Posted by: glorifyhim1 | April 29, 2013

Held Captive

Have you disagreed with anyone lately? Have you disagreed with another Christian, a family member, another usually like-minded individual? Disagreement s and disputes are going to come to all of us. I know that I have had my fair share over the years. No matter how hard we try to avoid conflict, it seems to come at one time or another and oftentimes it seems to show up when we’re least expecting it.

While disagreements and disputes can be expected in this world, one of the things that has been most bothersome to me over the years is when my disagreement is with another believer or with a close friend or family member who usually agrees with me. I mean I can understand when I disagree with those who do not understand my beliefs, those who do not know my God who believe differently, think differently, and act in ways contrary to my beliefs. I can understand why we disagree. But it has been harder for me to deal with those conflicts that strike closer to my heart with people I know and love and who are seeking to follow the same God I serve. I can understand David’s anguished cry to hear that his trusted counselor, Ahithophel, was a conspirator with David’s own son, Absalom, as he attempted to overthrow the throne.

“For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it.

Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him.

But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance.

We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng.”

(Psalm 55:12-14)

As in David’s case, I don’t think it’s the matter of just having a disagreement with a friend or brother. Even when we’re seeking to honor and serve God in our lives, we are individuals and we may look at things differently. None of us are perfect and none of us are always going to get it right, but the trouble comes when our disagreements escalate and lead to something greater and more divisive. In simple terms, we allow our disagreements to give way to sin. James states it this way: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:15). Our desire to get our way, to prove our point, to win an argument is just like any other desire or temptation that motivates us to get what we want. And that is when sin takes over and a simple disagreement, even a misunderstanding, can lead to conflict, betrayal, division, and if not addressed, irreparable consequences.

So how do we keep our differences from escalating to such proportions? It’s hard when our feelings have been hurt, when we feel strongly about an issue, or when a point of controversy rests close to our hearts. And, at the same time, I’ve discovered that unchecked, undealt with differences, even when seemingly small or minor, can often cause me just as much anguish as bigger controversies. And I’ve also discovered that my response to any of these differences can contribute to this anguish. But the Scriptures do offer us some help and guidance when we find ourselves struggling in these areas.

Paul told the Corinthians:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God

for pulling down strongholds, 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, and being ready to punish all disobedience

when your obedience is fulfilled.”

(2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

In this passage, Paul is giving us some insight as to how we should “war,” no matter what type of disagreement or controversy we face. The key part of this verse to me is the phrase “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”  What do I do when I get mad? What do I do when I don’t agree? What do I do when I know I have been wronged?

I know what I have done….

I have fussed and fumed to those who would listen. I have sought to build my arguments to defend my position. I have tried to tear down or belittle my opponent to make me feel better. In short, I have sinned.

But I also know what happens when I take every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ and take them to God….

He gives me peace in the middle of my anguish. He redirects my vision, perhaps showing me something I need to do or maybe something I had not thought about. He showers me with His love and understanding and, in turn, helps me to respond to others with more compassion and grace. He reminds me that He is in control and that the battle is His.

I can honestly say that there is no comparison between these two responses. When I yield to sin, I reap anguish, discord, and a troubled mind and spirit. When I take every thought captive and surrender them to God, He gives me peace, renewed purpose, and a sound mind and spirit. When I think of the difference my response makes in my own life, I cannot begin to fathom the difference it can make in the lives of others, particularly non-believers, when they see believers disagree by taking every thought captive, surrendering them to God, and allowing Him to take control!

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling

with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in

love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive,

and gave gifts to men.’”

(Ephesians 4:1-3,8)




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