lofty tower is a wall that has been raised up by the vanity of the mind and blocks the divine knowledge of God from entering the heart. On this wall is a clear message for the Creator of the Heavens and Earth that says “Keep out! Private! God is Not Needed Here!” This is a rebellion against God when we practice this type of thinking.
These high towers are built on the foundation of pride and promote the great lie that we do not need God. Many think rational intelligence, logic and modern enlightenment is better than God. However, to be human, in its most basic essence, is having a personal, intimate, loving relationship with God. To refute this truth is to refute your own humanity. The devil wants us to create our own reality, truth, and morality without the necessity of God telling us what is right or wrong. However history bears witness that when the truths of God and the Bible become irrelevant and despised, society becomes more corrupt, cruel, and debased. I am not talking about a religious makeover, but the truth of the Bible unadulterated and unchanged by the mind of man. There is also a rise in evil and a decline in personal integrity, responsibility, and decency when the knowledge of God is rejected in a generation.
Ray Steadman in Spiritual Warfare says:
One of the schemes of the devil is to exalt reason to the exclusion of faith … We love to think of ourselves as rational, intellectual beings who have a logical reason for all our ideas, beliefs and actions. But this exaltation of reason opens the door to error and arrogant self-deception. We delude ourselves into thinking we are motivated by logic, when in fact we are motivated by emotions, desires and dimly understood drives—then we use our intellect to come up with pseudo-logical, self-deceptive rationales to justify our illogical emotional decisions![i]
God’s wisdom exalts the cross of Jesus Christ and human wisdom degrades and is offended by the cross. Jesus Christ is at the center of all true knowledge and wisdom of God and our thinking should always be brought back to Christ. We need to demolish these towers of reasoning and logic that defy God and mock His Word. The cross of Jesus Christ is called the wisdom of God because it represents God’s commitment for salvation to the world. It is the exaltation of His divine glory and grace in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The world hates the cross because it reveals to the human race its helplessness from the power and consequences of sin without Christ. The cross symbolizes total reliance on God for eternal salvation through His free gift of grace. Humans are powerless before the cross and hate to bow their wisdom at the foot of the cross and acknowledge their total inadequacy to save themselves. The cross breaks every stronghold and towering fortress of Satan. No stronghold or mental prison can stand before the weight of the cross.
2 Corinthians 10:5 is a war cry to lead captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. Like a soldier engaged in war, take control of your thought life for the glory of God. Every thought is important. Every thought must obey the Lord Jesus Christ. The gates of hell will shake and tremble when we let the Lord be the leader of our thinking. Obedience to God, which is the weapon that the Devil fears the most, begins with our thought life. If God is to be obeyed and loved with our hearts, then we cannot let our thoughts be captured and controlled by our enemy. We must stand guard with the whole armor of God at the gate of our thought life and in the power of the Almighty God tell Satan “Not on my watch! You cannot have my thought life! My thought life belongs to my God!”
The Devil knows the important of your thoughts and he marshals every military strategy, deceitful scheme and strategic movement of his kingdom to influence your thinking. If he can mold and control our thinking, he controls the character, life and boundaries of the heart. The heart is a mirror, reflecting our thinking, and we can never take care of our heart if we do not take care of our thoughts. Every thought must bow its knee to the Lord Jesus. Every thought must be captivated by the Lord Jesus. The flesh is powerless to exercise authority over a disciplined thought life that is focused on Christ. We must let the light of the world, Jesus Christ, shine in our thoughts. We take every thought captive and bring it to the throne of Christ and ask our Lord, “Is this thought worthy of your kingdom?” “Is this thought worthy to occupy your dwelling place?” “Is this thought molding my heart into the image of my Lord?” “Is this thought a danger to my devotion, love and service for you?” “Does this thought bring glory to you?” Any thought that does not pass this test and hold up under the scrutiny of Jesus Christ must be tossed from our mind so it does not take root in our hearts. Our thinking must be rooted and grounded in Him and separate from our old ways of thinking that kept us in chains, hopelessly bound in prisons of darkness, selfishness and ignorance.
[i] Ray Steadman, Spiritual Warfare: How to Stand Firm in the Faith (Grand Rapids: Discovery House Publishers, 1975), 98.