I am blessed to sit under the teaching of a wonderful pastor – Pastor Don Moore – Living Word Chapel
His sermons show up on TBN on Thursdays at 12:30 PM if you live in the New York area. I get to type the transcripts for the show. Last Sunday’s sermon is relevant to what we have been discussing about our thoughts and words. I am going to share a copy with you. Let me know what you think. I have slightly edited it for readability. What is in [brackets] are responses of the congregation.
TAKE CAPTIVE YOUR THOUGHTS
Sermon by Pastor Don Moore
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV “ For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,…”
The reality is, the beginning of our battles are right here in the cranium, in the thought life of the individual. Can we see that? [yes]
And so, when we look at it, he says, “For the weapons of our warfare.” Meaning, we’re supposed to be fighting against the flesh. We’re supposed to be fighting against the devil. And he says, but, where is this fighting going down? It’s going down in the mind.
Look at verse five. “Casting down arguments…” that’s our imaginations in some Bible translations. “…and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,”…
Now it isn’t saying that these things are high. He’s saying that, against the knowledge of God, there’s something going on in our minds that sets itself in a high place and therefore tries to take authority from a high place in our minds. And then it says, it’s casting down, it’s working against the knowledge, or what we know about God.
So, when we break this down and really think about it, the Apostle Paul is trying to tell us that yeah, the enemy, the devil, the supernatural, there is an adversary. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not discounting the work of the enemy. There is an adversary, but the adversary’s battle with us is not external to us. The adversary’s battle is internal. His battle is between your ears and in the mind.
This passage of Scripture is so important because, we tend to go, God here (pointing to heart), devil over there (pointing across the room). But, in reality, it’s the other way around. It’s God there, devil here. … Can we see that?
I don’t want to make you feel bad, but the reality is, that your confrontation with the enemy occurs in the mind. For example, right now, as you’re sitting, you know, it’s early in the morning as we’re doing this teaching, your battle is with did you have breakfast? Are you focused? What’s the temperature in the room? Do I like Pastor’s suit? You know, am I distracted by the person sitting next to me? I wish they’d used a different cologne. I wish they had used deodorant. Or whatever.
There are things that distract us because they exist in the mind. I’m always amazed, as a pastor, I’m amazed that whether I’m wise or not, the proof of God working in me quite often is, the rebellion that is natural in the people that I minister to. … I say go right, they go left. I say sit down, they stand up. I say stand up, they sit down. I say, don’t buy that, they buy that. I say, you know, this is what’s going to happen.
Because there’s just some things that, over the years of ministering to large numbers of people, there’s just some stuff that you learn that’s going to happen. And you sit with people and they want to know about that and you tell them. And you share it with them. And they do the very opposite thing. Now, I’m always amazed at that.
But the reality is, they never got out of the pattern in their mind and their mode of thinking. And so, they cannot receive wisdom. … They can’t receive information and it’s not because they’re bad people. It’s just because they have allowed their mind to see the situation or to receive the information and then they twist it and they put on sunglasses.
Do you ever, do you ever walk into a room and there’s a pair of glasses, you think they’re yours and you put ‘em on and they’re somebody else’s? … Nobody ever did that before? Huh? Yeah, and all of a sudden, you’re looking and everything is distorted. And you know, I picked up the glasses of someone that was farsighted, and everything was weird, the distance, the magnification, and whatever. And I immediately went, “Whoa.” Just like that.
Well, that’s what this passage is saying. This passage is saying that, in your carnal life, as you live and dwell, you are looking at the world through a pair of lenses. Lord have mercy. You’re looking through a pair of glasses. And, therefore, everything looks a certain way to you. And, therefore, it causes you to have to readjust your view of the world, or the view of yourself, or the view of other people around you before you can come in focus with the true picture. …
Let me try this. Did you ever think someone was going to do something and they did something else? And you went, “Why did they do that?” Ah, that fits better, huh? And they say, “Why did they do that?” Only realizing that you’re looking at the circumstance one way, but they’re seeing it another.
One of the most difficult things that is to help people break mental patterns. And, we all have mental patterns. One of the worst mental patterns that we have is that of a distorted or an abused childhood. To come from a dysfunctional family, the difficulty is it isn’t until you are much older that you can realize that your family was dysfunctional. And you begin to realize, Uncle Joe was a sickie. You know what I mean? He was nuts.
And then you begin to, you get a little bit older and you look at your parents and you go, whoa, my father, my father was neurotic. And living, living with a man that’s neurotic, every day, you begin to think maybe he’s okay and you’re the one that’s sick. Because his neurosis would constantly be saying and correcting you. And telling you that you’re the one that’s wacked. Come on now. Am I, am I right? [yes]
You know, it might have been your mother. It might have been your father. But if you’re living with someone who is, is sick, it’s going to cause you to do mental patterning. Your mind will form certain patterns that, for example, will not fit every situation. But it isn’t until you’re older that you can, you can look back and you can go, … Uncle Joe was wacked. … You know. My mother was neurotic. My, my father, he was a drunken psycho. But not realizing that their dysfunction has caused your mind to think a certain way.
So, a child that grows up with an abuser always has inside them, this … (gestures putting up hands to protect self from being hit.)
Let me say it again. A childhood abuser, the child is going to always have this inside them. Meaning, protecting themselves against getting hit because why? They’re growing up in a home with an abuser, either a verbal abuser or a physical abuser so that the inner child is always, in his mind, protecting himself.
Now, once he becomes an adult, we assume, he should get over that. But the reality is, now we have an adult whose mindset is fearful protection. He’s an adult. He might even be six-foot-four, two hundred pounds. But, in his mindset, he’s still a little, frightened child who’s afraid of the abuser. Everybody got that? Wave your hand at me if you got that.
And so, that causes a certain type of mental patterning. And then, here’s what you’ll find. You’ll find that that little boy, when he grows up, no matter how big he is, will either become a bully. Now, why would he be a bully? He’d be a bully because a powerful offense is sometimes the best defense. So, if you’re afraid of being hit, and now you have some stature, you then become a bully to what? Hold off anyone that may attack you.
As an adult, then, we think that this person is mean and aggressive, and actually, they’re just a frightened little child. Just cause he’s six-foot-four, two hundred and something pounds, we, we, have to add in the mental patterning that he was exposed to that causes him to be what he is. You got that?
And you know, and in a woman, it’ll take the same kind of form. But usually, in a woman, it’ll take an aggressive form of, she’s always coming at you. She’s always coming at you to keep you off of her. You know, so she’s got a mouth. Her mouth is always going. She’s yapping. You can’t get her to shut up for five minutes. And it’s because she’s afraid of what you might say say if you get to talk. Lord have mercy. How are you all doing? Everybody all right? Huh?
And so we have these mental patterns and they exist because these are the weapons of carnal warfare. So what does God recommend? Let’s see what the Apostle Paul recommends when we have these patterns.
Now, it’s your job. My new book coming out will help you, because it has ways that you can study to identify how were you triggered, how were you patterned as a child, so you can get some understanding as to what kind of adult you are. Amen. Everybody got that? So that book’ll be out in a few months and I hope you’ll get a copy and go through the sections on that.
Notice what it says. Casting. Verse five. I’m in Second Corinthians, Chapter ten, verse five. “…casting down arguments…” or imaginations, “… and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
Now, the Apostle Paul was being presumptuous here. In verse five, he is presuming that you know what the knowledge of God is so that you know what is against the knowledge of God. That will not work. I repeat. That will not work in a situation where a person has no knowledge of the knowledge of God. Everybody got me? So, we have to assume, who is Paul writing this letter to?
He is writing this letter to church people that have been around the Word of God, or have read the Word of God, and that’s really a problem. Because we have a reality that we’re facing. That most people don’t know what the Word of God is and haven’t read it.
Most people have gone to churches or synagogues or cathedrals and listened to people talk about religion. But they haven’t sought it out for themselves. They don’t have a personal relationship with God. They have information about God. So, they may be very well churched, but they may very well be spiritually deficient. Everybody understand what I’m saying? [yes]
So, you can, you can grow up a Lutheran, a Catholic, a Baptist, and know the tenants of the religion that you participate in, but not know thus said the Lord. And, there is a difference between the doctrine that different faiths teach and the truth that God teaches. There’s a difference. And, and we don’t know that difference until we take the time to study the Word, to find out what did God say. …
And we generally don’t know what God says. We know what our priest said. We know what the pastor may have said. We know what Billy Graham may have said. But what do we know, what God said. And so, we have to become, and I can’t encourage you enough, develop a habit of getting to know the knowledge of God. Not, not what man said. Not even what I’ve said. But learn to read the Word for yourselves. How many of you ever look in the Word? Read the Word? una ha,
It’s like the pastor. He says, next Sunday, I want you all to read ahead. Next Sunday, I’m going to be teaching on Mark, Chapter Seventeen. And everybody went home. And the next Sunday, he says, “Well, how many of you read Mark, Chapter Seventeen?” And all the people raise their hands. [laughter] And he says, “Okay. Our sermon this Sunday is about liars.” [yeah, laughter] Cause there’s only sixteen chapters in the book of Mark.
So, we’re quick to say we know what thus says the Lord. But the reality is, we don’t. I mean, in, in my little world, you know, you sit on the airplane and people find out who you are and they get weird cause they find out you’re a minister. And then they go, I read the Bible. The minute they say that, you know they’re a liar. You know. Why? Because they haven’t and we all say that. Well, I read the Bible. You know, maybe once. Maybe twice. But the knowledge of God is vast. There’s no way in one or two readings, once a month or once in your lifetime, are you ever going to get it.
And you’re definitely not gonna get it from a forty-five minute service where your pastor or priest is talking to you about his golf game. Well. [well] Movin’ right along. Movin’ right along. My sister-in-law, she said to me. She says, “Well, Don, I don’t,” you know, “I don’t wanna go to church.” And I says, “Why?” And she says, “I’m sick of hearing this guy give, you know, analogies about his golf games.” She says, “I don’t even play golf. And every Sunday, you know, he goes on about golf, trying to tie it to Scripture. Rather than, let’s read some Scripture.” Amen, how are you all doing? [yes, good]
So it says, let’s look at it again. Second Corinthians, Chapter ten, verse five. “…casting down arguments…” or imaginations against “…every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,…” And let’s read the second half of the verse. Come on. “…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…”
Now, the first two are presumptuous. It presumes that you know the knowledge of God. And the reason that it’s important is because, if you don’t know the knowledge of God, how are you going to compare it to your thinking? … Let me say that again. It says, the knowledge of God. And then it says you’re supposed to compare the knowledge of God and those high things that are running around in your head, you are to compare them to your thinking.
In other words, the Apostle Paul is trying to get you to be convinced that most of what’s going on in your mind is carnal mental activity. … Carnal mental activity. … Carnal mental activity. You spend most of your time thinking about fleshy things that will never happen, people that will never happen, circumstances and situations that will never happen, but you get your mind and you wind it up in those conversations, thinking those ideas.
And he says, that will destroy you. Can you take a minute and think about what you are thinking about so you can then compare it to the knowledge of God? [yes] … This is, this is deep stuff. But it’ll help you, if you learn to change your life.
Most of the things that you think about, that you plan, that you’re concerned and worried about, many of them will never happen. And if they did, your worrying about them is not what prepares you to deal with them. [well] That’s a good word, right? phew. Maybe I should talk about my golf game. [laughter]
So, there’s some things we just don’t understand. The little boy, I think he’s about third or fourth grade kid, and he just loves his family and everything and he finds out Mommy’s pregnant. Goes to his school teacher and says, “Oh, oh, my mother’s pregnant, we’re going to have a baby. And the baby’s coming and the baby’s coming. Oh, I’m so excited. The baby’s coming into our family.” And whatever. But then he goes home and the Mommy says, a couple of months later, “Do you want to feel the baby?” And she puts his hand on there. He notices she’s getting bigger. And he says, “The baby, the baby’s in there?” She says, “Yeah, yeah, the baby’s in there.” And so, when he goes to school, the teacher notices he doesn’t have any enthusiasm about the baby’s coming anymore. And so, after school she calls him over, and she says, “How come you don’t talk about the baby anymore?” The little kid drops his head and he says, “Because I think Mommy ate him.” [laughter]… I love that. I love these little stories.
What does that little story tell us? It tells us that the limited thinking of the young boy misinterprets totally the circumstances that he’s really dealing with. And, because his knowledge is limited, he has a wrong conclusion. Mommy didn’t eat the baby. Mommy’s feeding the baby and the baby is growing inside the womb.
So how is it, and that’s why we fight with our teenage kids. Because our teenage kids have just enough brains to be dangerous. … You know, I know we’ve got some young people in the house, but trust me, there’s no way at fourteen or fifteen, you know as much as your momma and daddy know at thirty or forty. … There’s just no way. And there’s no way you know as much as I know at sixty-six or at seventy. Because you just haven’t been here long enough. I mean, that’s just basic logic. There’s circumstances and situations that have, are going to occur that have not occurred, that you have no knowledge of. You just don’t, you don’t even know what makes the car work. You think it’s a combustion engine, that’s not what makes it work. What makes it work is money, honey. [laughter] No jobo – no car workal. [laughter] Right?
So, casting down imaginations. You have ideas and imaginations in your mind running all the time, that will not happen, that don’t happen. You know somebody said once, “Pastor Don, I come to church. It’s hard on me.” I said, “Why is it hard?” “I think you’re talking about me every Sunday.” I go, “No. No. There’s just some patterns in life that are just repetitive, and they just repeat and so we learn something.”
And so, what does Paul recommend? What’s his recommendation to change our lives daily? It’s to take captive our thoughts. Take captive our thoughts. Take captive our thoughts. …Take captive your thoughts. Because you can be thinking in a total weirdness of your day-to-day that has absolutely no bearing on what is real. … You can be formulating paranoid ideas about people and thoughts and you can make yourself the center of the universe when you are a hubcap. … You’re just a hubcap on the car of life, but you think you’re the center of the universe.
You know, it’s like, thinking that what you’re thinking is the most important thing. And it’s not. So let’s do, let’s just do the exercise. Come on, (puts hands on head) and say: I will take [I will take] my thoughts captive [my thoughts captive] and think about [and think about] what I’m thinking about. [what I'm thinking about.] Put your hands down.
Somebody right now was thinking about something other than what they should have been thinking about which was doing the exercise. … That’s what I’m trying to teach you. That if we would learn to hear what’s going on between our ears, we will be able, then, if we know anything of the knowledge of God, be able to say, wait a minute, that’s not the way God looks at that. …
You know, if you catch yourself thinking about somebody that you can’t stand them, and you’re putting them down, saying, “I just can’t stand preachers and teachers and I just can’t stand Pentecostals and I just can’t take Holiness people, I just…”
What if you stop and think about what you’re thinking about. You would realize that you’re being judgmental, you’re being negative, you’re being critical, and you’re what? Wasting brains. … You just wasting your brain. Because, what does God think about those people? He loves them. “For God so loved.”
I brought it on my tie. Just in case somebody missed a verse. I put it on my tie. Then I put my vest on. I realized I hid it. So, I’ll leave it out like that. So what does it say? It says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believed in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What is this about? This is about life, you all. Most of the stuff we think about is about living. But it’s not life. … Living. But it’s not life.
So, in closing, I just want to put this thought in your head. I was riding on the airplane and I thought, I’m going home. I’m going home to talk to my people that God has given me. And, I want to see them and I want to see the kids, it’s fifth Sunday. And I really want to be there. And I was sitting on the plane, and I thought to myself, and I wrote it in the new book. … Life is serious. Life is a serious thing. … But it’s filled with funny moments. Yeah, yeah, life is serious. We should be serious about life. But we should really be a little bit more focused on the fact that there are a whole lot of funny moments. People are weird. [laughter] People are funny looking. You know, look at people and get a good laugh. I mean, and none of us look exactly the same. Even identical twins can tell each other apart….