Updated: Jan 18
August 28, 2022
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but [a]divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
The Big Idea:
God gives you the power to change your most destructive thoughts. But it’s a battle. Against habit, against broken desires, against a dark enemy.
To Fix Our Thoughts
I. It’s A Battle
"for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses."
II. It Takes A Battle Plan
"We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,"
Fix A (lying) Thought:
1. Become aware of your Struggle
2. Find the Root
3. Apply the Truth that destroys it
"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
"28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired.
29 He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.
31 Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary."
“in tribulation, or trouble, or persecution, poverty, or need, or danger … we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”
4. Make your own
(a faith declaration)
Fix my thoughts. Your thoughts shape your life, your life grows out of how you think and, you become your most repetitive thoughts. My problem is yours too; it’s that a lot of our thinking needs to be repaired; we need a way to fix our thoughts. And there is a way, this is how God can repair our thinking, renew our minds, and transform our whole lives.
If you've come into the service event or if later on, I want to welcome you, thank you so much for being a part of this experience. God's presence is just apparent here. And so, He's in his word as well. It's powerful. And so, we turn to it. And we want God to speak into our lives. And so, as you can tell, we've just started a brand-new series, it’s a fall series. (Okay, I know it's August, and I know it's 105 degrees outside, but we say the fall to make us feel better, right?) And so, it's a fall series, and it's called “Fix my Thoughts.” And so, we started last time, we're going to start digging in. So, look, 10 years from now, you're going to look in the mirror, and someone is going to be staring back at you, right? And I'm not 100% sure you're going to recognize that person. And it's not because of the wrinkles, lines, bags and circles, or the Botox, whichever way that goes. It's going to be because of something else. Ten years from now, you're going to look in the mirror and see somebody there and I'm not sure you're going to recognize them. But here's what I can tell you, I can tell you how you will come to be that person. I can tell you how you will come to be that person. That person staring back at you will have been completely shaped by your thoughts right now; by the way you think right now, how you think, what you think repetitively today forms you. I mean, this is so fundamentally true, I showed it to you last time. It is so fundamentally true that neuroscientists can now see it in the brain itself. Our tools now are sophisticated enough that that they can see it happening inside of you right now. Look at the image that I showed you last time. That's the goglia stain of the brain, just a little tiny, tiny, tiny slice of the brain. And those tree-like features going about those are those are neural pathways, that impulses go up and down. And there's the dendrites at the top where some memories and concepts are held. And do you know what those structures are? Do you know how those structures were created? These structures were created by thoughts. What you think builds pathways into your brain. And knowledge, concepts and memories reside there. They are created by how you repetitively think. And so, look, listen, why did I show you that? What am I showing you is that for you to look at the power that God has given you. This is an incredible endowment; you can fully participate in building who you become. And so, that's what this teaching series is about. I mean, it's about that God gives you the power, the raw ability to fully participate in deeply changing your life by participating in the renewing, and the transforming of your mind. And so, here's the beginning point, we started with it last time, we tried to boil it down to a simple phrase. And the simple phrase is this. If you want to fix your life, start with fixing your thoughts. Fix your thoughts, fix your life.
And today, we're going to start into the first phase of that process. Now, let me warn you, we're going to get to a certain point in this message, and we're going to end it and it's going to feel cut off. And the reason is it's going to be cut off because there's more to application than I can do in these moments that we have, but we're going to at least get started. So just adjust your brain to that. And so, let's start here. How do we start the process of fixing our thoughts? How do we just start the process? Well, let's start it from II Corinthians 10, beginning in verse three. The Bible gives us a strategy for it.
And so, it starts in II Corinthians 10,verse 3:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war, according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh. But they're divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We're destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God. And we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
This is the Word of God, and it speaks supernaturally, it has a supernatural power. And if you open your life to it, it can create change in you. And so, watch this big idea that flows out of this passage into this message. Here's, here's the big idea of the message. God gives you the power to change your most destructive thoughts. I mean, it's an endowment; God has given you the power to change your most destructive thoughts. But it's a battle against habit, against broken desires, and against a dark enemy. And this message flows out of that big idea. What does it mean? It just means that a lot of the challenges that we face, I mean, certain addictions, certain destructive behaviors, certain anxieties, and depressions are rooted in disrupted or faulty thinking, lying thoughts, in fact. And so, our job here is to build the strategy into us, that breaks those, and creates a renewed and brand-new mind. And so, this message has a couple of simple principles or “hanging principles”. All our thoughts hang on these two principles. And the first one is this: to fix our thoughts. This is where you've got to start, you got to start here, you've got to see and treat the process as a battle. That is number one, you've got to see it; you've got to treat it as a battle. And Paul is trying to tell us that in these two verses. I mean, listen for it, “For the weapons of our warfare, are not flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. I mean, it is loaded with these warfare terms. And Paul is, is giving us that image on purpose, because he wants to stir us up to realize this process is not passive. If you are going to be successful at it, if you are going to be active in it, then you're going to have to treat it like a battle. I'll give you a just a simplistic kind of illustration of that. So, some years ago, sometime in my adult life, do you notice how vaguely I say that? It's because there's a point at which when you get so old, you don't even want to tell people give them any sort of, you know, any sort of perspective on it. So sometime in my past when I was an adult, right. I just continued my relationship with food like I was a teenager. So, BJ and I could sit down for a relaxing evening. And so, for me that would involve a fully leaded Coca Cola, a big bowl of buttered popcorn, and a full family sized bag of peanut M&M’s. I could finish that off, and that evening, but then something began happening to me. And what began happening to me as you know, I started becoming one of the biggest preachers in Houston, except not in the way to which I had aspired to. And I realized I couldn't be passive; I had to change my thoughts about the whole purpose of food in my life. Food primarily was not a pleasure center for my life, it was primarily for nourishment, to strengthen my life. And do you know what? It turns out that it wasn't easy; it was a battle. In fact, I battled with some ingrained thoughts in in my brain, and that is going to be true for you in any arena of your life, where you've got to change your thinking. Paul is just trying to tell us, look, if you're if you're serious about it, and if you're going to be effective at it, you got to treat it like a battle. And that's why he is using the language that he uses here. And so, look, he is describing how to do battle with destructive thoughts. And so, okay, Paul is doing something specific here. He specifically describing thoughts and ideas that he is calling on this church to do battle with; and it's in a really specific area. He is calling on them to do battle with some thoughts and lies that oppose the gospel. So a specific application of the principle, but it is a general principle. It is a transferable principle. It works for any lying thought, any destructive or damaging thought process that goes on in your life. And that is why we're using it here to apply to our life.
And so, look at what Paul said, just listen for these three words, the battle involves fortresses, warfare, and weapons. I want you to listen for those three words: fortresses, warfare, and weapons. So, he says, that our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. And that is what you think it is. It's a fort, it's a stronghold. It's translated from a word that literally means to fortify, to build up a defense to fortify, to build a fort. And you know, that in ancient cities, this kind of fortress was built in strong cities everywhere, and where was it built, it was built on the highest point, either in that city or just beside that city or near that city, and that made it impregnable, so defensible, and so strong. Enemies wouldn't even try to attack because it's absolutely too strong, with huge walls, fierce defenses, built into the stronghold, and Paul's writing this on purpose to the church at Corinth. He had been there, he started that church, he knew the area. They knew exactly what he was talking about, because there is a fortress, a stronghold, which sets just outside the city of Corinth today. In fact, you could see it today, if you went there, look at the image just to show you. So, this is this is right outside the modern-day city of Corinth. And there is an ancient fortress, there is an ancient stronghold built up on the highest point just outside the city. And it is, it is impregnable. It is it is inaccessible to enemies. And Paul is making a crucial comparison; that is a comparison between those fortresses and the lies that we believe. He is saying, that's how strong these lies can become in our minds. They can get built up as if they are an impregnable fortress, they control what we think. And they are destructive, and they are lying. They get into our mind, they embed themselves there, they harden, and they reinforce. And we harden and reinforce them by not by not treating it like a battle. And so, we just repeat the lie over and over and over, we’re passive, we're not being conscious about it, we just keep repeating the lie over and over and over. And it builds it stronger and stronger and stronger into that structure that I just showed you from a brain. And so, it explains why maybe for you, you struggle so much with some of the issues in your life. And for you, it may be this is why change feels so impossible, because certain damaging thoughts have gotten physically embedded into your brain, like a stronghold. And do you get why the first principle is so important? It sounds so simplistic. It sounds like hey, the preacher may not have studied much this week. It is a battle; that's it, that's all you got. And Paul is saying, you are going to treat it like a battle. Or you are not even going to come close to changing what those lying and damaging thoughts, teach you what they do to you. And so, the battle involves fortresses, strongholds.
But then I told you to listen for a second word; that word was warfare, the weapons of our warfare. I mean, let me remind you here of the functions of your mind. You have a brain, that is the housing for your mind. The most sophisticated scientists in the world have theories about the mind. They can't tell you for sure what the mind is. And you know, with the new tools they have, they're theorizing that the mind is quantum energy; it's this energy force. Scientists can say to someone in a scan, think of pleasant things, and energy moves to a place in the brain, or think of a scary thing and energy moves to another place in the brain. And so, what's causing that to happen? Is it chemicals, is it hormones, or is it thoughts? It's your mind. And what is your mind? It’s your thoughts, your feelings, your choosing’s. And so, there are a ton of influences going on inside of you, and outside of you, telling you what's true, real, and desirable. And some of those thoughts are true, noble, and life-giving. And some of those thoughts are false and enslaving. They feel good in a moment, but they damage you. And so, they battle inside of you. And you'll never take charge of thoughts, feelings, desires, and choosing until you see it for the battle that it is. And so, do you get it now? Everything we've been teaching for the past three months, this, this is where the enemies align. This is where they come at you all at once the world, the flesh, the devil, they attack you in the mind, in the spirit of your mind. And if you don't treat those influences, and control your thoughts, feelings and choosing like a battle, guess what: you lose? You’re thinking honestly, you stay passive about your thoughts, your thinking will just slowly become more chaotic, more anxious, more confused, and more clouded. And so, Paul says treat it like a battle.
There's a third word and it is weapons. Verse four, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh; they're divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” This is where you get this incredible encouragement. We have weapons that are divinely powerful, the Bible is telling us. So, to this impenetrable fortress (they look impenetrable), God says we have a way to tear those down. This is why you need the help of the Spirit of God in the battle. He provides divinely powerful weapons. It's saying it straight up in the passage. This is way stronger than a self-help technique, more powerful than positive psychology. The Bible is telling you that you have access to God's divine power to demolish strongholds.
And so, what are those weapons? We'll look in the passage. Oh, wait, he doesn't tell us what they are yet. He doesn't tell us. he doesn't mention them here. But all over the New Testament, the apostle Paul, the apostle John, the apostle Peter, all tell us about these divinely powerful weapons we have. Let me just give you a couple of them. Right in Hebrews, it says that the Word of God is a weapon; it's like a sharp two-edged, razor-sharp sword. It can divide between the physical and spiritual, it makes a distinction. It's powerful, and effective. Ephesians 6 builds on that and says it is the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. It has that kind of power in you. Ephesians 6 says the shield of faith is a divinely powerful weapon you have against lying thoughts. Ephesians 3:14 says that we can be strengthened with power through his spirit, the holy spirit himself, he's the person but he can be weaponized inside of your life in order to destroy those lying fortresses.
And so, look, here's what's first, here's the first principle you need. And that is treat it like a battle. But there's a second/number two, is build a battle plan. It takes a battle plan, treat it like a battle and build a battle plan. Now this is where things are going to sort of cut off here in just a moment. I'm just going to get you started. Verse five, look at the battle plan. Let me just make it simple here. Look at what he says in verse five. We're destroying speculations. Just think of that as number one. We are destroying every lofty thing he says that’s second, think of that is number two. We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. That's number three. That is the overall strategy. It takes a lot of grappling, a lot of understanding to make those real in your mind: destroying speculation, every lofty thing, taking every thought captive.
And so, I want to give you just the first step of application, the very first step and then we will draw the line, it's going to be more than enough for you to work on for seven days. Are you ready? Here's how you get started. If you listen, if you want to kick the backside of lying thoughts, here's where you get started. Just get aware, do you even know what I mean? You're never going to gain control of the broken thoughts that harm you until you create the daily ability to just simply become aware of them. And everything in your life works against that. You must create thinking space in you, in order to become aware. Let me principalize that: you’ve got to create the space to think about what you're thinking about. You got to create the space in you to think about what you're thinking about. Because 99% of us could not sit and write out what I typically think when my mind is at rest. Am I even conscious of what I think about? The fact is, a bunch of that stuff is lies that you tell yourself, and it just builds it over, it repeats itself over and over and over. And it builds up into one of those trees I'm showing you. And it's a stronghold in your life. And it's telling you a lie about yourself, it is telling you a lie about how life works. And it's making you miserable. And so, you’ve got to create the space to think about what you're thinking about. And most of us don't have that. And here's why. Listen, it's just what the world does to us. Because the world around us, has created an experience for you, where your mind is externally stimulated in every waking hour in minute. You know that. I mean, and most of it is, is mental and spiritual trash. Now, I don't mean by that moral trash. Okay, some of it is moral trash. But that's not what I mean. When I say it's mental, spiritual trash, what I mean, it's just it's meaningless stuff that can't form you in any life-giving way at all. The example is the constant playlist, in your earbuds, the constant playlist, or the conspiracy podcast that just keeps blaring at you through your earbuds, doesn't give you a chance to think about what you're thinking about. The constant scroll, you know, you know the Instagram scroll, the Envy scroll, that's what it's designed to be is the envy scroll. Oh, man, their life is better than mine. Oh, their life is way better than mine. Oh, oh, that's so fake. My life's better than that. And so, it's just an envy scroll. And it builds nothing fruitful or life-giving into you at all. And all the constant, meaningless YouTube, TikTok talking heads. I mean, look, the design of the talking heads is to get you to click on it, not to impart life into you, just click on it. It's meaningless. It's stupid. It involves pouring Clorox into weird places, and it's stupid. But it's taking all of your thinking time. And then just add on all the streaming all the streaming platforms, and you have no minute, no minute at all. And I'm making a huge deal out of that to make the first application; the constant feeding streaming, scrolling stimuli that conspire to make you never think about what you're thinking about. And the answer is to create some silence. Figure out how to create some silence every day, multiple times a day to just put your mind at rest, and let your thoughts occur. And then you think about what you're thinking about. Why when my mind goes to rest, why am I thinking resentful stuff about that person? I didn't even realize that that's what flows around in my brain. Or why when my mind goes at rest, I'm just recounting all the ways that I feel sorry for myself. Or why when I tried to put my mind at rest, that the only place that my mind goes to is all the crazy unrealistic outcomes that might happen if this happens. You don't even know that it's going on, but it's building those thought trees in your brain. And so, the answer is to create some silence. In Psalm 46:10, God Himself says to the psalmist, “Be still and know that I am God.” And I think that is such a crazy thought, because the psalmist lived 3000 years before us. There was no electricity, therefore, there's no lights, therefore, there's no alarm clocks. There were no phones or computers, there's no streams at all. I mean, here's the psalmist’s life: the sun comes up, I live my life, the sun goes down, I’ve got nothing to do, I fall asleep. And that's my whole life. And yet God's telling that guy, “You’ve got to be still, and know that I am God.” At about 10,000 times magnitude, God is saying that into your life. Just be like the psalmist was in Psalm 62. “My soul waits in silence for God alone.” We got to draw the line right there. All right, remember, that's where we're drawing the line, and you remember when you come back, tell me where we start, and we'll be good.
Let's bow together, can we? God, here's our starting place in fully participating with you and renewing our minds. We're going to become aware of the thought flow going through our brain going through our mind, every single moment, we're going to become aware of it. And the way we're going to become aware is we're going to create silence. We're going to turn some stuff off, just so that we can be aware of what we're thinking. We're going to create some silence, just so that we can be aware of what's going through us. And God, I pray for the power of your spirit that you give us the ability to do that. And more than that, that you will give us you’ll give us the insight to identify the lies: that's a lie, that's a lie, that's a lie. And start capturing them right now, pushing them out. So that my thoughts can be true and noble in life giving and fix by life. We pray it now in Jesus’ name. Amen. Amen.